Monday, October 7, 2019

acorn cap extravaganza, or, a coupla more things to do with cupules (but having nothing to do with couples)

The last thing I expected was for anyone to buy an acorn cap candle.

acorn cap candles

But the first thing that happened was a guy coming along saying, “How much for these?” I had put some cap candles out for display at the farmers market. They were floating in a small bowl of water. They were, undeniably, cute. And this guy wanted them, and he didn’t seem to care how much they cost. But I dithered (“They’re just for display!”). Then calculated (two dollars, five dollars, one dollar … ). Finally, I sold him one or two. I forget for how much. But, by the end of the day, I had made this note: Acorn cap candles! Make more! $1 each!

But I didn’t get around to making more. Next market, I put out the few I had left and when a travelling couple wanted two dozen I had to take an order, get their address for shipping. They paid; I was committed. The next morning, I panicked. What if there were no more acorn caps? What if the squirrels and chipmunks had already gathered and stored them all away? What if the acorn caps were gone? But, not to worry. I found scads along the side of the house and in the front yard and garden. I got down on my hands and knees and collected a bowlful of acorns and caps. Got curious. Why do acorns have caps? Not to mention, how do you get a cap off the acorn if the cap hasn’t already fallen off the acorn? Later, on Wikipedia, I learned that the acorn’s cap is a “cupule,” basically a shell, and so then, in many ways, the “mother hat.”

From Wikipedia: Diagram of the anatomy of an acorn.
A. Cupule; B. Pericarp (fruit wall); C. Seed coat (testa); D. Cotyledons (2);
E. Plumule; F. Radicle; G. Remains of style.
Together D., E., and F. make up the embryo.

Surely one can do many things with mother hats other than make them into candles. For instance, left alone, on their own, unadorned, acorn caps can be turned into whistles. Just search “acorn cap whistle” or click here for a tutorial. I am not even going to try to explain it. I found trying to whistle through an acorn cap difficult, became a little light-headed in the process, did hit one good note, though.

Acorn caps can also be flower holders, kind of an acorn cap boutonniere. Find a cap you can successfully poke a hole through the the bottom of, use a toothpick to plug the hole, fill the cap with wax, remove the toothpick when the wax has set, stick a thin-stemmed flower through the hole. I used an aster. Like the acorn cap candle, the boutonniere can float in a bowl of water as long as the flower is not too big nor the stem too long. These might also look nice placed in a bowl filled with damp sand and pebbles. With the caps thus secure, I’m sure the flower stems could be longer. (Note: The stem sticks out the bottom so the flower can drink.)

acorn cap boutonniere

Or, how about this. Just leave the toothpick in the wax in the cap, attach a sail, and there’s your little acorn cap sailboat. Or not. Let me know if it works.

Of course, you can also use acorn caps as caps. I did that with some little wax birds. Just gave them some mother hats.

birds wearing acorn caps
I imagine these birds are poets, or jazz musicians. Definitely a little nutty.

By all accounts, the cuteness factor of acorn caps in these applications is quite high. People, undeniably, think these things are cute. They say it out loud. And, fact is, believe it or not, I am not always big on cute. But, acorn-cap cute is something else. I embrace it. Wholeheartedly. Lately, walking along, I find myself stopping and stooping for a good acorn cap. And this is not always so easy. Usually I am tethered to Josie, the lead dog, always on a mission, but no mission that ever involves acorn caps, and me, I am simply the wheel dog, trying to hold the cart steady. One morning, hearing a crunch underfoot, I cringed. I looked down. Acorn caps all around! I did my best to slow the pace, walk carefully, was able to stoop and snag a cap or two before being mercilessly yanked along.

acorn cap Buddha

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