The Osage Orange & then some

{image from Rough Ideas by Catherine White...  her pottery is gorgeous}

I might have found something I love more than mossballs.  (yeah, yeah, I read the posts, moss balls are so done- but I still love them ;)  Anyway, my client, Sandy, gave me some little green balls from the farmer's market, saying they would keep crickets out of the house, and they're so beautiful to me!


And they smell so good too.  Sandy had a plastic bag filled with them from the farmer's market and she had planned to place them around her basement to scare the crickets away.  She left them in the bag a day or so and before she even had the chance to place the balls around the room, the crickets had left! 

Sandy emailed me letting me know they're called osage oranges, so I did a little reserach.  (And by "did a little research" I mean I googled 'osage orange.')  According to wikipedia, they grow on trees and are not actually closely related to citus fruit but are actually in the mulberry family, called "Moraceae."

And how crazy is this:  "Recent research suggests that elemol, another component extractable from the fruit, shows promise as a mosquito repellent with similar activity to DEET in contact and residual repellency."  So not only are they beautiful & they smell good, but they really do keep bugs away!  I'm going to have to try to put some in the boys' playhouse shed because spiders looooove it.  (Last Fall, we had an insane spider crickets invasion in our basement when Eddie & Jaithan came to visit, so the first thing Jaithan asked me before they visited this Fall was, "Are they gone??" hahha)

The wikipedia article goes on to say, "The fruit has a pleasant and mild odor, but is inedible for the most part. Although it is not strongly poisonous, eating it may cause vomiting. However, the seeds of the fruit are edible."  hmm... so there goes the answer to my question of 'what do they taste like?'  I'll never know. 

It's interesting that most native animals don't use it as a food source because typically seeds are dispersed by animals.  "One recent  theory is that the Osage-orange fruit was eaten by a giant sloth that became extinct shortly after the first human settlement of North America. Other extinct animals, such as the mammoth, may have fed on the fruit and aided in seed dispersal.   An equine species that went extinct at the same time also has been suggested as the plant's original dispersal agent because modern horses and other livestock will sometimes eat the fruit."

{Image via Weird and Funny}

So...  after getting a couple osage oranges from Sandy and loving the smell (I have a wolf's noze & am really affected by smell... so much that I keep them on my desk just so I can smell them all day long) we were out driving this weekend and I saw what looked like a tennis ball on the side of the road.  I knew right away it was an osage orange and then looked closer and saw there were a ton of them all along the sidewalk near the park we were driving by.  Dave pulled over (gotta love him) and Christian and I hoped out after emptying the  "returns" out of a  plastic Target bag we had in the car.  I had to go into the woods to get to the pretty ones & got a bit scratched up but it was worth it.  (Christian did warn me, "Be careful mommy, don't get owies.")  Now we have a ton!!!  I couldn't even fit them all in this bowl:



And now I know I can get them every year!!  They're said to grow in the midwest and clearly they grow around Virginia too so keep your eyes peeled.  They're now all over my house, which of course called for me to do a mini photo shoot.  Here they are in the little shelf in our entry:



I love having such a tiny little shelf when we first walk in because there's only room for a teensy tiny amount of junk to accumulate.  (Eeeeek but that doesn't really stop us from using the floor.)

Right now on our storage bench I'm using the wrong side of a Calico Corners remnant:

{I don't remember the name but they still sell it & chances are Jan Jessup of CC will comment to let us all know-  thanks Jan! ;}

The photo is of my handsome father-in-law, John:

 He thinks we only put it out when he comes to visit but here's proof.  (Will that get me brownie points?? ;)

Lately I've also been loving this little creamer I found at a flea market which perfectly hides my messy wad of keys:

{Another "product" for my online store that I am keeping... oh boy}

Speaking of stores & what's up with me, here's the lastest.  I'm opening up an online store, "Pure Style Home" and am working on finalizing the web design and picking inventory.  I'm still having issues and my husband makes fun of me....  "HERE, PLEASE COME TO MY STORE....  I AM SELLING ELEVEN ITEMS.  OH WAIT?  YOU WANT THAT ONE?  NO THAT ONE'S NOT REALLY FOR SALE...  IT'S ONLY BEEN IN THE STORE FOR A WEEK.  PLEASE COME BACK LATER."  So yes, I'm definitely opening the online store but am still having issues choosing exactly what I want to sell.  I know many of you have inquired about the rugs and yes, I will be putting them in the store.  The 8x11 handmade wool antique look sun-washed rugs are in the $3,400- $4,000 range.

