Forest is relaxed, happy and sleeping pretty well again. But I cannot seem to recover from this latest six week bout of sleep deprivation. I think it's going to take a while.
Anyway, I don't want to focus on that for now! With the equinox yesterday Autumn has truly arrived and that is something to be happy about - I love this season! March still has a memory of summer days past, but the energy of autumn is here, no doubt about it. Even the hot days lack the intensity of summer heat, and we are already firing up the wood stove in the early morning chill. As we walk around near home I am enjoying the first whiffs of wood smoke from neighbouring chimneys. The funghi are beginning to shoot up around the property. I wish I knew more about the edible mushrooms - I know that a lot of them can be eaten but I just don't have the expertise - and it seems to be a lost art in Australia as there are very few people to learn this from.
But what we are harvesting right now are our beautiful chestnuts. Finally, two of the trees have started revealing large, gleaming, brown nuts. In the last three days I have collected hundreds of these nuts from beneath the shade of the trees. Each day brings a new bounty, and as I am foraging around for the nuts there is a steady bumpity-bump around me as the heavy chestnut shells continue to fall. During this difficult time in my life these little moments are gold - connecting me with our Mother Earth, and the simple joy of food direct from nature.
It is a bit if a spiky business this chestnut harvest, and I always get a couple of spines stuck in no matter how careful I am. So little Forest is in his not often utilised stroller, looking from a distance. He doesn't seem to mind as he finds my work fascinating to watch. I have observed this from him with the blueberry and blackberry harvest. For a little boy who never usually sits still - he takes a great and studied interest in the goings on of food collection. I feel that his sense of rightness is heightened when learning in this way. And so he sits and watches Mama squirreling away under the beautiful trees and coming over frequently to show off her treasures.
I am a little overwhelmed now with what to do with all these nuts! Of course, we will roast them daily and have lovely, warm, fresh chestnuts as a delicious snack. But they don't last very long fresh as they have such a high water content, so I need to find preserving ideas. Basically cooking, pureeing and freezing them to be used in soups and nut loaves is probably the best option. This prospect is a little daunting as I recall some years ago my poor bleeding hands after shelling chestnuts for hours! This was after cooking for a long time - the skins were still hard to get off. I must do some research to find a better way.
This is a final, random photo of the most delightful little moth that Forest spotted while we were harvesting nuts today. It is just so unusual and pretty that I think it deserves a spot in today's post!