September 4, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday (gall)

Ever seen one of these before?


They've been falling out of the sky around our house lately. The Cookie Monster said they look like eye balls. I think they're pretty.


We went on a bog walk a couple weeks ago. It's maintained and protected by the local nature conservancy, you can only go on the walk with a guide. We were lucky enough to have a botanist lead our walk. Wow was there a lot of information and lots of BIG words. While on the walk I saw one of those things pictured above. I was thrilled to have a botanist available to ask what it was. He said, "oh that's just a Gull." I was like wow the only type of Gull I've ever heard of was the Sea kind.  Then I found out it was spelled Gall more specifically an Oak Gall. Some people actually refer to them as Oak Apples. Immediately I realized the Galls at my house weren't falling out of the sky, they were coming from the MIGHTY Oak in my yard. 


I'm so thankful for this big beautiful tree. It's shocking to me how big it really is, it makes my house look tiny. The botanist told me that Galls are harmless. They are actually the trees reaction to larva of a certain type of wasp. He said if I cut one open I might find a bug. So that's what I did. 


I slowly cut that Gall open half expecting an insect to jump out at me. I think I just found larva... Apparently these wasps use the Gall as both food and shelter. I learned that Galls are actually used in some Chinese medicine. They can help soothe sores, cuts and burns. Also botanical.com recommends they be used in cases of diarrhea. So if you're ever out in the wilderness and have a problem and nothing else is available try drinking the juice of a Gall. Here's one more fun thing about Galls, they have such high Tannic Acid they work great for tanning and dyeing material. Many tribal groups actually used them for decorating pottery, leather and baskets. 

I'll have to share some of the pictures I took while on our bog walk soon. I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday weekend. I know I did. Monday was my last day of freedom for a while! Today I start my new job. I'm gonna try teaching the tiny tots. I got an early education position for the county I live in. I'm excited and nervous.  I'm looking forward to teaching again and having an opportunity to impact such impressionable lives. I'm sad to leave my new farmhouse everyday. I was really enjoying all the time for projects and critter watching. I know that this is what I'm suppose to do though so I will do it willingly and see how I can be used. 

Thanks for reading today's tidbit, hope you found it as interesting as I did!

7 comments:

  1. Blessings on your first day of the new job! (And you taught this not-so-tiny tot something new with your tidbit. I love the big old tree, too.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow so so interesting. it actually LOOKS GOOD enough to EAT! I love how God provides things for us out in the wild like that--neat to learn it can be used for the big "D" word!

    ReplyDelete
  3. look it up i think you can make homemade ink with them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I did read that somewhere. It would be fun to try.

      Delete
  4. I collected oak galls, put them in a plastic bag, and when home I just stashed them in a drawer. Many months later, I suddenly remembered them and found all manner of carcasses of the larval hatchlings in the bag. Ewwwwwwww. Wish I had taken pix - but we are talking decades ago before the ease of digital pix came into our lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YIKES! I've done that with other natural things before and regretted it. To see all those hatchlings and such would have been an interesting and gross site.

      Delete
  5. On the topic of getting sidetracked while dealing with natural things, a student (yes, I taught high school biology) once brought me a calf fetus in a plastic bag. Put THAT in my purse and forgot about it!!! More ewwwwwwwwwwwwww adventures!!

    ReplyDelete

THANKS for leaving a comment; it means a lot to me! I try my best to always reply here or through e-mail. Clicking “subscribe by e-mail" will only subscribe you to the comment thread. It's so good to hear from you, take care!