Con helping fill a basket with hazelnuts
The other day a friend invited us to come glean in her hazelnut orchard, about 20 miles south of town. She said their harvesting equipment had broken down after its first pass through the orchard, and for whatever reason, they haven't been able to go through again. So Ben, Jenny and the kids and I went out this morning and searched through the fallen leaves for nuts. And there were lots. Actually, it was rather shocking to see clusters of nuts in the husk that were in one piece, since all we ever get from the hazelnut tree at the back of the yard is treacherously sharp, broken nut litter covering the ground, which is what the squirrels toss down when they raid the tree every year. But these were beautiful, big nuts and a good time was had by all.
I never really liked hazelnuts before I moved to Oregon, but they're native here, and fresh ones are really good. Also, the X-philes among you may remember a hazelnut orchard as essentially a character in the Season 5 episode Schizogeny.
Below, you can see how Miss Muffin spent her time--picking up leaves, transferring nuts from one basket to another... and sampling the local soil. For some reason, she finds dirt tasty.
Now I'll be spreading the nuts out in cardboard box lids on the floor in front of the hearth, where they can dry. Then shelling them will make for pleasant work while sitting in front of a winter fire.