I watched a gaggle of eight or extra – they had been transferring too rapidly for me to depend – as they systematically stripped the massive walnut timber exterior the Ramsey Street Well being Clinic, in St Ives, leaving the bottom carpeted in inexperienced husks.
However these pirates don’t have a map as they rush off to bury their treasure. They go for amount and blanket protection. This 12 months autumn has given them a profusion of nuts – and, on account of their over-catering, there could also be forests of walnut timber within the gardens of St Ives subsequent spring.
Though it’s usually a problem to reap any walnuts and hazelnuts forward of the squirrels there’s a lot extra fruits and berries from the hedgerows that we are able to share. Luscious blackberries remodel an every-day apple pie or make glistening jam or jelly. Elderberries make wealthy syrups, cordial or wine. And what’s the Christmas season and not using a nip of sloe gin?
The blue-black fruits could also be excruciatingly tart when uncooked, however, at their finest after they’ve been frosted, and when infused with gin and sugar they change into a veritable ambrosia (for adults solely).
Candy chestnuts are for roasting or to make an accompanying stuffing for meat. However my favorite meals from the hedgerow is crab apple jelly. There’s an alchemy in its making. The crab apples are an array of shiny reds, oranges, russets and yellow however are pulped right into a thick boring sludge. When slowly strained via a muslin bag, a magical clear juice emerges. In case you then boil to a jelly with sugar and spices – I want cloves and cinnamon – you have got really captured the ‘golden apples of the solar’.
As we collect and savour the autumn riches we frequently really feel a unhappiness that summer time is over. This 12 months I feel we loved our countryside greater than ever. The numbers of individuals out and about within the meadows, on the river, alongside the banks and on the paths and byways was outstanding.
Suppliers ran out of recent bicycles, paddleboards and inflatable canoes and dinghies. For a few of us it was a discovery, for others a rediscovery of the treasures of the countryside on our doorstep. It was an exceptionally lovely spring and a stunning summer time, and it was there for us on this time of disaster. The squirrels are oblivious to such sentiments, too busy ensuring they’ve ample nuts for the winter. However I hope we worth what we’ve got – an abundance of pure riches.
The Nice Ouse Valley Belief promotes for public profit the conservation, restoration and pleasure of the panorama, wildlife and heritage of the Nice Ouse Valley and environs within the county of Cambridgeshire.
For extra tales from the Nice Ouse Valley Belief see the Sights And Sounds part on the web site at: www.greatousevalleytrust.org.uk/index.php/sights-and-sounds.