Horse Chestnuts Galore!

Posted by Francesca

As we Frenchies were strolling around the farm yesterday, we discovered that the horse chestnut trees are dropping their nuts.  Of course, we had to stop and investigate.  Many people think that horse chestnuts are edible, however, this is not so.  They're actually quite unpleasant tasting and kind of poisonous.  Squirrels, who eat all kinds of nuts, never touch horse chestnuts.  So, besides being good for chasing, that's another thing squirrels are handy for.

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Francesca, it looks like the horse chestnuts are nearly ripe.  You may recall how beautiful the red flowers of this tree are in the spring.

1 Francesca, it looks like the horse chestnuts are nearly ripe. You may recall how beautiful the red flowers of this tree are in the spring.

Those flowers then form these brown nuts.  I'll just shake this branch and see what happens.

2 Those flowers then form these brown nuts. I'll just shake this branch and see what happens.

Voila!  We've got horse chestnuts on the ground.

3 Voila! We've got horse chestnuts on the ground.

The seed-vessel starts out as a large green husk, protected with short spines.

4 The seed-vessel starts out as a large green husk, protected with short spines.

That husk turns a brown color and and is made up of three valves.  When it falls to the ground, the valves split apart, freeing the nut.

5 That husk turns a brown color and and is made up of three valves. When it falls to the ground, the valves split apart, freeing the nut.

The brown nuts have a very shiny polished skin.

6 The brown nuts have a very shiny polished skin.

Each nut has a dull, rough, pale-brown scar where it has been attached to the inside of the seed-vessel.

7 Each nut has a dull, rough, pale-brown scar where it has been attached to the inside of the seed-vessel.

Franny, in Britain and Ireland, children use horse chestnuts to play a traditional game called conkers.  The chestnut is threaded onto a string and the players take turns striking each other's conker until one breaks.

8 Franny, in Britain and Ireland, children use horse chestnuts to play a traditional game called conkers. The chestnut is threaded onto a string and the players take turns striking each other's conker until one breaks.

Unlike edible chestnuts, horse chestnuts taste bitter, are slightly poisonous, and can cause sickness when eaten.

9 Unlike edible chestnuts, horse chestnuts taste bitter, are slightly poisonous, and can cause sickness when eaten.

Long ago, horse-chestnut seeds were used in France and Switzerland for whitening hemp, flax, silk and wool.  The nuts contain a soapy juice, good for washing fabric.

10 Long ago, horse-chestnut seeds were used in France and Switzerland for whitening hemp, flax, silk and wool. The nuts contain a soapy juice, good for washing fabric.

In August of 2010, a very famous horse chestnut tree blew over in a storm.  Located in the center of Amsterdam, it was called the Anne Frank Tree, which she mentioned in her diary.

11 In August of 2010, a very famous horse chestnut tree blew over in a storm. Located in the center of Amsterdam, it was called the Anne Frank Tree, which she mentioned in her diary.

Eleven young specimens, sprouted from seeds from this tree, were transported to the United States.  Today they grow in notable museums and institutions in her name.  That's a nice story.

12 Eleven young specimens, sprouted from seeds from this tree, were transported to the United States. Today they grow in notable museums and institutions in her name. That's a nice story.

Comments (18)

  • Will check back in the morning, but had to be sure and wish Zoe's big brother, T-Bone, who is a lab, Happy 11th Birthday today. So here's your song T-Bone:
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR T-BONE, Zoe's BROTHER, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU....and many more. Could ya hear me T-Bone, could ya, could ya?
    Love and licks,
    Ruby

  • You know, I was thinking and I wondered how people know what things are bad to eat and what is alright. I mean did the cave men do a trial and error thing? Like, did one guy try something to eat and if he croaked, they must have posted it on Face Book so everyone would know not to eat some things. Yeah, that must be it. Hehehehehehehe
    So much going on. Zoe and the wild turkey invasion, Rebel is back home, Chewy, James and Lucinda got a bath , football games won and lost. Well, at least this Glue Squad isn't a bunch of slackers, no sir.
    It is getting really cool out in the mornings now. All of you with shorter coats should get some of those coats the Frenchies were wearing so you stay nice and warm. Speaking of cool weather, the deck looks very inviting. I am going to the deck to wait for the sun to come out. It is a game I play, beat the sun. I always win. Hehehehehehehe
    Love to all,
    Maddox

  • Back again, how could I forget to wish T-Bone a Happy Birthday. Sorry T Bone. I guess I was thinking too much about the cave men and Face Book. Hehehehehehehe.
    Have a great day. Maybe you can convince Zoe to do her TP chomping for entertainment today. That would be fun. Happy Birthday T-Bone. You share your birthday with Michael Douglas and his wife. Kool
    Love ya
    Maddox

  • The naughty girl inside of me did a LOL when I first read this: the horse chestnut trees are dropping their nuts!