Now, I mentioned that I was going to be joining with with my friend Elise of the Loudon Design Center to have a Pure Style Home store open on the weekends and this has changed a bit.  Elise is still planning on opening the store the first week of Decemeber but instead of having part-ownership of the store on the weekends, I've decided that it might be better if she carries some of my pieces...  We're working on a line of fabrics & furniture and there will be one of a kinds too but the store will also carry a lot of other amazing companies like Hickory Chair & Sferra.  I would love to start this venture head-first and fully diving in, but I've realized that I really can't spread myelf too thinly.  I need my family time and I know having a store of my own with my name on it would take up way too much time & energy right now.  We're all hoping that having a separate store carrying a few of my things will be a good compromise.  We head to High Point tomorrow to square away some details.  So much is changing and so quickly, so I really don't know 100% what will happen, but this is my new plan.  ;)  I'll keep you posted


xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

ps- If you didn't get to see my previous post on Market, check it out & let me know if you're going!

55 comments:

Leanne said...

I wish I could find those in Utah. They're beautiful. I love the green. I'm having a hard enough time finding acorns here. I had to drive an hour and bribe my kids to help me hunt for them. Little do they know we'll be taking another hour drive tomorrow. Have a great day!

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

OOOoo. I love those little oranges capapble of making species extinct!
What power in a green little ball!

Love all the opportunities you are working on too...and oh...Love that litle corner of the house!

Squeak said...

I just love osage oranges! Such a gorgeous shade of green. And the fragrance! When I owned a flower shop in Ottawa, Canada, we used to include them in our arrangements. But now that I live in Victoria, Canada, I haven't seen them in any of the flower shops. Darn!

Sandy said...

Hi,I am from Mississippi and those osage oranges look like what we call Horse apples in my neck of the woods!! They grew on huge trees here in my home town!! Not many trees left here now, but about 15 years ago, we began having the Bodock festival which they took the name from the bodock tree which the horse apples came from, I wonder if these are the same as your osage oranges.

Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

I LOVE THESE BALLS! WHen I was growing up, one of the neighbors had a tree, and I would collect them and
Thanks for sharing and stirring these childhood memories.
Teresa

Mandi Smith T said...

Such a great post - very informative and makes me want to go to the Farmers Market here in Birmingham!
Mandi
www.interiordesignmusings.blogspot.com

Beth Rutter said...

Around here those are called Monkey's Brains (or balls) and more commonly called Hedge Apples.

They do repeal bugs quite well. My grandmother would quarter them and put them in a plastic butter dish with holes poked in it to prevent any of us kids or pets accidentally giving it a gnaw. She never had bugs!

I love them, and even used them as decoration in my November wedding. Everyone was shocked at how pretty something so organic could be.

Kelly Krugh said...

Great post; I've seen these balls in Ohio and never knew what they were!!!

Where did you find the little white urns; I love them!!!

Annie @ The House That Jade Built said...

I'm from central IL and these are everywhere. They are most commonly in between the fields in the hedge rows - we call them hedge apples :) They are beautiful though - we decorate with them at our furniture shows, but I think most people around here don't realize how great they are!

Acquired Objects said...

So there’s a reason those animals are extinct but that fruit is gorgeous, love it’s color. Since we have about the same weather as the Midwest I’ll have to keep my eyes open to see if we have any of this fruit around. You’re killing us talking about your store all the time we want to see! We want to buy! Trust me when I say you can’t keep everything so share please. Thank you for a wonderful post and here’s hoping I find some of those balls.

Chesapeake Chic said...

We have a giant (and by giant I mean the trunk is 6.5 feet in diameter!) osage orange tree in our yard. Last year we must have had over a thousand of those gorgeous green balls! Unfortunately we had to cut the tree down over safety concerns, it was beginning to split down the middle for the sheer weight of the limbs and we were afraid it would fall on our house or on the kids playing in the yard. We left a 12 foot tall portion of the trunk though and it has already starting shooting off new limbs! I am really hoping it will grow out and thrive again and get a second life!

Did you know the wood is great to have outdoors? It is nearly rot-resistant! My husband is making some really nifty benches from a few of the limbs for around our firepit :-) Don't I sound like such a country bumpkin?

Amy said...

So funny you posted about this today, Greg and I were talking about this tree just last night, it's one of his fave's. You can actually build a living fence out of them...HINT HINT :) Have a great time at Market and hope to see you guys soon. *Amy

Erin Volante Floral said...

Hi Lauren!
I am a long-time reader (terrible about commenting, though!). This one brought me out of the woodwork... we call those hedge apples here in Kansas. I used to like them, too- (They can be gorgeous in floral arrangements.) but that was until I moved into a house that had 5 huge hedge apple trees in the backyard! Now they are the biggest nuisance of my life this time of the year... they fall on the deck (we have hilarious photos of my hubby and kids out there with bike helmets on... it's seriously dangerous!) The squirrels eat them, then they rot everywhere, they roll into the neighbors yard before we can pick them up, and they are just generally a disaster. And I am sorry to tell ya... but they are NOT resistant to all bugs. I have seen some horrifying things crawling in and around them- so I think that might be an old wives tale! They do look really pretty in YOUR house, though... just never again in mine! ;)

aLena said...

