Sunday, January 25, 2009

A yard full of pine cones

Upon setting forth for a short walk on Wednesday, I noted that there had been a major pine cone drop in one yard on my block.

Not only that, but this particular tree still has a good supply of cones for a further drop. Curious: I checked the other Ponderosas in the neighborhood, finding that only the trees on one particular property were so generously supplied with pine cones. It just happens to be at the house whose owner waters the most often.

So what to do with pine cones, aside from rake them into big bags that go into the trash cans? If you have a fireplace, you can use a few as tinder to help start fires. You might do as one householder on Vista did several years ago: pave the yard with them; after a few years, they begin to decay and lose their identity (above) but in the meantime, they make a neat, woodsy ground cover.

Squirrels and chipmunks tear the pine cones apart to get at the seeds. When I took a close-up of the cone above, the seeds were quite visible, lying against each of the individual scales. The Ponderosa do not provide those lovely pine nuts that the pinon give every five or six years. BTW, check out those two portable racks of dried fruit goodies in the Albertson's produce section -- the store sells little bags of pine nuts at a reasonable price.

6 comments:

meggie said...

I have loved pine cones since I was a child, when my war returned father made me an owl from a cone. Apparently I was a little hostile to this strange man, I was expected to love. At 3 years of age, he was merely a stranger to me, sadly.

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

There are two types of pines (non-native) on the periphery of our local bush area--huge Yellow Pines and Norfolk Island pines most of which produce cones. The prime use of them is fodder for a band of Carnaby Cockatoos who disassemble them in the green state. There being no critters (other than rats) to eat the nuts, we're happy to deed the cones to the cockys. Of course we're not impressed with attendant litter.

Hermano

Anonymous said...

Pine cones do make great fire starters!

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

meggie -- I hope that the owl helped reintroduce you to your father...

bro -- guess that down in OZ, you have to do the same thing as we do here. They do dry out into good tinder don't they? I thought that everything in Australia was likely to be tinder.

anon av -- and the forests are full of them...

Lucy said...

I love burning them, but I suppose they are a bit resinous. Some pines up the road have just been lopped, I've been meaning to go and collect a few bags of the cones.

That last wingy seed is a beautiful thing.

Granny J said...

lucy -- and if that wingy seed gets just a big of moisure & stays that way a short time, you've got one more pine-let growing. Up in the high country, my dotter pulled out starter pines as weeds.

 
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