Saturday, September 14, 2013

Gathering for Winter

The Sierra Nevada mountains in our area are full of blue oak trees.

The trees are large, with a spreading canopy and limbs that twist and turn.  As a result, they are not popular for logging but they are beautiful to look at.  In the fall, they drop leaves creating a rich carpet that enriches the earth and holds water.  They also drop acorns and dead wood.  The squirrels, black tailed deer, quail and other animals eat the acorns.  The Native Americans ate them -- they are supposedly the best tasting acorns around.  Just ask the animals.  It's easy to find the shells...but impossible to find the acorns.

I suspect that the horses are eating them as well.  I couldn't find any acorns in the oak pasture, just the empty shells.  Between the deer, the quail, the squirrels and the horses there were none on the ground.  I found a few green acorns out by the driveway.

I found just one ripe acorn on the entire property.  Just one.  They must be tasty indeed.

I'm not sure if Kersey was helping me look for acorns or looking for ground squirrels.  I suspect the latter.

The squirrels aren't the only busy ones at Oak Creek Ranch.  Brett, with the help of our neighbor Marv, split and stacked oak for the wood stove.

I'm ready for autumn.  One more week until fall begins.  Bring it on.


  1. Mine are all done, too. Our Swallows have left for Africa, and the trees are shedding leaves, here we go again!

  2. "Acorn Toxicity in Horses
    One of my equine clients called to say she had a bumper crop of acorns in her pasture and was wondering if this could be toxic to her horses. Acorns as well as oak blossoms, buds, leaves and stems are all toxic to livestock, and although cattle and sheep are more commonly affected, horses can also be poisoned by acorns and other parts of the oak tree. Usually horses are not poisoned because they seem to not like the taste of acorns or oak leaves unless there is nothing else in the pasture to eat. Horses in an area with no grass or hay may be forced to eat the acorns and could become affected.

    Toxicity is due to tannins in the acorns and leaves. The toxin can cause kidney failure as well as severe intestinal problems including colic and diarrhea that can be deadly. There is no specific antidote for acorn toxicity and treatment of these cases involves intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and correct electrolyte abnormalities. If horses develop kidney failure, intravenous fluids can help to increase blood flow to the kidney and furosemide can be used to increase urination. Mineral oil can be given orally to help remove the toxin from the gastrointestinal tract as soon as possible. The prognosis for horses with acorn poisoning is guarded, so it is much better to prevent the problem than treat it. Fortunately, few cases have been reported in horses but it might be a good idea to remove your horses from pastures with lots of acorns. If this is not possible, make sure they have plenty of other feed available."

  3. More information on acorn toxicity in horses:

  4. It feels like autumn here already, the temperatures fall so sharply in the evenings. It's been warm by day though... too bad I'm still crocked.
    We need to get our woodpile in for the winter too, but we won't be able to do it for a couple of weeks due to the small matter of a house move ;-)

  5. It's 39 degrees here this morning and will end up around 60. I'll take it. You need a break from the heat...

  6. you have a great place there. seems to have so much of what you need. :)


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