Peanuts are Pricey, Acorns are Free

What food (per 100 gram serving) has

36 % of your daily fat requirement

15 % of your potassium requirement

13 % of your daily carbohydrates

12 % of your daily protein

25 % of your Vitamin B6

4% of your calcium

15% of your magnesium

Has no Cholesterol, nor Sodium

And tastes like CRAP ?

Acorns, that’s what.

The wife and I like to compare the cost of a Caribbean vacation to that of the landscaping of our yard.  Our ace in the hole is when we point out that we get to enjoy Sanctuary (our garden) year-round as opposed to a foreign-land vacation for 2 weeks in February.  Other than some watering and weeding, we never considered it terribly costly. That was while we were both gainfully employed.  Three Summers ago, we’d reach into a small barrel of peanuts we kept on the ground floor stairs landing, and fling a handful out the back door.  That would shut the Blue Jays up, make the squirrels quit rapping on the glass patio doors, and the chipmunks would stop throwing themselves against the back door, at least for a few moments anyway. Before you see the .jpg below, I should explain that “Poohead” is an affectionate term, referring to the animals which will feed from our hands.

That was all well and good when we were only Home in daylight 1 or 2 days a week, and we considered the cost of beasty-feeding a vacation expense during our “staycations” in Sanctuary.  It became an expectable and acceptable expense much like fuel for the vehicles or food for ourselves.  We go through about 300 lbs of white millet, 350 lbs of Black Oil Sunflower seeds, and 500 lbs of peanuts annually.  That’s a total expense of $1,087.00/yr.  Now I certainly don’t begrudge the little beasties their food.  They’re our favourite form of entertainment, and not half the trouble (and expense) that children would have been.  However, $1,087.00 is still a bit of money.

Last Fall, the wife decorated the front porch with a basket full of assorted Autumn bounty, some real, some not.  The corn cobs were real, as were the acorns.  Well, when the peanuts ran out, I noticed the corn cob was stripped bare, and the acorns were gone.  Hmmmm, that was cheap cattle corn, and those acorns were free (OK actually, the corn cobs were free too … don’t ask).

That was last year.  This is this year.

Well, a month or so back, the wife and I gathered about 60 lbs of acorns and the beasties love ‘em. I like them too, cause they’re free.  The wife and I spent an hour or two one morning crawling through a forest, gathering them.   You see a lot of really fascinating stuff when you’re down there close to the ground too. But mostly what I see are acorns that don’t cost $90/50 lb bag like the last bag of peanuts we bought.  Another thing I like about acorns is due to their weight and shape, they bounce in every direction. Watching the squirrelies chase them is like watching children chase a bouncing football (‘cept the squirrels don’t get mad when you laugh at them).  As well, they can only fit one acorn in their maws at a time as opposed to two – three peanuts.  I saw the first Jay take an acorn last week so I’m hoping to convert them to cheaper feed as well.

Watching the beasties chow down on the acorns prompted me to look into human consumption of them and how to process them.  Of course, I first had to taste one straight-up. HOLY CRAP !!  DO NOT TRY THAT !! Rodents must not have any bitter receptors on their palates.  Researching on the I’Net, I found instructions on how to reduce the bitterness.  Nowhere near enough though.  I’ll be leaving the acorns of the World to the Order rodentia.  There is something I should point out about acorns.  We didn’t want to leave the big bag full of them outside all night for obvious reasons.  So, we hauled them into the ground floor bathroom for the night with intent to store them in something in the shed come morning.

The next morning I walked into the bathroom and saw a rather disgusting sight.  There were a dozen maggots squirming about on the floor.  That’s something no Home owner wants to see. I quickly swept them up while trying to determine where they came from.  I lifted the bag of acorns to sweep under it and I saw the maggots pouring out of the nylon netting bag.  Then I remembered reading about the acorn weevil.  The female drills a tiny hole in an acorn, lays eggs in it, and the maggots hatch and bore their way out again.  They’re supposed to fall into the soil and continue the cycle from there.  I’m afraid a few got detoured on their way to their future when they met my downstairs bathroom floor.  So, the moral of the story is ?  Don’t store the damned acorns in your house.

It’s sometimes surprising who has the cheapest peanuts.  For awhile there, the grocery store had the best price, but the wife did a little on-line research and found Bragg’s Wild Bird Seed just North of Bowmanville to have the best prices on any type of bird seed.  We now purchase our black oil sunflower, white millet, and peanuts from them exclusively.

Interestingly enough, there has been a positive response to corn on the cob, but not corn kernels alone.  That’s just as well, as I hung up a cob recently and once the peanuts were gone, the cob gets stripped rather quickly.  As always the blue jays and squirrels provide lotsa laughs in their antics to hog the cob to themselves. As for the West fence feeder in the backyard, the mourning doves and recently, a rabbit, share the white millet seeds in a most civilized manner.



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