Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pine Needles, Pine Cones

Leaves are not the only things that fall from the trees in autumn.
Here in the Shire, we are showered with thousands of pine needles, too.
And as the pine needles pile up, I always think two things.
First, I marvel at the abundance nature brings,
and second, that there must be something useful to do with pine needles
besides rake them up around the trees.

Then the other day, I ran across step-by-step instructions
for making baskets out of pine needles.
I was amazed that all those little piney nuisances 
could be turned into magnificent works of art in the right hands.
I couldn't find a copyright free photo for this post, 
but search "pine needle baskets" in Google images for photos.
They are unbelievably beautiful.

For those with vast quantities of pine needles, 
the time, and the interest, here's a link:
I have to admit, I'm tempted to try this.
Maybe someday I will.

Another bounty from pine trees is the pine cone.
Squirrels eat the cones from the white pines, which are common here.
 I've spent more than a few moments 
watching a hungry squirrel devour a pine cone
by rotating it in its tiny paws the way some people eat an ear of corn. 
Judging from the mess of pine seed wings left on our deck each year,
pine cones are a popular squirrel treat.

Unlike pine needles, pine cones are much easier to use in craft projects.
And this time of year, pine cones
 make an attractive addition for autumn  arrangements.
One of my nieces used to use them to make very pretty wreaths. 
They also can be coated with peanut butter, suet, and bird seed
to make natural feeders for birds.

My mom used to put white glue and glitter on pine cones for Christmas.
Other Christmas pine cone projects include scenting them for potpourri 
or dipping them in wax and sawdust for burning in the fireplace. 
Both are good ideas, but when it comes to Christmas, 
there can never be too much glitter.

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