One of the funny things about parenthood is that it highlights just how much you don't know.
Pretty much as soon as kids can string sentences together they start asking why and how and what is and when and why again until you're hiding in the bathroom eating fun size Snickers left over from Halloween just to get a little peace and quiet.
Like what the heck is a pinecone, anyway? I think it has something to do with a pine tree's reproduction. Is it the seed delivery system? Is it a fruit, kind of?
Well, at least we have Google these days unlike our own parents who either had to admit they didn't know, drive us to the library, or just make something up and hope our teacher's didn't contradict whatever nonsense came out of their lyin' mouths. Note: Shoepeg corn does not come from the Shoepeg mountains.
But back to pinecones. Turns out there are female pinecones, which is what you were thinking of the moment you read the word pinecone. These produce seeds - each of the sticky-out bits is a seed that will eventually fall off the cone and possible become a baby pine tree if they meet up with pollen.
And there are male pinecones, which are 'usually herbaceous' according to Wikipedia and are the delivery system of said pollen.
They look like this:
Wink wink nudge nudge!
But seriously, leave it to kids and their boundless curiosity to wonder what the heck a pine cone even is, and what's that other little thing that's growing on the pine trees. (Quick facetious answer: pine nuts LOLOLOL.)
I love it! Because you know what? Maybe I wondered what these were when I was a kid but I sure haven't wondered about it since!
Thanks to their still-fresh excitement about the world and everything in it I get to learn something new just about every day. And apparently that's super good for my aging brain. But it's probably even better for my outlook because not learning new things? Sucks.