Friday, December 16, 2016

Squirreling away nuts

Walnuts and squirrels are hotly debated topics of conversation in the country. Any advice on how to keep the two apart is gratefully received.

A few years ago we planted two walnut trees but still barely get to enjoy a single nut.

The trees flower and fruit abundantly but I have yet to outwit the squirrels. I could snatch the nuts early on, while they are still green, and pickle them. But what I really want, is the satisfaction of cracking fully fledged, deliciously milky nuts out of their lumpy shells.

This year I tied little net bags around as many nuts as I could reach. But the fluffy tailed thieves merely used the twine as dental floss in preparation for some serious gnawing.

Last year we had one nut, this year I was chuffed to salvage twenty.
By constructing an impassable metal platform under the lower branches of his tree my neighbour, with a competitive glint in his eye, tells me he harvested four hundred and thirty. (Gardeners love to count, I know a man who keeps a tally when deadheading his dahlias!)

Fortunately I can buy as many walnuts as I want for Christmas from Geoffrey who sells his produce at the local farmer’s market. His three trees are forty years old and crop handsomely.

When I ask him about squirrels he simply smiles and says “shoot 'em”.

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