I am totally in L-O-V-E with moss balls but it's true they're getting kinda old ... guess this is the next best thing! I Live in Cali so definitely will check if they grow anywhere around here ... they're sooo cute!

Congrats on your online store & good luck!

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

A house I used to own had this tree in the back yard. There are a few trees here in Chattanooga. Put some in a bowl once til they began to rot - yuck!

Jennifer said...

I've seen those! But of course now that you've had the brilliant idea to bring them in I probably never will again!

Good luck at Highpoint and with finalizing everything! I'm sure it's stressful but I can't wait bc I know it (whatever it turns out to be) will be amazing!

Velvet and Linen said...

I need some of these! I love the pop of color that they add to your entry. Very fresh.
I'm so excited for this weekend. Can't wait to see you and your honey.
Also, in regards to the store... you are wise to go slowly. Life is too short! You have your priorities in order. Those precious boys come first. Soon they won't want to hang out with you (believe me, it happens way too quickly!).

xo
Brooke

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Lauren - Those Osage Orange balls are so cool! Just beautiful and I love the back story you gave us on them! (I don't think they grow in New York so I guess I'll have to fill a bowl with crabapples instead)

Keep going with your heart on the store. Brooke (Velvet and Linen) is so right - kids grow up so fast! Only you know the best way to balance it all, and I'm sure you'll balance everything very well (or hire some employees!)
Loretta

monkeygrasshill said...

Last year I was on a test drive and I saw some of those on the route. I started getting so excited, the car salesman thought I was a nut. I kept saying I was going to come back for them. I didn't buy the car, but just a couple days ago I was thinking about the hedge apples and thought I'd take a little drive (in my car that I bought from a different dealer) to see if I could find some of those cool green balls to decorate with.

Have a blast at the market!

Julie

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Christina said...

Wonder if I can find them in S. Cal? We just bought a new home and somehow crickets get in! I've been trying to find how they get in, but if I can find something to repel them, that'd be even better! I know crickets are supposed to be good luck and all, but geez, they creep me out!

An Urban Cottage said...

We always called them Monkey Balls. I thought they were specifically for spiders. I ever got close enough to them to learn that they smell good because...well, they're monkey balls, hello!

Stonewhite Cottage said...

Lauren,
I actually live in Osage, Texas, not a town really, just a spot in the road. We have alot of the Osage orange trees on our ranch. Let me know if you need more.

Blessings on your day,

Janet

Lynda @ Happenstance Home said...

I'd keep that creamer too and I'd probably have trouble selling things I really liked as well - especially if they were one of a kind! Good luck letting go!

Layne & Everett said...

I just gathered some of those with my boys {using plastic bags as well!} and now have them displayed in our home too. Blogged about it here...

http://www.housetweaking.com/2010/10/07/free-easy-fall-balls/

Thanks for all the extra info about them. Sure didn't know they were possibly poisonous to eat! I just love finding FREE decor from the outdoors.

Layne & Everett said...

I just gathered some of those with my boys {using plastic bags as well!} and now have them displayed in our home too. Blogged about it here...

http://www.housetweaking.com/2010/10/07/free-easy-fall-balls/

Thanks for all the extra info about them. Sure didn't know they were possibly poisonous to eat! I just love finding FREE decor from the outdoors.

Olivia said...

My grandpa taught me those were called horse apples. Ha! Nice to know their proper name!

jijibinx said...

hi lauren! i love your blog and read it almost everyday! it really has inspired me to decorate my home! i can't wait to check out your pieces at the loundon design center! btw, can you share which park you found osage oranges? :) thanks!!

Laurie Jones said...

These are beautiful and look so pretty in your home, I wasn't sure what you were talking about at first because I was told they were monkey balls!! You know us girls from Indy are classy!!

Piper (DailyDivaDish) said...

Love the osage oranges! And they look beautiful in your decor. I'm going to have to see if I can get some. Thanks for the info!
XO Piper

Pat said...

Sliced (sharp serrated knife) and dried in a very low oven, fitted with wire stems and they make
'Flowers" for addition to fall arrangements.

Chrissa said...

I absolutely love these balls. I have a tree in my yard that busts them out, and they're gorgeous.

But beware, when they begin to decompose, they stiiiink.

Danielle Sigwalt said...

