I hope you’ve been as lucky as Lincoln has been in storing up food for his Thanksgiving feast. He has a message for you.
Hello, my friends and family brood,
I hope you’re keeping well,
Have you been saving up your food,
So supper will be swell?
We all work hard to make ends meet,
And put some food aside,
Then once a year we meet and greet,
Make happy our inside.
And as we sit around the feast,
We’re thankful for so much,
We’ve shared with those who have the least,
And lend a loving touch.
Our troubles may be huge this year,
But if each person shares,
We’ll face the future without fear,
And live with fewer cares.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American
friends and family.
I took this picture from my back (second storey) deck to show how long the branches of the fir trees have become. They almost reach the house now. The philadelphus (mock orange), on the right, has also grown up high and dense.
Our friend offered to take down some of the big lower branches. I’ve blurred his face for his privacy. He did a great job of taking those huge limbs off, but see the photo below. Dickie, the squirrel, was extremely upset.
He’s on top of the root of one of the fir trees, and we had to shoo him away so he wouldn’t get hurt.
Some of the branches that came down are pictured above, but a couple more huge ones joined them after I took this picture. Dickie came back to check on the progress and ended up hiding under the big ground-level canopy of branches.
Something crazy’s going on,
Men with noisy saws,
Gone, our quiet neighbourhood,
Must be some big cause.
One guy said, “They’re way too long,
Blocking out the light.”
Then the chain saw started up,
Gave me such a fright.
Horrible, the noise they made,
Chewing through the wood,
Branches crashing all around,
Near to where I stood.
Like flash I dashed away,
Running ’round the yard,
Now my skyway highway’s gone,
Travel will be hard.
If I’m not already a nut job, then after doing this nut job, I will be one.
I had thought there were no hazelnuts on the trees this year but I was wrong. They were a bit late to develop, but they were quite prolific. When I saw that the raccoons and the squirrels were harvesting them, day (squirrels) and night (raccoons), I thought I’d better get in on the action. Looks like a little black cocker is also wanting to get in on the action.
I let the nuts sit out in the sun to dry out for a couple of weeks, and then, as the nights grew cooler I had to do something with the nuts or watch them go moldy. It’s not cold enough to make a fire in the woodstove so hanging the nuts in burlap bags by the fire was not an option.
I decided to crack them and put the nutmeat in ziplocs and freeze them. This way I can take out what I need to use for baking through the winter.
I tried them out in a batch of banana/blueberry/hazelnut muffins. Turned out quite good.
“Folks, I’ve been working really hard from first light to last, collecting hazelnuts and hiding them for later. I hope you won’t mind if I take time to have a snack. Gotta keep up my strength.”
“Watch me in this video. See how fast I twirl this hazelnut around so I can eat it evenly on all sides. Kind of the way Anneli eats an ice cream cone, except she can’t go as fast as I can. Also, she doesn’t use her teeth, but I need to use mine to cut away the nutshell when it gets in the way.
And by the way, Anneli says to say she’s sorry she fumbled the camera partway through. Doesn’t show me at my best, but she tries.”
It turns out that the hazelnut trees in my front yard had some nuts on them after all this year, although many fruit trees were nearly empty.
Under cover of darkness, the raccoons visit regularly, filling their boots with all they can eat. I’ve tried to lighten the photos so we can see the raccoons, but you may have to use your imagination a fair bit. The spot under the tree on the left is where the flashlight found the raccoons.
They get right up into the trees and knock down what they can.
Then they crack the nuts open with their sharp teeth. I find the shells in the morning. They don’t bother to clean up after themselves.
Over the next few days I frantically pick as many hazelnuts as I can. There is still plenty for the raccoons. Today, two squirrels had a chattering spat in one of the nut trees just six feet away from me – probably telling me to scram.
“WHA-A-A-T?” says Dickie (Lincoln’s grandson). “Do you see what they’re doing? Get away from my hazelnuts! First the raccoons, and now the people!”
I’ve been robbed, I’m so upset.
All those nuts I’ve yet to get.
First those robbers with their masks,
Dedicated to their tasks.
Climbing up, they shake it all,
Causing all those nuts to fall.
Daylight comes, they run and hide,
Leaving shell bits far and wide.
Now it’s my turn, so I think,
But I can’t so much as blink
And the humans start to pick
Filling boxes quick, quick, quick.
Seems I have to pour on steam,
Get a buddy, make a team,
We can find enough for all,
Long as we work hard this fall.
This is perfect. Close to my woodshed where I can sleep out of the wind and rain. Old stack of landscape ties nearby for my root cellar and temporary stash….
Fall is in the air, and I have to fill the larder. I have hazelnut trees right here in the yard, but what I’m looking forward to is the brand new hazelnut tree across the street with sweet young hazelnuts this year. They’re smaller than the ones here, but they should be tasty.
Decisions, decisions. What to do? Well, I might just have to go for both.
First a little taste test. I stashed these young nuts here this morning, but after all that running back and forth and climbing the tree, I’ve worked up quite an appetite.
Yup! They’re good. Now to stash them under the landscape ties until I have time to bury the nuts here and there for my winter snacks.
But wait! I’d better check and make sure no one sees where I’m putting the nuts temporarily.
Okay, I think it’s safe enough. It’s only that kooky old lady with her camera. She’s harmless.
It’s so hard to gather nuts,
Every day is precious.
Later I can fill my guts,
With a snack delicious.
Sleet and cold may coat the ground,
Hard times lie ahead,
I will eat what I have found,
Hazelnuts in bed.
All the work will be worthwhile,
Though I’m tired today,
When it’s cold I’ll live in style,
I’ll just eat and play.
It has been so hot that I thought the squirrels would appreciate having some water handy. An old dog dish works fine to hold water.
Dickie, son of Lincoln, spies it, and wonders what to do about it. He decides it must be a swimming pool and goes to put on his bathing suit.
What a gorgeous swimming pool,
Perfect in this heat,
Skinny dipping is the rule,
But I might just cheat.
Are you ready for my suit?
Now I’m feeling silly,
Don’t you laugh and shout and hoot,
Just because it’s frilly.
“Nah!” says Dickie. He’s in doubt,
“Rather have a snack,
Maybe when no one’s about
I will sneak right back.”
“Oh, but look what goes below,
Grizzled and so hairy.
He’s much bigger, that I know,
So I must be wary.”
Maybe next time I will show you what Dickie saw. Meanwhile, why don’t you join him for lunch? Turn on your sound and tell me if you think he’s smacking his lips as he chews with his mouth open.
Usually, animals guard their food from the competition, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen one sitting on it.
Sometimes finding food is hard,
Instinct tells you to stand guard,
But when there’s no room to stand,
Sit down, let your big butt land.
No one else can get your food,
You don’t care if it seems rude,
Once you only stood and hovered,
Now you’ve really got it covered.
Lately, the squirrels have been noisier when they get fed. I don’t know what they’re saying to each other, but it seems as if they can’t stop talking. Didn’t their mother teach them not to talk with their mouth full? Be sure to have the sound on so you can hear their conversation.
It’s a funny spring this year,
Filberts, there are none, I hear.
Even fir cones haven’t grown,
Unlike other years I’ve known.