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Nature watch with Trevor Beer

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 05, 2012

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I have been building another log pile, hot, dirty work but some creatures and fungi will gain from it. Then I washed up and killed 99 per cent of all known germs. I wonder who the other 1 per cent is? You would think scientists could identify it. There 'tis.

The log pile is of fallen oak branches. There are a lot of acorns about this year. Trees have had plenty to drink after all. If you are going to store acorns a circulation of air is necessary for they still "breathe" when off the tree. A rather bitter tasting coffee possessing nutritive properties can be made from acorns. Tis an acquired taste but said to be an aid to poor digestion, dysentery and diarrhoea.

An acorn contains 5.2 per cent protein, 45 per cent carbohydrate in starch form and 6.3 per cent water, so good nourishment for animals, including humans.

Oak leaves make a good tonic wine, and if bruised and applied externally to wounds and haemorrhoids they ease the problems greatly. The bark used to be stripped from the tree in April or May, dried in the sun and made into a decoction for a gargle type mouthwash for throat inflammation. It was also used as a chilblain cure in hot baths and even for frostbite. Ground into a fine powder it was taken like snuff to stop nosebleeds.

"King of the Forest" is the oak, a noble, dignified tree. 'Ansome.

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