Wednesday, December 1, 2010


There must be some 'legal' ones.
Walnuts. Just go to the store and buy them right? Not in Bourdeilles! We live in the walnut capital of the world. These walnuts are shipped to Paris, Japan, anywhere where a gourmand’s taste can afford the best.
Surrounded by these wonderful trees Tom and I have a problem. We do not have a yard which means we most certainly do not have any walnut trees. We love walnuts. Have you ever had fresh walnuts on a salad drizzled with a walnut oil dressing? 
We could easily remedy this problem. We must walk past 20 trees on our evening walks. The ground is littered with beautiful golden walnuts. Just carry along a sack and fill it up right. Absolutely not. Unlike in the States with no trespassing signs every where we are allowed to walk on almost any property that we want. There are trails that traverse all the corners of France. We use our fair share of them. These properties remain open to the public because of the politesse that is part of french life. One may covet the apples, peaches, or walnuts passed on these walks, but they are not to be touched with out an explicit invitation.
There is however a small twist to this. Of all the hundreds of walnut trees along the roads, and the thousands of fallen walnuts sprinkled around the landscape, only some may be taken. If the tempting fruit is in the public right of way it is fair game. Our problem is that we find ourselves in the moral dilemma of defining the limits of the public right of way. Is it the mowed edge that the town maintains? Is it the ditch that is just on ‘our’ side of the fence? If that field is untended and the nuts have been laying there for days and days couldn’t we just fill our pockets and then move on? Funny how even normally rigid rule followers find their arms stretching just as far as they can go while our feet, well heels, rest on the path.
For 5 weeks we have collected a few walnuts that lay in our path. Our bulging pockets at the end of the daily walk could lead to questioning stares, but we time our walks to take us through the village at dusk. Slowly our bucket has filled up and we are now in the process of drying them over the woodstove. Time will tell if we have enough to get us through until the next season. Maybe by this time next year we will have found someone that needs help collecting their harvest and will let us crossover the right of way and finally, legally, into the field.

Here, right on the edge.

It's a good one.

Might have to share a few with Jolie.

Staking keeps most of the nuts over the farmers property and out of the road.


CherylD said...

That's an enormous definition of the word "staking!"
And a striking example of cultural mores. Walnuts, walnuts every where and not a drop to slink.

susan vieth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
susan vieth said...

I heard the other day that someone earned 120 euros from a large sack of walnuts. All those nuts that were tempting us along the road.....

Mary Jo said...

Carl and I would love to see a photo essay on how you dry, open, and prepare your walnuts. No easy task, I think.