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chestnut with fruit

Another of the chores of the fall season is to clean up the garden. Since our yard is quite big, sometimes the task becomes almost overwhelming.
Only picking up the tree leaves is tiring. We have three big oaks in our front yard that shed so many leaves that we couldn’t find anyone who wants to do the job, so each year we rent a container at the end of the fall season which we fill up to the top with leaves.
Besides the leaves, the apple trees turn our backyard into a mine field and even when I use some fruit to make apple pie or apple jam, there are so many that we can’t eat all of them and they decay.
We also have three chestnut trees, and one of them is already producing an acceptable amount of fruit, but the problem is that we also have to clean up all the shells (I called them “hairy things”) that remain on the floor after removing the inside fruit.
I know that many people in Argentina have never seen a chestnut, I was lucky to be in a family of European immigrants. My grandfather and my father were crazy about eating chestnuts because they reminded them of their land, so they planted chestnut tress in a lot we had in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
chestnut outsideEvery year the job was to pick up bags of chestnuts, separating the fruit from the  prickly shell ending up with our hands all punctured.
Here in the U.S. there used to be lots of chestnut trees of a native species, specially on the East coast but after a blight that came in some boat from Europe and killed the plants, they almost disappeared and that’s why many people have never seen one.
I planted three chestnuts when we moved to this house of a kind that is a cross between the European and the Chinese chestnut and resistant to the blight, a little bit to keep with the family tradition and a little bit because the fruit is really yummy!
chestnut inside And going back to the main subject, now I have the chore of picking up all the prickly shells from the floor every fall.
While I was doing that I was thinking  about my adoption, and was amazed by how wonderful is nature, protecting the valuable fruit of a tree.
And the chestnut is just like a mother protecting her children. On the outside, the fruit is covered with thorns so nobody can harm or steal it before the fruit is ready for the outside world. But on the inside is all soft and fuzzy so the chestnut can grow warm, comfortable and protected. And when the fruit falls it opens up to let the chestnut free so it can be another tree, a future mother or father in the world.
Yes, maybe I’m rambling too much, but I like to ramble and I would like to show my children the chestnuts so they can see the wonder of nature too and we will probably eat the fruit inside our warm home while outside is cold and rainy.

Note: There is another kind of chestnut tree, called Horse Chestnut, that has a poisonous fruit, in this post I talk about the kind that’s edible.