7 Oct 2014, 8:48pm
living intentionally Suffolk:


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  • the season of mellow fruitfulness is on us


    and it’s time to look at the non-financial investments. In this case, indeed, the non-financial investments of the local Squire, the Fonnereaus. Not only did they build this gaff

    Christchurch Mansion

    Christchurch Mansion

    but they planted some chestnut trees, and the chestnut harvest is awesome this Autumn. The recent winds have brought down a fine crop, and it’s before the weekend when World + Dog will have got to these. The trick is to win your chestnut harvest from the spiky hulls

    Herein dwells a fine nut

    Herein dwells a fine nut

    Sweet chestnut

    Sweet chestnut

    with the minimum of cursing.

    a fine  nut harvest

    a fine nut harvest

    and win a fine harvest of fresh, sweet chestnut from veterans like this tree

    one of the chestnut trees

    one of the chestnut trees


    Now there may be some of you reading this that think to yourselves

    goddamnit I earn £200,000 p.a which boils down to £125 an hour and I can get loose chestnuts from Tesco delivered to me for £7/kg so all round so WTF? Why would I be pissing about scavenging nuts in the park

    And I would respect your opinions. But I would venture you’re missing out of some little piece of being human as you sit behind your  screens oblivious to the passage of the seasons. Being a flâneur is one of the good things about owning my own time and if I want to go pick nuts then I damn well can 😉 It’s the sheer optionality of it that adds to the sweetness. As summed up delightfully by The Escape Artist – the Ermine tips his hat and welcomes yet another soul across the event horizon of FI.

    Ahh, lovely. I enjoy the process you’re describing here. And I greatly enjoy the passing of the seasons. I wish I had chestnuts to harvest myself.

    When people judge their hourly wage based on what they earn during the 9-5 it always seems a little odd. Surely your time outside of work is worth a lot more? – Also spending your time relaxing in the outdoors surely is worth more than £150 per hour! Just enjoy the freedom and screw all the haters, they will hopefully realise before too long what is really worthwhile.

    We saw a mother and child out picking up walnuts a few autumns ago. That’s all very well, but we find that squirrels bring us walnuts and bury them in our pots. Whoever owns the walnut tree is presumably getting our hazelnuts in return.

    Sounds like a great way to spend a few hours to me…

    The farmer next door usually lets us strip her blackberries and raspberries in exchange for a few pots of the jam, and we’ve now fruiting raspberries of our own.

    We’ve also 25 edible chestnut trees in our ‘new’ hedgerow, all of which are now five years old having being bought and planted as third-year saplings, but opinions seem to be divided as to if and when hedgerow chestnut trees might bear any fruit – some references say up to 20 years !

    However, we did have a slack handful of hazelnuts this year from the same young hedge.

    Like it. This post prompted me to go outdoors with my 8 year old, gather some free bounty and then teach both my sons the ancient martial art of conker fighting.

    @Mrs frugalwoods – aybe no chestnuts, but maybe opportunities elsewhere in the season of plenty!

    @Dom I totally agree! I fear I myself may have been that punk in an earlier life, though I vastly inflated the salary for dramatic effect 😉

    @dearime I envy them – I have coveted the walnuts from a tree near work for many years but the skwerls always beat me to it before the nuts were ready!

    @DM I didn’t realise you could run sweet chestnuts in a hedgerow! I’ve added a pic of the tree trunk of one of the ones I raided – it’s huge. We have planted some in our forest garden – these guys seem to indicate the 20 years is for trees grown from nuts so hopefully grafted ones will fruit earlier!

    @T.E.A. – this year seems to have been great for conkers too – hours of fun! In fact all round it has been a win for plants and some of our birds seem to have had multiple broods

    If you don’t mind a couple of links, the first describes our new hedgerow composition and the second shows the growth as at July this summer…




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