September 20, 2010

Dirty Trees

One of the things we fell in love with about our house almost instantly was the yard, front and back. The backyard is wonderful and huge and being able to see it through our back windows makes up for the fact that it's a bitch to maintain. The font yard is populated by five gorgeous chestnut trees that shade the entire yard and give us a bit of privacy, shielding us from neighbors and the road in front of our house. Little did we know how those trees could bite us in the ass.

If you know anything about chestnut trees it is most likely this - they're dirty trees. Not lascivious, spying on the young oaks and making lewd comments about the maples' underbrush. I mean physically dirty trees. At the beginning of the summer they grow and lose six inch long fuzzy fronds that look cute until they cover the yard and turn brown and crunchy. But it's the fall that they're the worst. See, chestnuts don't just magically appear on the ground. They grow in husks that are heavy, pointy and can seriously (I'm not kidding here) maim a person.


Not only are the trees dirty and slightly violent, they're also wearing us out.

I spent the last two days cleaning up after the trees. I've probably gotten about 40 pounds of chestnuts and cleared five lawn bags worth of husks. Since the weather's been nice so we've been sleeping with the windows open. And the trees - the thudding of the chestnut husks hitting the ground - has been keeping us up.

In case you're curious, the chestnuts are edible. We roasted some last year and none of us liked them. But apparently some people do - we can't give these things away fast enough.

Do you like fall? What are you most looking forward to about the season?

Posted by Chris at September 20, 2010 6:54 AM

Fall is my favorite time of the year. Still a little warm - but you can feel that cold creeping in. I'll wear shorts and a tank top as long as possible but with a sweater on in the morning.
I love the way the sunlight coming in the window in the morning is a little lower and dappled through the trees. Right now on the floor it's got that "sun shimmering on water" look to it.
I look forward to high school and college football games most of all, and I'm also enjoying the sound of the high school band below us practicing on the field in the evenings.
Fall is the hardest time of year to be inside because it's so beautiful.

Posted by: NancyJ at September 20, 2010 8:10 AM

I am also a big Fall lover and a big chestnut lover. Too bad we don't live closer!

Posted by: Maribeth at September 20, 2010 8:48 AM

"You'll love my nuts". (Slap-Chop reference) LOL

Fall is also my favorite time of year. Like NancyJ said, still a little warm enough to wear shorts, but a sweater or hoodie is nice too. Only thing I don't enjoy is that Fall makes my allergies act up with all the trees shedding pollen and whatnot. I suck it up though; that's what allergy meds are for!!

Posted by: Michelle at September 20, 2010 9:07 AM

Fall is my favorite season. Every year, I look forward to the fact that summer will no longer be kicking my ass.

And, uh, the leaves are pretty too, I guess.

Posted by: Fraulein N at September 20, 2010 9:07 AM

We have oak trees, and they do the same thing. Shed in the spring, drop acorns in the fall. Not so much fun, but the trees sure are beautiful when they're not giving people bruises.

I love every single little bit of fall (except for the part where it ends and ushers in winter).

Posted by: Kelly at September 20, 2010 10:02 AM

I'm one of the few who don't like fall. Sure, the changing colors are pretty but it's just too ominous and depressing. Everything is dying and the dreaded winter is coming. Spring is my favorite season. Everything is fresh, coming to life, full of promise.
I grew up on the East Coast but now I'm happly ensconced in Southern California. It's where I belong :)
If I were you, I'd hire a gardener to deal with the Chestnuts ;)

Posted by: laineydid at September 20, 2010 10:52 AM

My grandparents house from my childhood had 3 HUGE chestnut trees in the yard. We would gather them up, shell them and make necklaces....looking back I don;t know how we got needles through them! THen we would set them out for the squirrels.

Posted by: Lisa at September 20, 2010 11:34 AM

This fall, I've moved in with my grandparents, in a little area called "Maple Bay" - so I'm really looking forward to the turning of the leaves :)

Posted by: Heather at September 20, 2010 12:53 PM

Fall is my favorite season - the hot summer weather eases up, I can start wearing hoodies and jeans again, it's cookie baking weather, and most importantly MY BIRTHDAY.


Posted by: sarah at September 20, 2010 2:06 PM

we have 2 black walnut trees that drop baseball sized walnuts on our bedroom roof. all hours of the day, but especially when the wind blows at night. This starts in August or so and continues until Nov. so awesome. and we live right behind the firehouse with it's whistle. Just like living in london during the air raids. in the fall you run the risk of being beaned by a crazed squirrel with a fist sized nut. my kids are not fans. of the squirrels. the nuts are great for throwing at your sister.

