A Bountiful Pine Cone Harvest

One day a few weeks ago, Maggie revealed that she had been foraging for pine cones on her evening walks with Piper and had amassed an impressive amount. As sisters are wont to do, I immediately demanded that she share her pine cone loot with me, and because she is the good sister (and the better aunt), she immediately acquiesced.  On the day she brought the pine cones over to my house though, she realized something quite marvelous.  Right on the edge of our property is a grove of pine trees, and Maggie assured me that she had checked out these trees ("You have to look at the tops of the trees," she told me.), and if we went, we were sure to find a bounty of pine cones the likes of which she had never seen before on her city walks. So once the babes were up from their naps, we grabbed a bag and took the long trek across the yard to go harvest the pine cones. As Maggie held both Piper and Will, I picked up pine cones as fast as I cold with Maggie shouting and pointing with her foot, "That's a good one!  Ooooh, that's a really good one!"
We then went home to bake the pine cones in pans lined with foil at 275 for about 40 minutes to get rid of any living organisms, after which the sap created a beautiful glaze and my entire house smelled like pine. After sprinkling the pine cones about the house as part of our harvest time decorations and consulting Pinterest, we discovered there is no end to the amount of decorating you can do with free pine cones that you harvested from your/your neighbor's yard, which is why yesterday, Will and I had to go back to gather more pine cones. They were a bit harder to collect because of the thick layer of pine needles that had fallen, but I'm happy to report we came away with another bountiful harvest. Below is what we have done so far with our bounty, and I still want to try cinnamon pine cones and some the pine cone ornaments.
Also, the pine cones scattered about the house have blended nicely with the large collection of mini-gourds I purchased and set about as decoration. If only there were a place to harvest mini-gourds for free...

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