It’s a peculiar year for a walnut hunter.
Normally now, in mid-October, the ground would be thick with freshly released clean-looking nuts–asking to be collected. After rainfall is an especially good time–the raindrops knocking the nuts out of the tree.
It’s a pleasing pastime–with rich pickin’s!
Not this year.
There’s no lack of walnuts but they are falling late–often after the leaves, giving the trees a rather spooky look.
When they fall the nuts are staying untidily in their casings.
I come home from walnuting with tell-tale fingers–stained brown from trying to prise out the nuts.
A give-away–if I were doing something wrong.
This reminds me of a mulberry tree in Delphi, Greece in 1961!
The summer of that year my school friend Chris Fordyce and I were hitching round Europe for nine weeks before going to university.
We’d been dropped on a corner just outside the then unspoilt town (the youth hostel was half built!)–under the shade of a mulberry tree laden with berries–ripe for the picking. We were hungry and given the setting–decided it was a gift from Apollo.
We reached up to feast on this glorious fruit but soon realised as the mulberry juice ran over our outstretched fingers and up our arms, staining them red, that if challenged by the owner of the tree we would find it impossible to deny the self-evident truth–that we’d been stealing his fruit.
Fast forward to the present and local wisdom has the lack of rain’s to blame for this unusual walnut year.
Not enough moisture rising in the tree to pop open the casing cleanly and push the nuts out for me to scoop up gratefully.
It’s taking the fun out of it.
None the less–I shouldn’t be complaining!