Autumn colours …

Today is the start of what is going to be a wet and cold autumn week, with some heavy snowfalls forecast for Tuesday according to the Swiss Meterological Department. I must say that I am not ready to have snowfalls starting this early because my balcony garden is not yet fully prepped for its winter hibernation … and I have not had my fill of foraging for mushrooms. But one cannot fight the weather … so I am  resigned if indeed winter is set to make an early appearance.

However, in anticipation of the change of weather, the hubby and I decided to take advantage of a sunny afternoon two days ago to go for a little walk in the nearby woods to enjoy the colours of autumn before they disappeared. Errr … actually my priority was to go and look for black trumpet mushrooms before the winter weather sets in … but hey, I might as well enjoy the colours of autumn while I look for my little black treasures, huh?🙂

So here are some colourful shots of the woods on that sunny … and very fruitful afternoon. (Oh yes, I found my black trumpets and even its smaller cousin. But more of that in a different post lah!😉 )

sam_9465a

sam_9492a

sam_9477a

sam_9467a

sam_9499a

sam_9502a

sam_9470a

sam_9495a

sam_9475a

All these glorious colours will soon disappear. But fleeting though they may be, the impression that they leave behind will last for ever. Colours of autumn … at Bois de Sauvebelin, 3 November 2016.

 

Autumn pickings at the parents’…

Prior to the visit we paid them two weeks ago, the last time I had got to see the parents and their garden was in spring. As we were already approaching mid-autumn and the weather had started to turn a bit chilly, I had assumed that there would not be anything interesting for me to look forward to at the parents’ garden.

But I was wrong … so wrong … much to my happy surprise.

While I had been busy foraging and picking free nuts and fruits closer to home in Lausanne, I had forgotten about the many freebies that would be waiting to be picked at the parents!🙂

sam_9223a

The first thing that caught my eyes as soon as we arrived was these lovely looking tomatoes which were growing not far from the front door.

sam_9235a

Just a few metres away at the side of the house, I saw more red tomatoes basking in the sun. And they were also cherry tomatoes growing near the terrace at the back of the house as well as in the potager.

sam_9227a

Oh my … I could not believe that the parents still had that many tomatoes growing and ripening when the ones on our balcony were already nearing the end of their lives! This year was definitely the year of the tomatoes at the parents’. Lucky them!

sam_9211a

Just across the tomato plants growing in the rectangular container at the side of the house was this small apple tree laden with fruits.

sam_9214a

Despite not having been treated with any chemical pesticides, they were very healthy … and juicy … and sweet … and crunchy. In other words, they were delicious!

Another apple tree growing near the copse, unfortunately, had been badly ravaged by squirrels. There were only two small apples left on the tree when I arrived.

sam_9384a

When the daddy-man asked me a few days later whether I wanted to help him pick all the apples from the tree, I was more than happy to offer my assistance.😀

sam_9200a

And then, there was also the nashi pears. These, however, are the fruits of the male nashi pear tree. There were still loads of these pears on the trees mainly because, unlike the fruits of the female tree which are very sweet, these male ones are not.

sam_9201a

They did look yummy and they were certainly very juicy … but because of their bland taste, even the squirrels seemed to be uninterested in them … preferring to go for the apples much to the daddy-man’s frustration. I had missed picking the female nashi pears in summer and so I was looking forward to picking some of these. But after having tasted this male fruit, I decided to give them a miss too lah!

sam_9311a

Fortunately, there was the hubby’s favourite fruit that I could pick … the kiwis. This year, however, was definitely not the year of the kiwis at the parents.

sam_9307a

While we were there, the daddy-man asked us to help him pick all the kiwis from the tree.

sam_9345a

It did not take long for us to finish the job because this was all the kiwis that were hanging from the tree! Oh well, better some than none at all.

sam_9305-a

And my new favourite fruit … the figs. As I did not know that fresh figs were quite delicious, for the past several years, I had never bothered myself with the fruit even when the daddy-man had offered some to me. I had tried dried figs before and found them not to be to my liking. So I had assumed that the fresh fruit too would not be to my liking.

I am so glad that I chose to give the fresh fruit a try this year because if I had not …

sam_9348a

… I would have missed these fresh figs from the parents’ garden! But in our zealousness to pick the fruits, I think that the hubby and I picked a few unripe ones as well! Oh well … we shall do better on our next fig picking lah! hehehe …😀

sam_9190a

And last but not least, the potager outside the greenhouse was also brimming with luscious and healthy looking salad greens.

It was a pity that we could not bring lots of them home with us (since they would not continue to remain fresh even if kept in the fridge) … because the parents would not be eating all of them. Used to the salads bought from the supermarket, the daddy-man finds the texture of these salads to be not quite to his liking. So a lot of them will soon be making their way  to the compost bin … haizzz. What a waste of good and healthy food!

 

Foraging for hazelnuts …

I started taking notes of the various places where I had seen the hazel trees fully laden with nuts as far back as in late spring. And from the sheer number of hazelnuts that I saw on many of the trees, I was gleefully anticipating an abundant hazelnut harvest for myself this year.

In fact, I was so eager to start on my hazelnut picking this year that I actually tried picking them as early as in late August before I would be returning to Singapore for a short visit home. I had hoped that maybe … just maybe, they might already be ripe for picking. Alas much to my disappointment, they were not.

Unfortunately for me, by the time I came back in late September, many of these nuts were no longer on the tree. It would seem that I had missed that crucial period while I was away in Singapore … aarggh!!!

No doubt, it was frustrating to have to search in several places in order to get my hands on the hazelnuts when they were so many of them just a few weeks earlier. But … I did get my hazelnuts, even though I had to expend more time and more energy than I had anticipated. So despite the setback, I am still very thankful for being able to gather some hazelnuts this year.🙂

dscn5243aBack in late August when the hazel trees were full of nuts … which unfortunately were still green and had not ripened.

sam_6356aSo tempting, are they not?

sam_8642aThe hazelnuts taking a brownish tint to indicate that they have started to ripen. Once ripened, the nuts will fall off easily from the husks. Especially when a strong wind blows, many will fall to the ground. For those that are still attached to the husk (as in the picture above), just a slight nudge will help the process along.

sam_5239aAnother variety of hazelnuts which is not as common. Instead of the usual green colour, the leaves are brownish red …

sam_5238a.. and the nuts are in a beautiful shade of red. I had noticed this particular hazel tree before, but I had never paid much attention to it. But this year, I could not help but notice its beautifully coloured nuts … and I decided that I would try to gather some to taste.

dscn5343aThe red hazelnuts (or filbert) after they have ripened.

sam_8810aMy modest harvest of hazelnuts for this year … so far …

sam_8931a…. including these from the red hazelnut tree. These red hazelnuts actually tasted much nicer than the common green ones. A pity that I did not pick them before … because the place where this tree grows has been slated for redevelopment. So I cannot help but wonder whether the tree will still be there next harvesting season … haizzz …😦

Although I would have liked to forage for more hazelnuts, I chose to spend more time foraging for another type of nuts which is a big favourite of ours, after realising that its season had started! But more about that in another post lah!🙂