    But, I then continued to read on and learn some most interesting facts about all things nuts!

    How smart squirrels are for avoiding toxic nuts.

    The Daily Wag never disappoints! :)

    Have a 'nutty' day girly girls
    gail

  • Good Morning F & S

    Too bad you can't eat those chestnuts they look like a nice size. In our house we LOVE chestnuts. Mom has a special tool to put an X in them and then she has a chestnut roasting pan to roast them. When they are in season we have them almost every night. Mom and Dad peel the shell off and sprinkle them with salt and OH SO YUMMY. And ask me how I know this because I love them as well and get to share with mom. I sit right on her lap, in her face so I get a piece out of each nut - YUMMO!!!

    Happy Birthday to my big brother T-Bone. I saw some hamburger defrosting so I'm thinking burgers for our birthday dinner. I would really love to have what dad is having for dinner tonight rack of lamb but I'll settle for the beef.

    Busy day yesterday had to help dad clean out the shed and start to put the furniture away from around the pool. We do a little each day because dad gets tired fast. That COPD stuff is nasty - damn cigarettes - I still for the life of me can't figure out why people smoke. It stinks and kills you - and they still smoke - really????

    I think I'll go find my brother see if he wants to play a game of hide and seek. I'll tell him to go hide and never go look for him ;)

    Zoe

  • That is a nice story Frenchies - thank you.

  • F&S, what does Martha do with the seemingly useless horse chestnuts? She usually does something with practically everything on her farm. Maybe she is providing them so that you can throw them *at* the squirrels? Teehee.

  • Hi F,S,&GK+ Glue Squad, Thank you sweet girls for sharing this information about horse chestnuts! I am so fascinated at how they look and would probably chew on one if I found it! Thanks to your information, Mom would never let me eat any of them! She used to see chestnuts when she lived in Ellensburg, Twin Falls, and worked at the Kingdome many years ago and she's glad we don't have any in our yard! I went to my Vet at 8AM yesterday and had some work done on my teeth and Mom and Uncle Tim picked me up at 4PM! I was very tired, but woke up very well when I got back home and loved all of the attention I got plus some delicious soft food! I'm even doing better this morning! Happy Birthday T-Bone, sure hope you have a wonderful day! Was so nice to hear from Ruby, Maddox, Gail, Zoe, and Angela this morning and will check back later after I take a nap! Love, Dudley Do Right, XOXOXO+

  • Hello all you GS buddies out there:
    Firstly, Happy Birthday to T-Bone, hope your birthday dinner is most excellent and that there are lots of treats for you guys today. Burgers are very good. The blog on horse chestnuts is very interesting, we didn't realize that they weren't edible, in our other house we had American chestnut trees - I think you could eat those nuts. Dad took Miz Lu to the vet this morning, nothing serious, just the yearly physical exam and shots - maybe they can also determine why she is so ornery around Riley boy! Wait, I already know the answer, he can be really bothersome when he wants to play. Anyways we went to the park last night - no one there again so we were off leash and running like crazy dogs. Have a lovely day everyone, we'll be outside as much as possible today cause it's so nice outside. Martha, Riley boy and Miz Lu.

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    First off, before this old brain forgets, Happy Birthday T-Bone. I’m adjusting to the eye treatment; don’t even flinch when Daddy puts the drops in my eye. What a beautiful fall morning this has been. In the low 60’s and climbing slowly with a cloudy sky. As you would expect, it is going to rain this afternoon or evening. I’ll bet that we have a thunderstorm tonight which will keep me awake. There is no rest for the weary, as they say. You won’t have to worry about me eating any horse chestnuts; I’m not a squirrel for gosh sake. I guess some dogs do nuts but not this Chow.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • :-) HAPPY BIRTHDAY T-BONE! Have a woofable day!

    Well gail you just couldn't help yourself ;-) funny! Malcolm you are so right, what does MS do with useless chestnuts? Maybe save them for that bonkers "Conkers" game - LOL
    Maybe theses are the ones they use in decorative potpourri.

    F&S you were good girls not trying to taste these chestnuts ... Yes ask mommie martha what they can be used for.

