I was down in Nebraska City the other weekend for the Apple Jack Festival. I never pass up a chance to climb a tree and there is nothing like picking your own apples from trees rooted in Nebraska soil. This got me thinking about all the other Nebraska fall treasures I might be under-utilizing. As I was pondering my many life questions, I felt myself suddenly slipping backwards. I had stepped on a large, round acorn which caught me off balance. That’s when it hit me! Ah-ha! ACORNS! To my amazement, I looked around and was surrounded by an ocean of fallen acorns. It may have been the strong fermented apple smell in the air, but I was struck with great creativity. I began grabbing handfuls and handfuls of the brown acorns to take home with me.
Acorns are the nuts produced by oak trees. The hard encased shell acts as protection to usually one internal seed. There are at least 7 native oak trees found in Nebraska. Oak trees are broken into two groups: Red Oaks and White Oaks. The biggest difference between the two groups is acorns! White oaks produce acorns each season, while red oaks take two seasons for their acorns to mature.
Acorns are an important food source for much of Nebraska’s wildlife including deer and squirrels. If the stomach upsetting, tannin compounds are properly removed, acorns are even edible to us humans. Could acorns be the next hot commodity?
I was lucky enough to find a variety of different acorns to use. As soon as I returned home, I picked up a few things from a nearby craft store.
- Acorns….as many as you can find
- Mod Podge
- At least 2 paintbrushes
- Gold Acrylic Paint
I began by mod podging most of the acorns. It helps if you take the acorn caps off and even spread mod podge inside the cap to keep both part glued together. I kept a few acorns separate. These I painted with gold paint, let dry, and then sealed with mod podge. I let the acorns dry for a few hours, until the mod podge had turned completely clear.
It was as simple as that!
I plan to find some beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves to also mod podge and add to my fall décor. Pinecones would be a fun addition too!
I hope this post inspires you to admire Nebraska’s fall scenery in a new way.
Allie Claypool, Outdoor Education Assistant