Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Horse chestnuts, anyone?

Dear readers near and far, do you happen to have horse chestnut trees where you live? 






Here in the Arizona desert, there is no such thing. But you see, in Germany and Hungary where I grew up, we always used horse chestnuts for crafts in the fall. Using toothpicks, you can make all kinds of cute creatures out of the smooth, shiny brown fruit. 




If you have these trees in your area, would you consider mailing us some of the horse chestnuts - in the shell or without? I would love to be able to share this tradition with our children. The mailing address is on the side bar right under the family photo. If you include your return address, we can send you a cool souvenir from Arizona, like a rattlesnake or tarantula. Oh, wait, those are not really cool - but it's pretty much all we've got around here... 

Thanks much in advance. I will be checking the mail box obsessively from now on.

25 comments:

  1. Haha! Nice! I don't think we have horse chestnuts around here, and we certainly don't need tarantulas. :P

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  2. Cool! I've actually never seen anyone make such fun things out of "conkers" (as we call them).

    "Back in the day" conkers were used for conker fights. Each child would get the biggest, toughest conker they could find and drill a hole right through it. Then knot it to the end of a string and take turns trying to smash your opponents conker to pieces!

    Of course there are tonnes of ways you could cheat at this game...I've heard tales of dunking your conker in clear varnish and such... ;)

    I'm not sure do we have them on our land, I'll have to ask my hubby...if we do, we'll surely send some!

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  3. Growing up we used to have a huge horse chestnut tree in our front yard. We children used to have so much fun with those delightfully smooth shiny nuts every fall and our elderly neighbors always stopped in to get some to carry in their pockets. They said it gave them relief from their arthritis pain.

    This summer I passed my old home place and was sad to see that the current owners viciously trimmed the tree to barely more than the trunk and a stray branch or two. I'm not sure when we'll be going past there again or if the poor tree was able to produce any nuts but if I get the opportunity to get some I will be sure to mail them to you.

    Blessings~

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  4. Are you planning on eating them or just using them for crafts? Usually they start selling them in stores here around november for roasting. If you can wait until then I am sure I can send some. I haven't collected them myself for years (In my tiny village our chestnut trees were in the vicarage and we were shooed away constantly by the elderly vicar, ha!)

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  5. Aww, if you would have asked last year, I could have sent you all you wanted. We got tons of them at our last residence but not here.

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  6. Nope, no horse chestnuts here in Florida. But I have used horse chestnut for my horrible varicose veins.

    Could you substitute regular chestnuts, or are they too small? Those show up in the supermarket sometimes around Thanksgiving.

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  7. Oh, and we called them buckeyes. There is also a yummy treat that the kids would enjoy making called buckeyes as well. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/buckeyes-i/detail.aspx

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  8. Thank you for all the responses! Horse chestnuts are different from the chestnuts typically sold for roasting around the holidays. As far as I know, horse chestnuts are NOT edible - but then, I might be wrong on that.

    Still waiting for that comment that says "Yup, we have 'em, and they are in the mail to you!" :)

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    1. We have 3 big buckeye trees in our yard. We had some local people that used to gather the up and sell them at the farmers market. One family said that that they canned them. Nobody has bothered with them for years, they just rot on the ground. I don't know if they're edible or not. I'm not going to try them.

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    2. Yup I have some an need an address...to connect find me on facebook Rebecca Haynes mentzer..just gathered a bunch thinking they were the ones you can eat.glad I love to do research..my daughter lives in AZ also..i am in PA..i know this post I really old..hoping u see my reply

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    3. Hi Rebecca,

      Thank you! We'd love to get some! I sent you a message through FB, but it probably went to your filtered messages folder.

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  9. Well, we have some sort of chestnuts that look like those but not sure if they are horsenut chestnuts. I will send a picture to you later on today so you can see and if so then I will send you some. We have no clue what to do with them. The only thing that leads me to believe we don't is that I am in New Mexico and it is sort of like Arizonza so maybe they don't grow here either?
    Barbara

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  10. Barbara, please do! If you leave me your email address in a comment (which I won't publish), I can respond and give you my email address. Sorry about the trouble, but I can no longer make it public on this blog for all to see.

    And I do think it is possible to grow these trees in NM, or even AZ for that matter - I think they are just not common because they are not indigenous to this area. Hungary gets very hot in the summer, and they grow everywhere there.

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  11. Those that we can eat and those that can be thrown (or with which we can make crafts, depends on the person :p) are two different types of fruits.
    However, we have both here in Belgium.

    It's amazing because, as I just came back from school about half an hour ago, I found a chesnut like that on the ground, just on the road. Nice coincidence you are talking about it :)


    I'll see if I can find a tree nearby with some of these. Do you prefer the eating or the crafting ones ?

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  12. We have two big horse chestnut trees. So I went outside to see if I could collect any nuts for you. Unfortunately, all the nuts I could find have had a bite taken out of them by the squirrels (the squirrels are the bane of my life as they eat every single tulip bulb I plant and routinely dig up my other plants). However I will keep my eye out for more.

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  13. In my hometown in Western Canada, we have tons of horse chestnuts, but unfortunately here in downtown Toronto (where I'm living for the fall) we don't have any. Sorry! But I sure did love having them around in my childhood...

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  14. Zsuszanna, wait a second, I just moved and hadn't noticed that there's a horse chestnut tree down the street...d'oh! If you really want them I'll send them.

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  15. Yes, they're buckeyes! As I understand it, they're lots in Ohio...I believe Ohio State University's mascot is the buckeye. (I'm not sure how they make a mascot costume for that.) Ohio, you're on the mark on this one!

    God Bless,

    Mindy

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  16. Canuck, I would love for you to mail us some, but I thin the postage from Canada is probably outrageously expensive.

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  17. Greetings from Massachusetts!

    My husband came across your husband's sermons online and I have no idea how I got to your blog, but here I am!

    I was visiting a friend in NH yesterday and her son ran over to me with a bag of horse chesnuts they had brought home from a Co-op. I was delighted to say the least! I did forget to bring some home with me but my friend mentioned her husband went out again last night to fetch some more and ended up with about 200 of them! Anyway, I plan to meet up with her soon and would be more than happy to mail them to you.

    I know it's silly to give me a number of horse chestnuts you need but is there an amount you prefer?

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  18. Anon from Massachusetts, thank you for your kind offer! We would love to get any number of chestnuts. Maybe like a paper lunch sack full? I think that would be plenty for the oldest 5 to be able to make little animals and people out of. If possible, we would love to get some that are still in the prickly green shell, just so that our kids can see and feel what they are like. Thank you so much in advance!!! :)

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  19. Okay great! I'll be catching up with my friend next week and will ship them off to you.

    - Nancy

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  20. I am in the same boat as you. I grew up in Pennsylvania and I live in Florida now. I really miss the chestnuts to use for crafts!! I can not seem to find anyone to send me any!!

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    1. Have a lot of horse chestnuts from 2 big trees in our garden here in Ireland and will send them to anyone who wants, within reason. Kids are making Christmas decorations with them and they have a lot more than we can use. dec Buckley at g mail dot com put that together for my email address.

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  21. were can I find horse chestnut trees in Edinburgh

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