Monday, August 22, 2011

New favorite place

The other evening we took a stroll on the boardwalk.  Not 'Under the Boardwalk' - as inviting as the Coasters made that sound. This boardwalk carried us through the Elfin Forest of Los Osos, California.

Los Osos, CA happens to be the new home of Oak Watch, having relocated from Northfield, MN just last week.  The move puts me smack in the middle of the land of the Obispeno Chumash, one of the latest surviving balanocultures (acorn eating cultures).

The Elfin Forest is a natural bonsai - coast live oaks (Q. agrifolia) that would ordinarily grow to 50ft in height here reach only 10 or 12ft after 200 or more years of growth, stunted by a combination of nutrient poor, sandy soils and salt laden breezes.

Which, of course, raises the question in my mind:  How would acorns from these trees grow if planted under less stressful conditions?  Would they become the 50ft sprawling giants other live oaks do (in other words are they limited only by site conditions)?  Or, did the Elfin Forest site select for success those acorns that were pre-programmed for smallness?

I hope someday to find out.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts.  A sudden move across the country, a week of frantic packing, a cross country drive in a UHaul, a UHaul/deer collision in Colorado (about which much more later, including heartening news that the Good Samaritan lives on in Grand Junction, CO) and unpacking in a new home tend to take a bite out of blogging time.

But I have landed in an oak lover's paradise, and I intend to take full advantage of it, sharing what I learn with you.  Whether you want me to or not.


  1. Glad to hear that all is good! Sorry to hear that it was stressful... Let us know what you find out there in the West!

  2. Congratulations, Chris!
    I kind of wish you had ended up in Southern Oregon, but it sounds like you may have found an even better oak paradise. By a curious coincidence, I may have been in the Grand Junction area at the same time you were passing through.


  3. Thanks David! I wish that 'passing through' Grand Junction had been what I did. I'll write the full story soon. I love that area - wish I had had more time to check out the Gambel oaks. Did you get any acorns?