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.
Ooh! Look what I found! Hee, hee. I knew I had some good ones stashed from last year.
Now to get into it without breaking a tooth.
Here’s the best part.
Bit stale … yup … that’s a last year’s for sure. “Best before” date’s been and gone.
Urrrrp! Hmm … starting to get a bit of a tummy ache.
Oh, what the heck. Might as well finish it.
One more bite. C’mon, Lincoln. You can do it.
Groan … anybody got any Gaviscon? Tums?
I’m nuts about nuts,
But they get to my guts,
And then I don’t feel so good.
With trees everywhere,
We can easily share,
There’s lots in my neighbourhood.
I eat the nutmeat,
It’s the tastiest treat,
But eating too much is not nice.
So high on my list,
Nuts are hard to resist,
See, even a squirrel has his vice.
Writers, please visit my other blog for “no pressure” writing tips.
I was slow getting out there to pick up the hazelnuts that the wind knocked down. The rain might have had something to do with my laziness.
“Anyway,” I reasoned, “the first ones to fall are the bad ones or the empty shells. I’ll wait a day or two.”
A thief in the night cleaned me out.
Today, in broad daylight, my suspicions were confirmed.
“LINCOLN THE DELINQUENT WAS BACK!”
See how sneakily he hustled to hide behind the nut tree when he heard the click of my camera?
But after a while, he felt safe enough to come out into the open and brazenly eat one of the hundreds of hazelnuts he had stolen.
Another click of my faraway camera and he scurried over to hide behind a low-hanging branch of the hazelnut tree.
“She can’t see me here,” he said to himself. “She’ll never guess how many I already have tucked away. Hee hee. But to show some goodwill, I left her a bunch.”
“I know, Lincoln. Thanks for nothing. Those were all the rotten ones!”