My mom and I have been scouting out osage oranges for years...we both love the color and texture and you are correct there are trees in the area, but not many. I know of 3 trees and they are all in McLean and Vienna...I can save some for you if you wish??? There can be a ton and one can only put so much in one's home ;).
Great post!!

Karen said...

I love the color of the oranges---I live in So. Cal but we have lots of farmers markets around the area, I'll search...I would love a few of them in a bowl.

Good luck with your new adventures and keep us loyal followers posted.

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Great post!
I love an interesting back-story and history lesson all rolled into a dose of pretty.

Happy weekend, Alcira

thenerochronicles.blogspot.com

kayce hughes said...

Now i will be on the hunt to see if I can find some this far south. I love how they look in your milk glass. Will you do a follow up post on how long they last?

Melissa said...

I am so happy that I just found your blog. It's the epitome of everything lovely amd stylish.

Gretchen O. said...

First off Osage Oranges YAY! Secondly, my husband says the same thing about me and selling things, thirdly, sounds like a great compromise, and Fourthly HAVE an AWESOME time at Market!

--Gretchen O.

doug @ tracery interiors said...

I love those--I remember them being all over Illinois when I was growing up. They apparently don't do so well in Alabama, as I've never seen them here.

Windlost said...

Never heard o' em. Lovely tho.

Have fun at High Point and buy me something nice, ok?

Yes, don't spread too thin on the new ideas. Just take it a manageable step at a time. It will all come in time and you will be amazing. Follow your instincts.

xo Terri

Shelly said...

Those are the strangest looking things ever! I've never heard or seen anything like them. But if they smell that great AND keep away bugs..they I have to find them!

Karisha Solomon said...

We call them monkey brains or monkey balls! I also use them for decorating but beware that when they start to age they get mussy. My husband and I live next to a hill and bowl with the balls each year. We can not wait for the brains to arrive! I am having the same trouble with selling items. If I had a million dollars I would not purchase just the items that I NEED (really want) and those are the items that I do not want to sell because I love them. I hear the attachment will fade in time. I look forward to your store.

lexlocilori said...

We called those green things "Horse Apples." On a totally different note, yesterday I painted my doors orange and then I freaked out and googled "orange door" and I found your blog. Love it and your home!! Funny thing is that my house was also built in the 70s and I have dubbed it the Tree House for the same reason. Quick question. What colors are on your exterior?? I love the gray and how it made your rock stand out. I also want to paint and may have to go with your gray and white.

Dorie said...

Ok too funny that you posted about this!! I was just walking my dog yesterday and my neighbor has one of these trees and the balls were laying all over the ground. And they are BEAUTIFUL!! Thanks for the tips, I'm going to go grab some!!

Lila said...

I would do the same thing! I've literally pulled over on the side of the road and grabbed some awesome shaped sticks for a vase. Crazy people we are!
xoxo
Lila Ferraro

cultivatinghome said...

I just picked about 50 of these lovelies at a local park; I use them every Fall as free decorating accessories around our home. I found them last year in Herndon, VA (right outside of D.C.) while I was visiting my father. They were much smaller than the ones here in North Carolina, but they're there!
~Erin @ Cultivating Home

michiganhome said...

Okay... how is it possible that I have never heard of or seen these? I am really stumped. Wow. Very pretty and interesting fruit, though.

Brittany said...

I have always called them Hedge Apples. I have a tree full of them in my front yard.... wasn't until last year that I learned they would keep away spiders.

cara bridget said...

There is a house near me that spray paints these and lines them along their fence that spans their ginormic house. They look beautiful at christmas in silver and red.

Natural History said...

I had never seen or heard of such a fruit before! You see - I come to you for style AND education! :)

LindsB said...

love those things! I wish they grew up around me, I would have a million of them around here :)

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

I'm late to the party, but I got some at my favorite garden shop down here in Charlottesville this weekend ($2 each!) and my boyfriend (a Virginia native) said that he has seen them on the ground at Wintergreen (a ski resort). I instructed him to collect them the next time he sees them. They smell great and I think they look so cool. :)

Sabrina said...

I love osage oranges. I just started putting them around my house this summer and not only do they look interesting, but I swear there are less spiders... hmmm?

callie said...

These are absolutely amazing! (Oh and horses love to munch on these!) My parents have tons of them at their home in the country and I came home with a basketful this fall. They keep forever-- mine lasted in my dining room for over a month. Crate and Barrel also has some good fake ones that I snagged up!

DestinationsHoliday said...

Hello! I have been researching and come up with your website. I have been looking WHERE I can purchase osage orange. I need thousands ASAP as we have a lot of spiders in the house. I have called a lot of stores locally and they have never heard of osage oranges. I will appreciate your input of where I can find some in Wisconsin. Thank you very much!