Anxious to Try Eating Acorns? Time to Think About It

Leaching Acorns

People tell me all the time that when they see acorns on the ground, they think of me. So now, when I see acorns on the ground, I think of the people who are thinking of me when they see acorns. Sometimes there are acorns… everywhere. I’ve had people tell me that they rake up bags and bags of acorns in the fall and… sigh… put them in the garbage.

Some areas have prolific acorns. In other areas, when a few acorns fall to the ground, there will be fifteen different wildlife creatures fighting over them. Vultures love to hang out near the road where cars drive over them and crack them. Squirrels fight for their share. Deer eat them. Horses will eat them too but I’m not so sure that they should. Field mice come running in for their share and then the tiniest of creatures, the acorn worms, well, sometimes they are the first to get at it. That’s why it’s important that you get there first, with the intention of analyzing your area so that you leave enough for the critters.

What do you do, once you’ve gathered the acorns? I’ll tell you what you shouldn’t do and that’s leave them lying around. If there are any worms in there, they will devour them. It’s best to… get cracking. Once you’ve cracked them and removed the shells, put them in Ziplocs and freeze them until you’re ready to use them. My husband Jon, made a video of my acorn leaching process. Watch the how-to video, Acorns and Eat’em

And I wrote a book and created lots of delicious recipes, Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Have fun! You’ve no excuse. Unless of course, you live in an area where the acorns are sparse and you know the animals depend on them.

Women Who Weedeat

Gas powered weedeaters are heavy so a few years ago, when I ran across an electric “string trimmer” that looked like a weedeater, I bought it. They’re light and do a fairly good job cutting the tall grasses around my house. But this year, with all the rain we’ve had in Northern California, I didn’t want to burn out another entry-level weedeater so I bought a Black & Decker 14” string trimmer/edger. It has a 7.5-amp motor. The box says that it “provides high performance trimming of tough weeds, grass and overgrowth.” When my husband saw it, he said, “Wow, you’re going to go to town with this.”

I don’t usually give testimonials for a product but I’m so pleased with this new tool, I had to give a shout out. I’ve been running it all week for at least an hour a day and I’m still on the same spool of string. It has not faltered. Not even once. The other string trimmers, the dinky ones I used for several years, burnt out. Literally. I had to buy a new one every year. When they got hot and started smoking, they were done. This Black & Decker has the motor up at the top, just below the handle, so it doesn’t get clogged with grass. I think that’s what caused the others to burn out. Grass clogged the vents meant to cool the motor. That and they just didn’t have enough amps. Too bad I can’t just let the grasses grow. I hate cutting wildflowers, so I try to leave them as long as I can for the birds, butterflies, moths and bees. But I’ve seen first-hand the damage from a woodlands fire. So, in my neighborhood, we weedeat. Ladies too.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Protecting Your Garden Produce from Mice

AcornMouseCoverMedI’ve posted before, my gardening experience with a terrified, newborn baby mouse but let me tell you what attracted the mouse family in the first place. Compost; eggshells, apple cores, banana peels and watermelon rinds drew them right to my garden. I cover the compost with horse manure but obviously not well enough. When volunteer pumpkins and tomato plants sprang from the pile in early spring, I was delighted and so were the mice. They started in on the tomatoes while they were still green. Ditto with the pumpkins. Further down the garden, I have cantaloupe. They like that too but so far I’ve kept them from eating it. I’ve found that if I place a white plastic tofu container (or the grocery store container that mushrooms come in) upside down on the ground and place the immature fruit on top of it, it keeps the fruit off the ground enough to keep the mice away. It’s necessary to keep an eye on them as sometimes the fruit rolls off. But it’s easy to put it back on the plastic. The plastic tubs help keep other feasting insects away from your produce too and they keep the fruit pristine.Poor Jonny's Cover  Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Gardening… I wish the Mice weren’t so Cute

The Acorn MouseI was watering my small pumpkin patch by hand when I heard squealing. Out ran two baby mice. The blast of cold water on their newborn skins must have been traumatic. One was so distraught he rolled over on his back and stuck his feet in the air as if he believed his life was over. He was so young, he had no fur to speak of, just a dark gray felt. I couldn’t leave him there. He was so tiny and light, I was able to flip him over with a piece of straw. He was then able to run. Quite quickly he ditched back into the leafy pumpkin patch. I harvested all but one of the pumpkins. They had already eaten half of it. Even if they hadn’t, I would have left one.

I really don’t want mice in my garden but darn it… that little guy was so cute… and desperate to survive. Just like the rest of us mammals.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Covering the Gardening Beds With Straw… Fantastic!

