Thursday, October 09, 2008

mystery nut and first fall outing

On this past Sunday, Molly and I continued the quest for the perfect college. We went to look at Kutztown which is a mere hour and a half away. The campus is really breathtaking, and I decided that *I* would very much like to go there. Several people that I know through herbs claim Kutztown as their alma mater, and the work they do in preserving the PA Dutch heritage is substantial as well.
Right away I began noticing the plantings, landscaping, and diverse varieties used. There were hundreds of species located on the grounds! You can imagine how exciting that was for me! We rounded a corner and found a greenhouse. Along side the greenhouse was a sort of abandoned (?) wild place full of tomato plants, beans, corn, and squash. I loved it. Really, inside I was thinking and trying to telepathically send to Molly, "go here! this is awesome!". We'll see.
This plant forms a hedge near the building with the greenhouse. The hedge was slightly higher than 6' and wound up to the next building. The leaves remind me of chesnut leaves, but the nut/fruit (about 2" in diameter) is shaped differently. The outer coating is very much like the black walnut, but black walnuts don't have that drooping shape away from the stem. I'm mystified. Anyone know what it is? Make an old woman happy and write in.As we set off for home, we intentionally got lost on one of the country roads surrounding the college, first checking out the festival grounds where the folk festival is held, and the heritage homestead (I forget what it is called at the moment) with the one room schoolhouse, house, barn, etc. Within a mile of the school, we found ourselves on a winding 1.5 lane blacktop road with a wide and shallow creek running next to the road. It followed us for miles, taunting us with nowhere to pull over. Finally we found a place.
As we drove along, the canopy overhead showed us that autumn is indeed on the way. Yellow leaves danced across the road ahead of us, corn fields are dry and skeletal, and most fields have been mowed, tilled, or in some way tucked in for winter. As we rounded a curve, I caught a glimpse of my old friends, the wild turkeys, out of the corner of my eye. They had a third, but she scurried into the brush. Camera shy, you know. I am very superstitious about wild turkeys. Can't help it. If you know me or have been reading along, you probably know that wild turkeys (really wild, not the ones we have here, apparently - lol) seem to show up just before a big change of some kind comes up. Usually it is something wonderful. The first time it was to tell me Molly was on the way. The next time I saw them was on the way to look at our shop with a realtor. Later, a momma and baby turkey told me it was time to get the heck out of Virginia, and a couple of years later I saw one a few days before meeting the man who has been in my life for the last 6 years. There weren't any other turkey sightings. That was it. So now I just have to wait and see!

Aren't they beautiful?


Anonymous said...

Are you certain that it is a nut? It looks a little like a quince to me. Just a thought. Gill.

Tina Sams said...

Nope - not a quince, although I can see that shape there. We had a quince tree at our old house, and the leaves looked a lot like apple, as did the tree itself. The fruit was more like a giant, fuzzy pear.

This had such a firm surface, like the coating of a black walnut husk.

Clara said...

Looks like a little gourd of some sort? Wonder what you could use it for?

Lynn DeVries said...

from the shape of the leaves, it looks very much like horse chestnut. it has some medicinal uses, but must be used with caution...

you can find out more about it at Medicinal Herb Info, if you are interested.

Tina Sams said...

Yes - I agree that the leaves look like a horse chestnut, but they grow in husks that are bristly... not as bristly as regular chestnuts, but still bristly.

Betty said...

Tina, I think that is a butternut. Sometimes called a white walnut.


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