Building Your Vocabulary One Word at a Time
bal an oph a gy (‘baal an off a gee) n, acorn eating
With tan-oak acorns ripening all around me, it looks like another good year for acorns. Once leached of tannins, acorns make a great nutty tasting flour. Today, people call tan-oaks “weed trees”, and mostly use them for firewood, but almost everyone who lives in the forest relies on those acorns for the majority of their calories. Lots of birds, both year-round residents and migratory visitors rely on tan-oak acorns, or the worms in them, for survival. Deer, bear, elk, squirrels, tree rats, skunks and shrews all eat them, who in turn feed the owls, bobcats and mountain-lions.
That was back when California’s economy worked, at least for the Indians. If California’s economy ever works again, I think balanophagy may well reemerge as the most characteristic feature of the domestic economy.