Whiteoak Acorns

 Whiteoak acorns have been falling like rain at my house.  I blew off my driveway between my house and garage and within 48 hours I could not walk across it without stepping on acorns.

    Whiteoak acorns are a wonder of nature.  Big trees drop thousands of them each fall, but almost none will fill their destiny of producing another mature tree.  Some will rot, but most will be eaten by wildlife.  Without them some species would not survive.

    Deer depend on them to fatten up in the fall for the lean winter months when food is scarce.  Squirrels eat some on the spot but bury many more, sniffing them out during the winter when they, too, can not find other food. Birds of many species eat them with abandon when they are plentiful

    Whiteoaks and acorns have played an important part of my outdoor life.  I have spent hundreds of hours sitting under various trees, holding my .22 Remington semiautomatic rifle or my single shot .410, waiting on a squirrel to expose himself. When they came for dinner they became my dinner.

    I have built deer stands in them or near them all my life. Their spreading lower limbs offer good anchors for a built stand. Most of the time I put my climbing stand near one in a popular or pine, giving myself a good shot at any deer that comes to feed.

    When I was a kid, I read in one of my outdoor books that Indians ate acorns.  I tried one, it was very bitter, and I immediately spit it out. Then I read the
Indians pounded them into meal, soaked the meal in water to remove the tannin, the chemical that produced the bitter taste, then used the meal for cooking.

    Since there was always plenty of cornmeal in the cabinet in the kitchen, I never went to the trouble to try that.

    Whiteoak wood makes good firewood and I have cut down hundreds on my property, usually one that had died, and split them up for firewood for my insert in my great room. The first five years I lived in my current house I heated it totally with the wood burning insert, putting a sheet over the stairwell going upstairs to keep the heat in the downstairs living area we used, and using fans in doorways to move the heat into other rooms.

    I stopped doing that and lit the pilot light on my furnace when I was out of town for a tournament and Linda was home alone. She got sick and could not bring in firewood and keep a fire going. Even after that experience, most of my heat still came from the burning wood.

    They say cutting wood for heating warms you seven times.  When you cut it, load it, unload it, split it, stack it, carry it inside and finally when you burn it.  I can attest to that, especially on warm fall days when I was doing all of the above except burning it!

    I always wanted to be a “survivalists,” studying different kinds of edible natural plants I could gather.  Mushrooms were one thing I avoided, but there is an amazing amount of food available most of the year if you know where to look.  And game and fish provide plenty of protein if you can catch or kill it.

    Although I have never tried most of them, there are many ways to preserve food for the winter when food is not available to gather.  Like squirrels and deer, if you are going to survive in the wild, you have to store food for the winter or try to fatten up to make it through lean times.

    Storing it is much better than trying to get enough fat stored to starve and burn it when no food is available.

    We did that on the farm.  We had a big walk in pantry off the garage and by this time of year there were hundreds of jars in it. Everything from string beans, tomatoes, potatoes to jams, jellies and preserves were canned ready for winter.   Add in the freezer full of other vegetables and fruits and we ate good all winter.

    I am listening to a book about a terrorist attack that destroys our electric grid and plunges the
US into chaos.  Millions of people in cities run out of food in less than a week, and they have no idea what to do other than loot and steal what they want.

    I think I am too old to survive on my own now, but I think I still could get by better than most.  Very few people have a clue how to produce their own food. They think meat comes in nice Styrofoam packages with clear wrap, vegetables are clean and grouped in bins and canned goods magically appear on shelves.

    If we ever decend into chaos like in the book millions would die.  Could you survive on your own with out our food supply chain and heat from electricity and gas?  Most could not.