Friday, September 1, 2017

OAK GALL


I was outside filling my bird feeders when I looked down on the ground and saw something strange. It was perfectly round, the size of a golf ball and had the colorful look of a jawbreaker. I put the lid back on the feeder, tucked the bag of birdseed under my arm and scooped up my new found treasure.
Back in the house I placed the colorful ball on the counter and went to put the birdseed away.
Alex came into the kitchen. It seemed it was time for his hourly forage in the cabinets to see if anything new had appeared. He looked over at the ball. “What's that?” he asked.
“Not a clue.” I picked it up and began to examine it further.
Alex was opening and closing cabinets, clearly disappointed that nothing new had appeared.
“It's really pretty, don't you think?” I held out the strange little ball in the palm of my hand for him to see.
He looked over and shrugged his shoulders. “I guess.” then he continued his search in the refrigerator.
I put the ball down on the counter and took out my phone. “There's only one way to find out.” I snapped a picture of it, then opened my Facebook page. “There's a group I belong to that's just about plants.” I said as I began typing. “I'll post it there. I'm sure someone will come up with an answer.”
I looked over at Alex and could see the confused look on his face. “You belong to a group that's just about plants?” he asked.
“Hey! Don't judge!” I put my phone down on the counter.
Alex was still searching the refrigerator when my husband Steven came in. “What are we doing?” he asked then pointed to the ball I had sitting next to my phone. “What's that?”
“Alex is searching for an unknown snack and I'm waiting for an answer to that very question.” I picked up my phone to check, and sure enough I already had an answer. “Hey look, they sent me a picture of exactly what we have.” I held out the phone for them to see. “They say it's an oak gall.” I looked over at Steven. “Have you ever heard of that?”
Steven shook his head no. I looked at Alex, who gave me a you've-got-to-be-kidding-look.
“I'll just Google it.” Typing in “oak gall” I tapped on the first site and then began reading it aloud, “Okay, it says here that these things happen when the oak tree reacts to a non-stinging wasp that's layed its eggs on it's leaves or branches. The insects inject a hormone into the plant tissue which causes it to grow abnormally and encloses the developing wasp larvae.” I looked up at both of them my mouth twisted in a grimace. “Wow, that's gross.”
“Are you kidding me!” Alex cried. “You just brought a giant wasp egg in the house!”
Steven picked it up, opened the kitchen door and tossed it into the yard. “There!” he said as he closed the door and looked at Alex. “It's out of the house.”
Alex looked disgusted as he stood there just shaking his head.
“I'm sorry.” I cried. “It was so pretty, how was I to know?”
Neither of them said a word, they just looked at each other and left the kitchen.
I couldn't help but feel awful. “Dinner will be in an hour!” I called out to them, hoping that would make it all better. When there was no answer I added, “I'm making chicken parmesan!”
That seemed to do the trick.
“Are we having pasta with it?” Alex asked.
“Of course!”
“Sounds good to me.” Steven called.

I let out a sigh of relief. “And then all was forgiven.” I whispered to myself.

2 comments:

  1. Ironically my maiden name is Gall :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lol, what a great last name Heather! Oak galls are beautiful!

    ReplyDelete