I have a certain sympathy for our ancestors. The ones who lived off the land. I’ve spent the evenings of the past two weeks peeling chestnuts, and shelling hazelnuts. Goodness gracious what a lot of work.

I did use some chestnut flour to make some bread. Very tasty, but it doesn’t rise quite as much. The poor food processor was struggling to make the flour; dried chestnuts are incredibly hard. I’m considering looking for a hollow log and using it the way that African women grind their corn. It’s been a bit chilly recently, but we’re still enjoying watermelons, cape gooseberries, raspberries (and of course, chestnuts).

The sloe wine finally finished fermenting, so has been bottled and put away. It’s a 13.5% brew. LSS found several pots of honey in the aged FIL’s pantry; they had been there for years. Instead of throwing them away, we decided to make mead out of them; so we now have a demijohn of mead bubbling away behind the fridge. We haven’t been lazy!

I also swept the chimney a couple of weeks ago, as the stove has been smoking heavily lately. Had to do it first thing in the morning because it was still around 2 degrees outside; the chimney-cleaning hatch is right next to a wasps nest, and the only way I could sweep the chimney without getting dive-bombed by lots of angry wasps was by doing it when it was too cold for them to fly. It took ages for my fingers to warm up. But at least we now have a clean chimney. Is there a market for around 3 pounds of soot? I left it in a neat little pile in the field across the road.

We also got some fuel for the tractor recently, and in a dark recess of the fuel store I discovered a Jerrycan. No, a real one. It’s marked “Kraftstoff 20 l – Feuergefährlich – 1942 – Nowack Bautzen – Wehrmacht”. It must have been left behind by the retreating German army. 70 years old and still being used!

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