Sadness and Hope, All in One

The story of the chestnut oak acorn-growing attempts continues, and today’s chapter starts off with sad news. A couple of nights ago, we looked at the pot where they had been growing, set on our porch, and found – a pot of dirt. No acorns. Hungry squirrels had found the acorns and eaten them.

Shorn acorns 1-16 small

All that was left were the roots. I can’t tell you how upset I was about this turn of events. I felt I’d failed the acorns, who were depending on me. After all, I’d brought them home with me and put them in this pot. It sounds silly, with so many other things in the world so much more worthy of my distress, but – I felt it.

eaten acorn just roots left 1-16 small

Well, all right. The next day, my husband and I were out and happened to be near the park where we first picked up the acorns in the fall. I said, let’s go over there and see if we can find any still around and try again.

It had rained the night before and the weather has been so warm that the ground was soft. I thought there might be a chance. So we went back to the picnic area at the Fort Washington State Park, near the bird stand.

Guess what. Lots of little acorns still around on the ground! Now you may remember that these acorns don’t behave like the usual ones we see around here – these lie on the ground and send out a little shoot into the earth. The acorn then provides food for the root until spring.

We decided to try again and take some home. I felt it was all right, since these acorns would never get to be trees in this location – the mowers would come along in the spring and take them down. Now, we weren’t prepared for digging, so we had to improvise. We got an ice scraper and a plastic sheet out of the car and set to work.

We brought them home and put them in a pot. This time we made it more secure. I kept the original pot with the little roots still in the ground, too – maybe, against the odds, they might survive. Who knows? I am hoping for all of these little beings to grow.

If you want to read about this story from the beginning:

When we first picked up the acorns in October

An update from early January

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About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

9 responses to “Sadness and Hope, All in One

  1. Let’s hoped you have out smarted the squirrels!

  2. Oh no! I am sorry to read that the first batch were purloined by squirrels. Hopefully this time they make it.

  3. The squirrels love my flower pots too…they have an entire graveyard across the street! Go figure. I hope the wire will do the trick! (K)

    • When we plant sunflowers in the summer we use netting until the shoots emerge since the birds love the seeds. I should have been more careful with these acorns – I am sure the squirrels are very hungry now this time of year…and the acorns were just sitting right out there…

  4. Claudia – if your squirrels are like our squirrels they will be out looking for food to store rather than eat. We watch them stuff their cheeks with peanuts, which they then carefully spit out and bury, or store in the crook of branches and so on. If burying them – there is usually a magpie following, dutifully retrieving them 🙂 If in the trees – a woodpecker or some other foraging birdie will requisition them :)) Hope your baby trees do well in their new high security pots!

    • I love that – “high security pots”. Yes, indeed. I should have known the squirrels would not miss them, but I got careless. In the summer we grow sunflowers and cover the seeds with net until the shoots come up to save them from the birds. Well, I guess I can’t really begrudge the animals food, it is winter and scarce.

      If these acorns don’t make it I am think of going to the park before they mow the grass and see if any little trees are growing from this autumns acorns and if so, digging one or two up.

      I am nothing if not persistent!

  5. Awe that’s too bad. The squirrels here are so prolific I can’t even feed the birds. Plus we seem to be a dumping ground for stray animals. A feral cat has adopted us.

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