January thaw came a week or so late this year. That’s fine as long as it gets here with its mild days, a respite in winter that all enjoy. It’s a promise of spring.
The first wildflowers are trying to bloom. Dead nettle was blooming in the garden last month. Corn speedwell had a flower or two open today. These are another promise of spring.
I went walking as the day was too nice to spend working. But I did have a chore I had forgotten to do.
For years a yellow honeysuckle has grown over the rocks above the creek. It’s the only one I’ve ever found here until last year.
A yellow honeysuckle grew, bloomed and set seed along the road last summer. I collected four seeds to set out on the hill over the creek near where the one lonely plant grows.
This lovely day those seeds finally got out and planted. I don’t know if any will grow, but one promise of spring is that seeds will grow.
The acorns have been getting a head start on spring. Last fall was an acorn bonanza. There are still many on the ground and some have sprouted.
Most of the small sprouts dry up and die. I hate to see this, but it is part of how things work. The woods can’t hold that many oak trees. Even among those acorns that do survive, many young trees will die in a few years as the larger trees block the sun and absorb the water.
One of the problems my fictional Carduans must solve is that of food. Looking at all the acorns on the ground, I began wondering about eating them. Right after lunch this thought wasn’t very serious, mostly curiosity. So I found one still intact and dug out some of the interior nut. Very bitter.
Of course the Indians washed the flour with hot water to leach the tannic acid out and make the flour palatable. And they weren’t spoiled with sweetners. Perhaps I will give acorns another chance this fall and wash the acid out. Fresh nuts washed free of acid might make a big difference.
See more pictures of the Ozark springs in “My Ozark Home.”