Jim Porter: The secret behind exploding pine cones | SierraSun.com

Jim Porter: The secret behind exploding pine cones

Norm and Alan Nicholls
Caring About Truckee

We’re back again from another short trip. Alice and I went to South Carolina to celebrate an early Thanksgiving with our daughter Christy. We had a wonderful visit.

The first few days were very nice with temperatures in the mid- to upper-60s. We got in three rounds of golf and a three-hour trip on the Intercoastal Waterway in Christy’s boat. However the final three days were flat cold!

A “Canadian Clipper” dropped cold arctic air down the eastern seaboard and it was very uncomfortable to be outside. Daytime temperatures were in the mid to upper 40s, but the chill factor created by 25 to 30 mph north winds was at or below freezing and was penetratingly cold.

Exploding pine cones (part 2) … George Szakall graciously took the time to write the following information to help explain this rare event of nature. He writes: “It’s not the pine cones this year, it’s the fir trees. It is has been a total bumper crop this year of fir cones.

“The Sacramento Valley has also had a bumper crop of acorns from oak trees. U.C. Davis is trying to figure out why. Is it based on weather? Life cycles? Trees communicating? Or do trees try to control rodent (squirrel, martin, rat mouse/vole) populations?

“Do trees go lean for years to diminish seed eating populations of rodents, and then suddenly have a bumper crop that overwhelms them? To a tree, this means more survival of seeds/seedlings.”

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“Red fir (native to our region) have deciduous cones. This means as the seeds in the cones ripen (in the tips of the trees) the cone “scales” fall off … hence the sticky mess.”

George has had a horticulture interest for forty years and remembers that the last heavy mess of fir cones was in 1982 or 1983. For those of you that were around in those days you will remember two back to back heavy winters. Is there a correlation? We will have to wait and see. Thanks George!

It’s time to give: In these times of economic uncertainty more and more people are facing hardships, anxiety, and stress. The number of less fortunate local families and individuals is increasing and there is more than enough stress to go around ” even for those without immediate economic hardship.

A great stress relief is to do something that makes you feel good. I hope you will choose to join others in the Truckee community to support programs whose goal it is to make the Holiday Season a happy one for all.

Truckee Community Christmas is an organization of volunteers that has been in existence for 15 years. This organization collaborates with a number of local groups and businesses collecting and distributing food, toys, and clothing donations.

Their efforts include the setting up of Food collection barrels at local grocery stores; setting up Toy collection barrels at local banks, real estate offices, schools and other cooperating businesses; the collection of warm clean coats; “Adopt-A-Senior” program which matches up families with Seniors; and the collection, packing, decorating, sorting and distribution of the donated items. They can use your help!

This is definitely a labor of love that can only be accomplished by dedicated volunteers, just like you! Feel good this year by getting involved! Call The Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce today at 587-2757 and be a part of the holiday spirit.

You may also make a tax deductible donation by writing a check for any amount and mailing it to the Truckee Community Christmas, PO Box 2955, Truckee, CA 96160.

Christmas trees: This weekend the Truckee Optimist Club and the Boy Scouts will be setting up their individual lots with a fabulous selection of locally cut and imported (from Oregon) trees. There will be Red Fir, Grand Fir, and Noble Fir trees available for sale.

These two lots are manned strictly by volunteers and all proceeds go to the youth of Truckee. If you are going to buy a tree this year we urge you to give these lots a try. The Optimist lot is in the Long’s parking lot and the Boys Scouts next to Mountain Hardware.

Last week’s question … A couple of feet of dirt and a boulder or two were found above the ceiling of the TSD’s old downtown office some 15 or 20 years ago. The incident did make news headlines, even though many years ago it was common place to put dirt above the ceilings in buildings to help in fire suppression. The theory was that if there was a fire, once the ceiling burned through, the dirt would fall onto the fire and “hopefully” put the fire out or at least reduce the intensity.

Thanks to Dean Litchfield, Eileen Lyon, Jim Porter, Mary DeLisle, and Pete Kolp for calling in with the correct answer.

The Nicholls family would like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

This week’s question: Who was the owner of the former “Taco Station” that was located alongside the railroad tracks on West River St.? Call us at 550-5035 or e-mail us at nnicholls@dicksonrealty.com with your answer.