Friday, September 25, 2009

Going nuts over the hazels

I am an animal lover and believe everything in nature has its place ... but I wish grey squirrels didn't think their place was in our garden.

Last year they stripped the orchard bare of cherries, plums, apples and pears before we'd taken any fruit.

I am now their natural enemy.

However, I understand why they are here and that we'll never get rid of them all. The hedges around Stonecroft around about 70% hazel and in August, as the nuts start to ripen, the squirrels come from miles around

I don't mind them getting the hazel nuts but we'd like a few ourselves so my daughter and I duly gathered a basketful.

I don't know yet what we'll use them for but first we've got to shell them and that, I recall from previous years, will take forever and a day. The mere thought of it is putting me off from starting.

Surely there's a quicker way than a simple pair of nutcrackers? How do they do it on an industrial scale? Is there some device I can buy?

Help, please before I go nuts!

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