Walnut harvesting

They always beat me to it. Pine marten? Doormice?  Nicely munched holes in my walnuts.

mulch actionEvery year it’s the same. I see some walnuts down on the path and say ‘I really must pick those up before the critters get them.’  They aren’t ready until they drop, but the trick is to pick them up before they are picked over by wildlife.

And this year I have done better than my normal record. Not completely forgotten, but down on the list below break the lawn mower and blunt the chipper blades so much the machine doesn’t work.

Oh yes, it has been a Murphy’s Day. Every piece of machinery I seem to touch breaks.

Here is the action shot of the chipper stuck mid stick.

And here is a shot of the lovely meadow on the third terrace down from the house.

meadow before

From this distance it looks all dreamy and whispy grass and autumnal gentleness.

Hah. It’s all sneaky brambles and nasty self sown broom plants and blackthorn poised to invade.

I wanted a good stroll behind a loud machine, so I set off after lunch.  This was to distract me from the fact I have used the chipper so much the blades are blunt beyond function.

I had barely an hour’s communion with my mighty mower before I went over one blackthorn plant too many and the whole undercarriage came away.  A very long coiled spring has come loose. And I know it belongs to the mower because most of the random wire I run over is straight. walnut detail

So I sat there trying not to have a lower lip quiver moment and pulled out the offending parts.  Yep, I can’t fix this one. So with no power, I had to push and haul the now heavy machine all the way back up to the house.

That was warming work.

Chastened and a little hot and bothered, I thought it safest to eschew the machines and just spend the rest of the day picking up nuts and raking leaves.

Calming. Soothing. And I have quite a haul. Not a Mt Kookootonga haul of nuts, but three trays worth.

walnut verticalThere are only two really productive trees on this farm; and they are mere teenagers. The third one over at the east garden has only produced one nut in the past twenty five years.

The main thing I have to look out for is the fast germination of fallen nuts on well mulched ground.

walnut seedlingThey are tough buggers to uproot. (Sorry, thinking about Kookootonga walnuts made me channel some of Uncle Bill’s fruity language.)

I found a few hiding in the walnut bank under the cornus, and one well established across the path in among the hornbeams.

If they are less than a foot tall I can get them out without swearing. And believe me after the day I have had, there was more than enough cussing on this mountain top.

I will leave you with the soothing shot of the lovely cornus midwinter fire backlit by the autumn light.  If you were thinking of planting any cornus for their colourful stems in winter, you can’t beat it.

cornus midwinterfire