I recently became obsessed with obtaining a large quantity of pinecones. The reason doesn’t matter.
OK here’s the reason. I was trying to be a normal American who buys Christmas things–more on this later–and I noticed that you could buy bags of pinecones. I wanted pinecones because I was going to make a natural centerpiece for the Christmas dinner table. (See? I’m genuinely trying.) If I had been able to buy a bag of normal pinecones for a few bucks that would have been the end of it, but no.
They were selling small bundles of pinecones for like $20 and none of them were natural. Some had glitter on them. Some they actually painted the tips white. I swear to God. I do not want to buy a pinecone that was painted by some kid in a factory overseas. (No offense to the kid, you do what you gotta do, but I have no guarantees on the working conditions of pinecone painters.)
Of course this made me irrationally angry, as so many things do, and I decided Fuck The Man I’d get my own pinecones. The forest I live in is mostly deciduous, so I could scout around but there was no guarantee I’d find a pine tree that wasn’t on private property. However, a trail I like has several conifer stands. It’s actually the best part of the trail. It’s shady and the path is covered with pine needles, which makes it soft and nice.
Anyway, it gave me an excuse to hike out there, and I can happily report that I did indeed harvest a bounty. Big, awesome pinecones. I was careful not to disturb the area and I was still able to collect a whole bunch of them.
Something else neat. I visited three stands and I noticed that the pinecones from each one sort of had their own personality. Maybe obvious, but I never thought about it before.
It occurred to me I might try to grow saplings from some of these. I was going to try growing some other trees from seed, so I can add pine trees to the list.