    Kitty has another friend coming to visit on the deck, the black cat that beat her up a couple of weeks ago..she just sits there on the deck and the black cat just wanders around drinks water, sniffs the beds, but doesn't attack Kitty. I'm glad to see this side of Kitty

    Everyone have a wonderful day!
    delia & Kitty =^. .^=

  • Good morning everyone!
    First of all Happy Birthday T-Bone!!!!! Hope you have a great day!!! Burgers sounds yummy.
    Are Buckeyes the same as Horse Chestnuts? They look the same. Hmmmmmm. You know being from Ohio and all, we know a little bit (very little) about buckeyes. hahahah. Especially the kind Mom makes for Christmas! hahahahahaha.
    Anyway. Mom washed windows on Monday and she made Brutie and me stay outside. She said something about us get "under feet". Hellllooooo....I'm a Pug, what does she expect. Oh well, now, at least Brutie and I can bark on clean windows. hahahahaha.
    It's a beautiful day out there, most be off to check out the patio and the bike trail.

    Pugs and kisses to all!
    Brutus and Max

  • Hello Girls & Glue Squad Buddies,
    I must admit before I talk about the nuts, that I am still laughing at you Zoe---turkey and toots!!! Funny, funny, you make me laugh and smile every time I think of it. Have fun with brother today for his b-day.
    Now, good to know on these nuts about the toxicity. I am like the rest, what do you do with them if they are toxic? Nice cool mornings, I am sleeping in with Dad.
    Now a surprise arrived in the mail yesterday and it wasn't another birthday surprise for Mom. It was the dreaded boots--can I say this loud enough----I HATE THEM. It took 15 minutes to get them on, and then one butt vroom and they were on the front room floor. Yahoooo!!! Mom and Dad say, not so quick Ruby, every day we try again. So, guess what? Last night I walked right out on the grass and peed before bed--showed them I can do it on the grass without those darn boots. Actually, it was perfect timing, as the folks have been playing get the treat and hide and seek every night to get me to go on the lawn. The timing could not have been better to show them I can get over my fears. I am so glad the eye drops are going smooth Kirby. And Dudley, milk the soft food as long as you can while the "no teeth" are healing. I am telling you that Blue Buffalo Turkey Stew is the best healer for all that bothers you. Hope ALL my buddies have a GEM of a day, and Gail you crack us up too on the nuts. Hehehehehe
    Love and licks,
    Ruby

  • Well, just a quick update. Miz Lu is back from the vet and needs dental surgery! She has broken a tooth (upper RHS) and while its wiggly, it is still firmly stuck in. She is going in next week and should be just a day (in and out) - the vet says that's why she has been more crabby than usual with Riley boy and hasn't been eating like normal. Good to know the problem, and that it is fixable, sad to know that she is in pain. Do they make Orajel for dogs? Martha, Miz Lu and Riley boy.

  • Hello Sharkey,Francesca and Glue squad buddies,
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TBONE!!!!! Hope you have an awesome party and lots of treats and burgers too. Maybe Zoe will decorate with t.p. streamers!
    Thank you girls for the information on horse chestnuts, they fall on the ground by our duck pond and Abby sniffs them but does not eat any. Mom loves fresh chestnuts that are edible, she had some roasted ones in England and was impressed, yummy.
    Maddox, we loved your caveman and facebook comment. However, I prefer the medieval king and servants testing food and facebook results, now that's funny.
    Dudley, so glad you were brave and had your dentistry! Rebel, how are you??? Missy Chow, how about our bearded Red Sox men!!!!!
    Kitty, sounds like you have a new black cat beau.
    Well, we are getting ready for All Hallows Eve already!! Mom is making Jack o Lantern metal pins...
    hope TBone and everybody has a PURRRFect day!
    James Byron Dean
    will try to read The Legend of Sleepy Hallow...

  • Hello, back again!
    Sorry to hear about Miss Lucy's sore tooth! They do make medication to help with her mouth pain and the dentistry will really help her out.
    Good job Ruby with your zooming out on the grass sans boots.
    My big persian paws hit the wrong key and I meant to say The Legend of Sleepy HOLLOW is the book I am reading next, oh well, enjoy this pretty fall day.
    Tomorrow we are getting our PUMPKINS!!!
    James Dean

  • ..hmmm..horse chestnuts..thanks for the info..never seen any...Happy Birthday T-Bone, I will do naughty things in your honor all day and Black Mama and the tribe will go on a trophy rodent hunt in your honor!..Miz Lu..yeah a broken tooth would make any doggie a bit cranky!..good job Ruby with grass!..yes, we glue squaders are a busy interesting bunch..I am spying on the mama deer and fawn out the front room window..had a bad dream last night..got all wigged out and ran around the house..Lucinda and James came to my rescue and sat with me and this a.m., I feel fine..think it was a flash back...hear talk of clearing some brush and a bon-fire....this will be fun..I see James has a thermos of coffee and Lucinda some hot chocolate..so I better go and supervise..later, Chewey p.s. Black Mama and the tribe are fine, they are trying to be my pals

  • I learned a lot from your blog again today, Sharkey and Francesca. I'm so glad that they have grown seeds from the Anne Frank tree that got destroyed.

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