Thursday, November 12, 2015

Treasure Hunting


I am forever, hopelessly bringing things into the house. Finding beautiful castoffs in nature is like finding treasure. Last week I found the pine cone branch on a hike and the week before I found the two Black Walnut shells in our field. A imagine a little animal, probably a squirrel, cleaned the nutmeat out of the shells and there they were. They are the prettiest works of art!

Acorns are a perennial favorite.  I've saved baggies full. Each fall I pick out a few favorites for the windowsill. Audrey gave me the biggest acorn several years ago when she found it and thought of me. These are at my kitchen sink window where I see them every day. On the right, there's a hickory nut that I found buried in the dirt when we were clearing branches in the field last weekend. We don't have any hickory trees on our property, so I imagine a little squirrel must have carried it here, buried it and forgot about it. That endeared it to me and I gave it to little Schleich squirrel. It reminds me of the children's story, Miss Hickory which Steve read to the girls when they were little. It's an imaginative, classic story with Squirrel always trying to steal Miss Hickory's head.

Bird's nests, a dove's egg, rocks, a peacock feather from Russell Crowe-the-peacock, more pine cones - I set things everywhere on the bookshelves.

Ian brought an edible fungus to show us over the summer. I can't remember its name, but he said they are a delicacy. They grow on dead oak trees and smell extremely pungent. Judging by smell alone, I couldn't have eaten it. It was too pretty to throw away, so I kept it around until it dried out. Now that it's dried, the smell has faded so I cloched it. (made up term) I found the Blue Jay feather in the yard this summer.

It wouldn't be autumn without Bittersweet around the house. It grows wild along the hedgerows and it's hard to take a walk without stopping to admire the Bittersweet vines. I set sprigs of it everywhere, on windowsills, in bouquets. The berries smell like honey, but they are poisonous.  Be cautious with this if little children are around the house. (Many years ago a certain daughter chewed a bittersweet berry or two on a wreath we had hanging on the wall. She climbed up on the sofa to reach it- the little monkey. We immediately called poison control and since the berries were over a year old and hard, they said we needn't worry. It was still a scare.)

I have sticks with bug galleries, junk found in barns, and don't even get me started on rocks. I recall driving home from a camping trip with rocks under all the kids' feet on the floor of our car. This reminds me of the movie, The Long, Long Trailer. Haha! Lucy and I have a lot in common.

One thing I have always wanted to do, but never really got started on, was to carry a small sketch book and take the time to sketch things out in nature. We did a few of these when we home schooled and I saved the drawings of seeds pods, honeysuckle, and a bird one of the girls drew. I tend to carry my camera nowadays, but sketching is a rewarding pastime and it slows a person down considerably, which is a good thing.

The fun with treasure is in the hunt or in the surprise of finding. The enjoyment of recalling a particular walk or the moment when a child handed you a treasure lasts a long time when the object sits on the shelf. Some treasures are fleeting and disintegrate over time, but no matter. It a good excuse to take another walk and perhaps, if we're lucky, we'll find more treasure.


  1. Treasures from nature are certainly priceless. Your displays certainly do justice to the autumnal season.

  2. I adore how you have your found items displayed around your house.

  3. Oh, Leonora, we have so much in common. I have nests here too, and feathers and shells. And I collect geodes. I have told my daughter in laws that at my passing, I could care less about she's or furniture, but someone please take my geodes. Ha! I hope they have strong shelves!