Buckeyes, or their near kin, horse chestnuts, what are they worth? A bowl of the shiny brown kernels is pretty on a fall table; stepping on buckeye hulls in your bare feet elicits a minor expletive. The large leaves create quite a drift for a little while in late fall. Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be much going on.
Or so we thought, until last night, when Lewie came up the hill from the bonfire raving about our four, or is it five?, beautiful Chinese chestnuts along the creek bank. Where? we asked blankly. Oh, you mean the buckeyes? — Only it’s no good double-guessing Lewie because he’s a forester and he knows. Chinese chestnuts — and for the past twelve years we’ve been filling bowls with the glossy mahogany-colored fruits, admiring them for a season, and then throwing them — not to the pigs, of course not, buckeyes are inedible, and not on the compost pile (who needs more buckeye trees?), — but just away, off the hill, into the outer darkness. Pounds and pounds of huge, protein-packed nuts wasted.
No more, though. This fall we’ll gather them all, well, all except what the squirrels may be really dependent on.
Unless Lewie gets to them first —