Tag Archives: Chestnuts

The chestnuts are a falling

I wouldn’t claim this for other areas of my life, but when it comes to our modest patch, I’m starting to figure out what’s meant to happen when. So driving up to Icy Creek yesterday I had a $20 bet with self that, this being the first day of April, and April being chestnut month, there would be chestnuts on the ground when I arrived.

Well guess what, I won. And the first to drop – big ones they were – come from the De Coppi and Purton’s Pride trees in our orchard paddock, one of the only places on our patch where wild deer can’t ravage any branch within two metres of the ground.

We had some tonight on home-made pizza which raddichio (currently starring in the vegie patch) and gorgonzola, and by the time Easter’s over we hope to have put the chestnuts into a rissotto, a soup, and a chicken dish – in other words, anywhere we can until we get sick of them. Did I mention roasting them in the fire?

So summer’s over, but we strung it out a bit with a pie made for our friends Sally and Jonathan, who had a harvest dinner last weekend. There’s a pic of the pie on Sally’s excellent new blog A Season of Sunday’s  (as well as a snap featuring some of our chestnuts).  

I reckon the pie might be the first one in the whole world to combine poached quince, jostaberries, black currants and wild blackberries baked in chocolate pastry. Happy to be proved wrong as always, so just let me know.

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Quince buds – an early sign of spring

It’s still the first half of August, and Icy Creek’s elevated enough to experience something approximating a period of winter dormancy. But today there were signs of spring, and not just the precocious daffodils and the exhuberant weeds. The budswell on our quince trees suggests that those awesome white/pink flowers might be about to unravel.

It must be spring - almost

It must be spring - almost

Also planted ten chesnut trees today  – an air of mystery surrounds the identity of the varietal, but I’m betting that they’re called Bouche de Betizac. I’m tagging the name, ever so hopefully, in case anybody else has heard of them.

Also planted this weekend, some Alinta strawberries, thornless blackberries (no, they’re not digital devices), and a couple of marionberry plants to boot.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and that’s partly because of the aforementioned dormancy (which I enjoy) and also because of a new publication a few of us have set up at La Trobe University called upstart – it’s an online magazine which is specifically designed to publish student and staff work, and to become a resource for emerging journalists. Our twitter address is http://twitter/upstartmagazine

Train your Labrador to harvest chestnuts

 

And then please tell me what I can do to train mine. 

So where are all the chestnuts?

So where are all the chestnuts?

Labradors are legendary for lots of things, including various forms of human assistance, and, increasingly, truffle hunting. But when it comes to chestnuts, it seems that Moose and Elka could deal with their very own guidance program. I’m sure that it’s not that they don’t want to help. It’s just that the enormity of the task of prising open all those prickly chestnut burrs seems so utterly ridiculous. Maybe they have a point. Something to sleep on.

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A good time to be a certified nutter

  

Landed safely, now straight into the fire

Landed safely, now straight into the fire

As a paid up member of Chestnuts Australia, it is with considerable excitement that I got up to the farm today to find that the cockatoos hadn’t got to all of the nuts, and that the chestnuts from the first planting five years ago and bigger and about 100 times more plentiful than they were last year. There’s plenty of saffron milkcap mushrooms too. And a thunderstorm. Autumn is so much better than summer.

First chestnuts of the season

The first chestnuts of 2009

The first chestnuts of 2009

Well I have to admit it was wishful thinking. After all the heat of summer and then a hugely welcome wet spell earlier in the month, we daytripped to the farm just to make sure that the birds wouldn’t be the only ones to devour the season’s first bounty. As it turns out, after trudging around for an hour all so, all we got you can see above. The food mile police will no doubt punish us. But I guess it’s good to know; no matter how fast the climate is changing, chestnuts don’t fall to the ground until April. Which means we’ll be back up there next Saturday.