Acorns are not the only nut we have issues with around here. In fact, the first nuts to fall each Autumn are these:These are in fact Chinese Chestnuts. We have 2 lovely trees of them.. they are rather brittle trees, and suffer much in freezes, windstorms, hurricanes, ice storms. But every year, precisely on the 15th of September, the spiny cases open and the glossy nuts begin to fall.
Interesting sites about chestnuts:
The issue with chestnuts are the burrs.. Each case is covered in millions of very painful burrs. Raking up the casings and burning them each fall does nothing to eliminate the millions in the grass. And therefore, we only walk barefoot under these trees once. We must scramble to keep guests from walking under them as well… they are situated by some of the blueberry bushes, and in summer, friends are drawn there to the large berries. But we try to be ever vigilant, because in the summer, the brown casings are not evident all over the ground, but the spines are there in the grass for all eternity.
We rarely can do much with the chestnuts.. they are time consuming to prepare for eating, although sometimes the kids will eat the raw in the first few days. They make lovely wee people for our nature table, and hundreds have been gathered and made into gnomes for various classes at school, party favors, for friends. You can see our autumn gnomes here:
Chestnuts go rancid quickly, and can have worms in them.. but closing your eyes and eating quickly is one of the fine pleasures of early autumn. And they thud, thud as they drop… a feast for the senses.
The casings can also be gingerly picked up and made into a dragon for Michealmas… but our dragon found its way to the youngest’s school table, and we have yet to make another. Maybe next weekend.