Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tough Nut to Crack

The local squirrels have been up to their usual... happily hopping around the backyard, taunting the dog because he can't get to them no matter how much he flings his little terrier body at the french doors in a bid to catch his sworn enemy.  Since we're surrounded by greenery, I see them in the front drive, running along the top of the fence, scurrying through the trees and even venturing onto the back patio for a sip from the old stone fountain.  

Right now we're in the middle of chestnut harvest season and it's keeping the squirrels busy.  We don't have a chestnut tree in our yard, but obviously there is one somewhere near the house because I keep finding the remains of chestnut burrs on the ground.  Plus I've seen a few of the furry little buggers carefully breaking into them since they're covered in a thorny mass that resembles short green porcupine quills.  This isn't squirrel fast food like acorns. They have to stop and really work around the sharp pointies to break into it without impaling their little squirrel hands.  

The last time I saw chestnuts in "the wild" versus roasted and preserved in a Williams-Sonoma jar was way back when we were living in the Boston area from 1993-96.  On my walk to work at Harvard, there were a couple chestnut trees on campus and I stopped on several occasions to gather some off the ground beneath the branches.  They were a beautiful shade of brown and I used them for fall decor since I had no experience with cooking/eating them.  

Maybe I'll chance upon some roasted chestnuts at a Christmas fayre or market and give them a try.  The squirrels seem to think they're quite tasty.

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