Allergies… Why Do We Say Gesundheit When Someone Sneezes?

It’s easy to forget that oak trees are like a big broccoli floret. This year in California, we’ve had so much rain, the trees are not just bursting forth their greenery, many are bursting with pollen. The timing of the rains, interspersed with intervals of beautiful weather, have enabled pollen and flowers on the trees to remain intact, bringing better assurance that the trees will bear fruit. Whether it’s fig, apricot, almond or oak, the trees in my neck of the woods are the healthiest I’ve ever seen them. Let’s hope there will be an abundance of acorns. I’m hungry for some acorn chocolate cake and there are several squirrels with big bushy tails that are probably eyeing them too. Don’t worry little fellas, I will only take a few.

Beware of the beauty of oak trees in full pollen mode. Even if you don’t regularly have allergies, this year might be different. After several years of drought, mother nature is making up for lost time. Gesundheit!

Why do we say that after someone sneezes? Gesundheit is a German word that means health.  Auf ihre gesundheit means, “to your health.” A sneeze might be a reaction to dust or pollen but it can also be a sign that someone is coming down with a cold. In office environments, it has become almost an obsession to say, “bless you” or “gesundheit” after someone sneezes.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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The Druids and Their Oak Trees… What Was That All About?

The Druids were Pagans and Druidism was a religion practiced throughout Europe. Their worship centered around oak trees, which they believed were sacred. I agree with them there. A big oak tree provides shade, habitat for birds, and acorns to eat. The ancients knew that the balance of nature was important. For heaven’s sake, they hunted the birds and animals that grew fat on the acorns. They rested under the trees that brought relief from the sun. When they sacrificed the oak tree they used the base of the tree as a foundation for their homes, like we use cement today. In England, some of those foundations lasted for hundreds of years, outlasting those made of stone. They built homes out of the lumber from the tree. What’s not to like? The oak was paramount to their existence. They got it. Next time you gather acorns, see if you can find a spot to plant a few. Sudden oak death has taken thousands of our California oak trees we need more of this beautiful, sacred tree.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973
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The Historical & Cultural Significance of Oaks & Their Edible Fruit, the Acorn

There are not many places around the world where oak trees haven’t left their mark. The giant oaks were so stout and the wood so long-lasting, many an ancient habitation was built using oak stumps for a foundation, some reportedly still standing hundreds of years later. The Greeks and the Romans both chose the oak to build their homes, ships and bridges. The Vikings used the oak heartwood to build their long ships and later the English used it to build their legendary fleet of war ships. An old Encyclopedia Britannica from 1884 stated that, “the church till recently standing at Greenstead in Essex, and supposed to have been erected in the 10th century was wholly formed of oak trunks roughly squared.”

The fruit of the oak, the acorn, was also prized by the ancients. The oak was, and still is sacred to the Druids of Northern Britain and it is easy to understand why.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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The Acorn MouseTeaches Children the Art of Eating Acorns

Follow the adventures of Acorn while he ventures into the home of “the lady” whom Acorn has caught stealing his acorns. She gathers, leaches and grinds the acorns in a blender, infuriating the little mouse until he realizes what benefits he might retrieve. Children introduced early into the art of eating acorns will learn that nature provides not just grocery store produce but wild foods from the forest.

Suellen Ocean is the author of The Acorn Mouse, an illustrated children’s story designed to teach the art of gathering and eating acorns. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Acorn-Mouse-Childs-Eating/dp/1484140672

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean