MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Each week, some of our best Good Question emails come from kids.

Let’s start in Coon Rapids.

Jane Hammes, a second-grader at Hoover Elementary School, asked on behalf of her class: “We want to know why barns are red?”

Back in the day, farmers didn’t have access to paint. They sealed their barns with linseed oil, which comes from the flax plant. And it’s orange-colored.

A lot of farmers added ferrous oxide to the oil. That’s rust. Rust killed fungus and moss and was a good sealant.

When paint became available, red was one of the cheapest colors. Farmers kept it red because of tradition. And that continues today.

Here’s a question from 7-year-old Eliza Hanson of Lakeland: Is a coconut a fruit or a nut?

Great question, Eliza. We asked a nutrition professor from the U of M, who told us a coconut is a fruit.

It is controversial, because nuts are technically classified as a fruit. A nut has one seed, so does a coconut.

But, technically, it’s a drupe — a kind of fruit that has a several layers, including a fleshy outer layer.

Peaches, Nectarines, mangoes and coconuts are all drupes.

Ten-year-old Bobby Wiesner, of Minneapolis, emailed in to ask a great question about our canine friends: “Do dogs have tears like humans do?”

The answer is no. Dogs do get liquid in their eyes, but vets wouldn’t call those tears.

Dog tear ducts work in reverse; they drain the fluid that keeps the eyes moist back into the dog’s nose and throat. So if you see a dog’s tears, it means the tear duct is blocked.


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