Autumn Foraging

Following on from my previous theme of aligning our lives to the rhythm of nature, there is so much to enjoy here at this time of the year. All the photos in this blog were taken within a 5 minute walk of the gites and so there is no need to go far to enjoy the harvest.

Our own walnut trees on the field are producing a rich supply of very large walnuts that I pick from the lawn each morning and put out to dry in the sun. The fields and the woods are full of mushrooms of every kind at the moment too but we don’t yet have the confidence to know which are the edible varieties. It’s best to admire them from a distance and leave the picking to the locals who know what they’re doing.

Chestnuts were the object of my foraging on Sunday. I had gone to church in the morning with lots of news items from France, the UK and around the world weighing heavily on me. There are times when it’s probably wise to take in no more than 30 minutes of news a day and it is now one of those moments. Church gave me the chance to appreciate the bigger horizon and « hand over » some of the things on my mind. On my way home I decided it would be good to go looking for chestnuts; a great decision!

The air is so clear and fresh here that you can take big, yawning gulps of it and feel it doing you good. The sun is still beautifully warm despite being mid-October. I stepped into the woods to find huge, shiny chestnuts littering the ground in every direction. Some had been bounced out of their spiky cases on falling to the ground while others presented themselves like partly opened gifts ready to be taken. Still more were thumping to the ground all around me as I stooped to gather them in to my bag.

The experience was hugely uplifting, surprisingly emotional and greatly restorative. Presenting 5kg of chestnuts to a very appreciative Lisa I realised would be given the task of scoring, boiling, peeling and freezing them all. 

It was worth the effort – we enjoyed a few sautéed in butter with Brussel Sprouts that evening.

I stepped into the woods to find huge, shiny chestnuts littering the ground in every direction.

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