Thursday, July 29, 2010

Where have all the gall nuts gone?

 . . . long time passing . . .

A scrivener song by Pierre Seeger? Well, undoubtedly not, but an anthem for me this season nonetheless.

Oak gall nuts seem to be missing in action this summer, at least in the Upper Midwest area around the Twin Cities. I don't know if this is due to the weather or climate's effect on the wasps that usually lay the eggs in the oak branches creating the galls or some other cause. Missouri, on the other hand, seems to be having a bumper crop year.

Bees in general have been going missing and although I've seen a few wasps and hornets of late, nothing like former years. Local calligraphers who use the galls to make their ink, too, have been unable to find the galls around here. George Yanagita, from whom I've received a few bags harvested in the backyard marsh, hasn't seen any in his oak trees this year.

A conundrum to say the least.

As a result of my weekend of fur trade interpretation at Madeline Island demonstrating ink making and so on, I am preparing and drying a new batch of ink for powder. Maybe I can salvage something from the summer. If you have oak galls in your backyard and are close enough to make harvesting and transfer to me possible, let me know.