Smaller Gone North Front CoverI first read about covering the garden with straw in a book by Ruth Stout. I think it was called, “Gardening the Easy Way.” Something like that. It was well written and made you feel a fool if you gardened any other way. Every year or so, I’ll throw a little straw on my garden to mulch it, especially last year with the horrible Armageddon drought we had. But I’m doing it again this year and I will continue to do it as long as my local feed store has wheat straw in stock. I ask myself, what part of it keeps the weeds down don’t you understand? And the water conservation is fantastic. That and as it breaks down it feeds the earthworms.

Yes, my garden beds are almost completely covered in bright yellow wheat straw. It looks so cheerful and it hides the weeds that I am unable to yank up. If I put enough straw on them, they will die. And if weeds do pop up out of the straw, they are really easy to pull up.CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVER

Life is good isn’t it? When we garden? I look forward to spending a lot of time out there this summer… lounging and watering. I hope you are enjoying yours or if you don’t have one, enjoying looking at other people’s gardens. There are a lot of them out there these days. It’s very trendy…

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

The Garden of Eden Has Weeds to Pull

There it is, tall green grass, yellow buttercups, wild purple violets, songbirds… just like the Garden of Eden… until… it all dries and turns to weeds and the county threatens the neighborhood. “Cut that grass or we’ll cut it for you and send you the bill.”

Such is the life of those who live in the country. It all comes at once, the change of the seasons when everything needs to get done… now. Seeds need to be planted, soil needs turning, fences need repairing… quick, hurry, stress!

Years ago, a friend came by and I stood gazing out the window at the beauty the spring brought. “I get really stressed out about needing to get my garden started,” I told him. He was not easy on me. He rolled his eyes disgustedly and said, “What’s the point?”

My friend had it right. I moved to the country so I could let my hair down, wear two different colors of socks, grow my own food, have a horse, dogs, cats, rabbits. The Garden of Eden meets Noah’s Ark. Even if it’s a mini farm, it is a lot of work. It’s tiring just thinking about it. In the old days, the farmers had kids. My kids wanted a ride to town where they could skateboard. Good thing I have a husband, I call him, P G & Jon. (PG&E is our utility company.) There is nothing my husband can’t build or fix. “Even a broken heart,” my mother used to say.

I’ve been living like this most of my adult life. Someday, I’ll move from here because I’ll be too old to lift a shovel, or maneuver a weed eater. Until then, I’ll try not to forget that it’s paradise. I give thanks that I made it.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

There Was a Feeling in the Air… Hard Times Were Sure to Come

After I wrote “Acorns and Eat’em,” a how-to cookbook for gathering and preparing acorns, I wanted to share what else I had learned while living in the mountains, far from the grocery store, with a limited budget. Y2K was fast approaching and survivalists were sending me checks for my acorn book. Obviously there was a feeling in the air that hard times were sure to come. I care about people and nutrition so I continued creating unusual recipes from simple, natural, unprocessed ingredients. For example, in “Poor Jonny’s Cookbook”, my recipes teach you the art of making biscuits from scratch with minimal ingredients. Our great-grandparents knew how to survive, we need to follow their example and return to the basics. There’s a little bit of everything in this cookbook, my hope is that when you use this book, you’ll get into the flow of cooking with what you

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

Poor Jonny's Cover

Natural Gardening… Pretty Please

Butterflies and Bees? Yeah, I’ll go to bat for them. This year, I’ve noticed we have Bumble Bees but few Honeybees and almost no Butterflies. 50,000 Bumble Bees were poisoned in June in Oregon after an insecticide was sprayed on trees to control aphids, because of stickiness they cause to parked cars. The pesticide was “Safari” (dinotefuran) and belongs to a new group of chemicals called neonicotinoids, “implicated” in killing Honey Bees and possibly butterflies. I guess there are no warnings on the bottles or at the hardware store. Go natural and continue to enjoy the birds, the bees and the butterflies. Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:


eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

eBook through Amazon:

Poor Jonny's Cover

Organic Gardens, Butterflies and Fava Beans

Planting fava beans in your garden will attract butterflies and bees that pollinate your other crops and fix nitrogen into your soil. Great for companion planting, fava beans will get a little tall and could shade things but you can always pull them or trim them and as a benefit you can eat them. In temperate climates you can plant them as a winter crop and they will be flowering in the spring.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973


Gardening: Mice Eating Your Melons?

If you go into your garden and see that half your melon is gone, it means that the mice and bugs have had at it. I have a suggestion. You know the plastic dishes that tofu comes in, or the blue ones that mushrooms are packaged in? Turn those upside down and place them under the melon when it is young. It will keep the bugs and mice away from it. You can also use the trays that produce comes in, like dates or tomatoes, but I wouldn’t use any that had meat on them, that could attract the mice even if they’ve been washed. Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

eBook through Barnes & Noble: