Seasonal observations of an ever changing coastal landscape 
by Bold Bluff host Tamar Griggs 

November Walnuts

Date: 12/11/02
Time: 9:54:01 AM
Remote Name:


We have been blessed with a most spectacular autumn! Foggy mornings with a chill in the air and spider webs dripping thousands of beads of dew while the Great Blue Heron stalks prey in the cove, silhouetted against the gray sea and sky. Sunny afternoons with liquid blue skies and shimmering ocean punctuated by Raven's calls and the golden copper maple leaves fluttering softly to the ground. Last week we harvested 3,200 walnuts from the ground in one day!

The raccoons love this tree: they have a den nearby in the bamboo bushes and they make a neat, narrow path through the tall grass right to the tree. Every year we put an electric fence around this giving tree, but last week the coons still had free range of the feast as we hadn't connected the battery. Evidence of their gorging was everywhere: piles of cracked nut shells lay scattered around the giant trunk of this venerable tree.

So, even SHARING the nuts with the raccoons, we gathered enough nuts to feed an entire neighbourhood for one year! My house, the log lodge, is full of the nuts laying on the floor to dry before the pot belly stove. If you ever eat organic walnuts gathered by hand from a small farm, each nut is a labour of love! The thick green outer shell cracks open on the tree, splits and the nut falls with a plunk to the earth. You bend over and pick up each nut by hand, counting to give yourself something fun to do. It is a little like Easter Egg Hunting in the bush! The faint scent of iodine fills the air and your fingernails turn BLACK - a black impossible to remove until weeks go by. You dunk the nuts in a bucket of water with a mild solution of bleach to kill the mould, and scrub each nut by hand, being sure to get the dirt out of the bumpy crevices of the brown shell. Then you spread them out to dry all over the floor on newspaper or sheets. Here they stay for several days, being constantly turned by hand, before you

There is scarcely room in your house for the bounty. And are they ever tasty! So different from the walnuts that you buy in the SuperMarket! We also have been harvesting apples and pears and drying them for the winter. Our dried pears are the best thing I have ever eaten! You should come here and try one! In fact, if you've had the patience to read all this, and if you book a time here, just let me know that you want to try our dried apples or pears and I'll gladly give you some! Cheers! Tamar

       Last changed: January 26, 2012