Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Harvest time.

We're gearing up for the first nut harvest of the year.

I've mentioned it somewhere before, but we have some trees that drop their nuts (a phrase that causes much amusement for the teenagers in the family), and some that jealously hold onto them.

In addition, some trees are harvested around July, and some around October or November.

As far as I can make out, we have 4 trees ready to harvest & they're all droppers.

Oh, and they are biannual apparently, they have high & low years. This is a low year & so we're not expecting a huge crop. Which is fine, since we're new at this.

Funny, we've alerted the family & friends, and suddenly everyone is busy. "WTF? SInce when are you having surgery this weekend? Knee replacement? That shouldn't stop you!"

But what will happen is:

Large drop mats will be laid around the base of the tree (one tree at a time since it seems, nuts from different trees should not be mixed up). (And I digress at this stage to mention something that has just occurred to me - I have left the one & only orchard ladder that we owned at a property that was recently sold. Bugger.), then we send child labour up into the branches to bring down all the nuts which have not yet dropped.

Then, someone will drive (dodgy electric ignition allowing) a mower with a trailer attached to it into the orchard. We will fill the trailer with nuts, and then we will convey them to the dehusking machine.

There may be variations on that last step, if there are not enough nuts to warrant a trailer, child labour will carry the nuts in buckets to the dehusker.

The dehusker is a noisy & dirty machine, which looks like it was put together by a one armed chimpanzee with a mechanno set, but it does work.

The nuts, will then be dried in ovens for a couple of hours at a very low heat, bagged in mesh onion bags, and hung out to dry. I have no idea how long they need to hang after that.

Then we start on another tree & repeat.

Probably won't get to it this weekend (because I probably won't have them by then), but I'll be installing at some stage, a Gnome Village, probably in the orchard, but maybe not... something to surprise & delight any younger visitors we have.

Not that I encourage young visitors, but sometimes they do sneak past the hounds.