Friday, October 7, 2011

Buckeye madness

The EbyTribe has succumbed to buckeye madness. A few days ago some friends went nut collecting and talked of their kids' love of the buckeye. Because it's such a gorgeous piece of creation, I was inspired to do the same as an addition to our fall decorations so the kids & I headed out with friends to gather nuts of our own!

I knew nothing about the buckeye tree aside from its most lovely deep reddish brown nuts so I was inclined to read up.  Because you're itching to know, here's what I found out....

For identification purposes, the leaves are palmate with 5-7 leaflets.

It flowers in the spring & the subsequent fruit has a spiny casing which holds 1-3 nuts.
Here's a photo of a beautiful Ohio Buckeye.

And our most humble buckeye collection.

So can one eat buckeye nuts, you ask? No, according to most sources. They are poisonous to humans but squirrels enjoy their bounty. Native Americans used to eat buckeye nuts when acorns were scarce but they needed to be roasted, peeled, mashed & leached for hours to remove the tannic acid so the process was quite tedious. Traditionally they have been dried & made into jewelry, especially since they are believed to bring good luck. And some claim that carrying a buckeye in your pocket relieves the pain of rheumatism.

Native Americans also named the nut because of its resemblance to the eye of a buck deer. As my daughter pointed out, though, they didn't actually have the word "buckeye" in their language. Good point.

Now that we're familiar with these fantastic pieces of creation, on to our day.

When we arrived at our foraging location, the pickings were slim. Thankfully the autumn sun was warm on our backs so we enjoyed our time muddling through the red clover finding precious buckeye treasures. The kids climbed trees, made piles of nuts & complained about the tall grass.  After gathering more than our fair share, we had a conversation about the importance of leaving some food for the wildlife so we tossed a few back into the grass & headed out for a hike.

Along the path we came upon a fallen tree which occupied the kiddos for the rest of our time. 

A quick yet eventful foray into buckeye madness.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for buckeyes! They are such beautiful little pieces of nature, aren't they?