Posted by: jeanne at September 20, 2010 2:19 PM

I feel a lot better about the leaves I have to rake!

Posted by: Heather at September 20, 2010 2:23 PM

Fall is absolutely my favorite season of the year. It FINALLY cools down (not yet - gotta wait 'til mid-October - it's still SUMMER here in Vegas - was 104 on my patio yesterday) and the weather is simply divine.

And - I love getting in the car and driving to Southern Utah to see fall colors.

Here, however, most of the trees don't lose their leaves until around December. And we certainly don't have chestnuts. However - we have "fall" all year long, as mesquite trees are on a much different cycle than most trees. It seems every month has me blowing something out of the rock desert landscaping.

Posted by: Mindy at September 20, 2010 2:45 PM

We have a horse chestnut tree in our yard, so I am very familiar withe sharp pointy husks & chestnuts everywhere. Horse chestnuts are toxic though, so there isn't a single perk to having this tree in our yard. If the city would allow us to cut it down, we would (and replace it with a tree that does not litter pointy objects everywhere).

I do love fall. It's my favourite season! I love the colour of the sky in the fall, I love the colours, I LOVE the splish splish sound that leaves make when you walk through them. I love it all. I really love that it's not too hot & not too cold. I can be comfortable outside in fall weather.

Posted by: Carmen at September 20, 2010 3:06 PM

We are dealing with our own little private hell, in our outdoor communal parking lot at our complex.

Our parking spot, which has my motorcycle parked transverse across the front of the spot right up against the fence, has been the only spot in the lot which suffers from the backyard neighbor's tree. I am not sure what kind of tree it is. We have been there for going on three years now, and this is the first time that this tree has produced what we have dubbed "ghetto cherries."

They sort of look like black cherries - round fruit that grows on these little stems. They have this huge seed/nut/pit in the middle, and frankly they are a little bitter (yes I tried one).

Anyway, they fall all over my motorcycle's cover, and splat when they hit the ground. I sweep them up every day, and promptly toss them back over the fence into the neighbor's yard - it's their G.D. tree, after all. After several months of this, my parking spot is now stained black as if we were pressing grapes for wine or something, and it stinks to high heaven. My poor bike has to just sit there and take it. :(

We feel your pain Chris!

Posted by: Mark V at September 20, 2010 3:43 PM

Your story awakened an obviously blacked out memory of the time we had a banner year of acorns. They were the size of the picture you posted of the chestnut. They would sound like missiles or boulders hitting the roof of the house! It was incredible!

Why don't you put up a sign for people to come and pick them up? let them do the work for you.

Posted by: Debbie at September 20, 2010 4:45 PM

fall is my favorite season. my birthday is in two days. we always take the kids to go watch the chapman swifts fly into the chapman school chimney at dusk on my birthday. i love going to sauvie island for pumpkin patches and farmer's markets. i love leaf peeping and corn mazes. and hot chocolate. and layers. i love it all!

the only thing i don't like are wet pantlegs. if i didn't have to worry about wet pant legs and/or frizzy hair from rain, i'd be completely happy :)

Posted by: kati at September 20, 2010 5:48 PM

There is trouble with the trees, huh Chris?

Since I finished school and moved to the unbearably hot D.C. area, fall has been my favorite season.

Posted by: Tracy at September 20, 2010 6:02 PM

This brings back memories. A few chestnut trees grew at the house I grew up in. You forgot to mention the smell in the spring too; I think it was spring.

Posted by: Darren at September 20, 2010 6:35 PM

We had a big ole Chestnut tree in our front yard when we first moved in...and then a girl fell out of it...and then it started denting expensive cars....we got ride of it....glad to be rid of the mini-porcupines.

Gotta say that it's the gorgeous colors I love in Fall...but this year we're having record rain falls so....meh...."life in the North".

Posted by: Lujza at September 21, 2010 12:17 AM

Oh! what I DON'T like about fall is the acorns from the tree across the street. They're in the road and every time someone drives by it sounds like someone is coming in my gravel driveway. I'm like Pavlov's dog: hear crunching, get up. Rinse and repeat about 2000 times before I figure it out.

Posted by: NancyJ at September 21, 2010 8:43 AM

Maybe you don't know but chesnuts are much appreciated in France. Of course, you can roast them, we even have people doing it in the city streets in the winter and selling them in paper bags. You can also make puree, boil them to eat with the Christmas roasted goose or turkey. But the best of all is "marrons glac├ęs", a famous luxury delicacy. In case you haven't heard of it, please try it (or in case it is unknown in the States, maybe I can start a business there...)

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