Chestnut Harvest

My Chinese Chestnut tree is finally beginning to bear a good amount of nuts. After a few frosty nights, about half of the nuts have fallen to the ground; the other half is still clinging to the tree. I collected the ones that had fallen on the ground.
With a thick pair of leather gloves, I set out to open the spiny shells (technical term is cupule or burr) that are protecting the nuts. You really don’t want to touch them with unprotected hands.

Removing the hostile covering was a tedious process as few of the nuts were fully opened. Some of them needed to be pried open with a pair of scissors; others fell open with a little bit of pressure applied. As I was working with them, I became intrigued with the sensuous nature of chestnuts in their shell.

Doesn’t this one look like a baby crowning in the birth canal?

birth of a chestnut

birth of a chestnut

I quickly learned not to bother with the smaller, lighter burrs because they mostly held tiny, undeveloped chestnut babies, like these:

The larger, weightier ones held at least one, sometimes two, large chestnuts inside:

twin chestnuts

twin chestnuts

The luscious, lustrous brown nuts looked like pieces of chocolate to me:

chestnut "chocolates"

chestnut “chocolates”

or like large precious seeds lining up to be strung into a necklace:

line of chestnuts

line of chestnuts

Some of the emptied shells appeared like cocoons that had recently released their new life into the world:

empty chestnut shell

empty chestnut shell

A close-up of the hair-lined inner chamber in stark contrast to the sharp spines on the outside:

The chestnut mother tree knows exactly how to cradle her precious seed babies in a soft womb environment and how to protect them with fierceness against any intruders. Not much different from how we human mamas hold and protect and defend our babies.

About Beauty Along the Road

A blog about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations.
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13 Responses to Chestnut Harvest

  1. Wow! This brought me back to my childhood. A long time ago. Thank you for rekindling a long lost memory.


  2. Donna King says:

    What a work of art the chestnut shells are. Even the spiny covering has wavy, artful shapes. I was amazed at the fuzzy inside, too. A real study in nature’s amazing intricacy.


  3. Gorgeous photos! I particularly like the birth of the baby Chinese Chestnut.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. asqfish says:

    Beautifully written about something we never think about!


  5. asqfish says:

    You give the right to the chestnuts by giving them a voice and humanity

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dilloncruz72 says:

    Wonderful! As a permaculture guy, I love it when people plant chestnuts.

    Peace be with you.


  7. Suzanne says:

    I love your musings on chestnuts and your wonderful photos. I agree there is a resemblance to a baby’s head crowning in birth. The second last photo is absolutely beautiful. It would make a wonderful drawing too.


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