The price we pay

oak pollen on Honda Pilot hood

THE YELLOW PERIL — Pollen, primarily from oak trees in bloom, about one day's worth, covers the hood of my wife's vehicle in our carport. This yellow onslaught will go on for another couple of weeks until the oaks are satisfied that their reproductive cycle is finished or a hard rain beats the "catkins" from the trees. Until either of these alternatives occur, the landscape is yellow and sinuses are clogged. You will also notice a plethora of cat tracks. At this residence, no vehicle hood is complete without cat tracks.

There are thirteen mature oaks in my yard, not a bad thing in the summer time when they afford a lot of welcome shade. Our yard, in this neighborhood, with regard to oak population, is far from atypical. The neighborhood is called “Southern Pines.” It should be called “mega-oaks manor.” The shade and stately appearance of these wonderful trees comes at a price. And it is yellow. These trees produce pollen by the ton. In the early spring, it covers everything in sight.

Well, take a break. Although barns in the Ozarks don’t have a frazzling thing to do with pollen in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, you will probably enjoy them anyway. Click here to see a couple of neat old barns and an aermotor, as you take a break from the pollen

oak blooms

THESE ARE THE VILLAINS — The spindly dangling male oak flowers ("catkins"), produce pollen by the ton. In our neighborhood, there must be millions of these dust devil flowers. They are working day and night to cover their known universe with fine yellow spoor. They are good at their job.

Oaks make baby oaks with male and female flowers adjacent to each other on their annual new growth twigs. The male flowers are called “catkins.”  The catkins are the pollen producers. They dangle from new growth twigs to take advantage of spring winds, not bees, to distribute their genetic heritage. The little girl flowers eventually turn into acorns once the boys pepper them with pollen. This system of reproduction is a model of efficiency.

Don’t hide, the devilish dust delights in finding you. It permeates every nook and cranny. This particulate plunder is tempered only by the thought that two weeks of yellow dust is the price we pay for late spring, summer and early fall shade. Probably not a bad deal.

Delightful distractions

On the other hand, dear Mother Nature provides visual delights to distract one from the yellow peril. The beneficial blessings of these delights are substantially amplified when your neighbor is a master gardener (and you are a total loss in the yard).

flower bed

MY NEIGHBOR, THE MASTER GARDNER, plied her skills masterfully in this flower bed beneath her kitchen window. Because of the preponderance of massive oaks in our neighborhood, it is my observation that the ground is so poor, you have to fertilize the house to raise the windows. To create this grand garden, my neighbors filled this bed with fertile soils and amendments foreign to the neighborhood – not without a price – the initial irrigation was provided by volumes of good honest sweat. It's hard to argue with the results.

Eyes right!

tall tulip

If blooms could talk. The towering tulip looks like a commander reviewing the troops.

Trees and flowers remind us that everything comes with a price. There are no free lunches. Would that more in our world could understand this simple concept.

See high resolution pictures

Click here to see high resolution versions of this week’s Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures, including a couple of Dempsey cats.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


2 Responses

  1. Joe:

    Discovered your blog recently…and really enjoying visits through the Archives. Have been to many pictured, others haven’t,..but will now.


  2. Bill, thanks for the note. Glad your enjoy my ramblings,

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