This, and a clutch of its buddies, dropped onto the road as I cycled to work this morning. Yesterday, the police held a ticketing party on cyclists (mostly, for not having proper bells), so first I looked left then I looked right, then came to a full stop with the pad of my foot planted on the ground, then instead of U-turning and doubling back, I dismounted and walked my bike back along the sidewalk to the spot where these green chestnuts landed.
I propped my bicycle against my thigh, careful not to flash commuters while I bent over the cross-bar to fetch the nuts from the street. Heh. Man, it was great typing that sentence. Nuts gingerly collected, I tucked them in my purse next to a raspberry muffin, flask of coffee, wallet, sunglasses case, paperback, and tube of sunblock. Apparently, unripe chestnuts are gooey, slightly stinky, and often concealing bird poop. Stow-away bird poop. When I reached my office and laid out the more ordinary morning things on my desk (coffee and muffin, lunch in plastic containers, and swapped sunglasses for eyeglasses in the small leather case), I discovered a second reason why picking up weird plants off the road is not the best plan. The first being the aforementioned goo, which had fastened road dirt, random pollen puffs, some paper towel, and the offending bird crap to my fingers.
Chestnuts carefully arranged on my desk so the leaves wouldn’t wither and the nuts wouldn’t bruise, I got on with my breakfast and my morning and my work day, fielding questions about what was up with the stuff on the stack of copy boxes. They’re green chestnuts, of course. Which came from the park, of course. Which I biked through this morning and stopped to watch the ladies doing qui gong, of course. And, I intend to take the nuts home and photograph them properly. Of course. It’s important to learn things about plants, I think, especially surprising plants.
Another surprising thing I learned about a plant today:
This one, carefully cultivated in my garden from a cutting from my mom’s garden, is delicious. So delicious that my cat, who has a strict policy on not being photographed, sat there chowing down while I shot her like a fashion model, camera going ka-zee ka-zee ka-zee k-zee until I got tired of taking pictures and simply went away. It’s not news that she enjoys this particular plant. One side has been grazed till its leaves are barely bumps on the stalk.
But, what I didn’t know till this evening, is that devouring this thing explains the full water dish. It was so succulent and green, water dribbled from the cat’s chin whiskers while she chomped. Who knew?! If you’re ever lost in the desert, I suppose the thing to do is wish for a plant native to plant hardiness zone 6A (southern Ontario), and its startling water content.