May – 8 Hazel

The day flowed, beginning with surprising and perfectly green Pea and Avocado soup made by Jo.

After a minute of silence, after the rain, smelling the earth, feeling the freshness of the air, we pooled our knowledge of hazel.

Rachel begin with her diatribe – the wood after all iis called an Oak Nuttery. The wood was planted between 1895 and 1905 (see maps here, one with no wood and one with wood). The reason the two species were planted together, was to do with utility: the most value of an oak is between the ground and its first branch, so hazel, which grows faster, encouraged the oak to grow tall before branching. Both were planted for use: the oak for timber, and the hazel for firewood and wattling and thatching.

  • Virginia recalled seeing the hazel flower for the first time here in the wood.
  • In Ireland it is known as the tree of knowledge
  • I’ve got a business friend called Hazel
  • I had a hazel in Plastow, East London
  • You can make anything out of hazel, said Peter, who knew
  • Last year was a maste year for hazel nuts – as for oaks – hedgerow apothecary.
  • Gather 1st May.
  • Wattle fences to keep evil away.
  • Catkins associated with fertility and child birth
  • Many nuts in the autumn mean many babies in the spring
  • The rabbit called Hazel from Watership Down
  • Nuts are hard on the teeth
  • What are Cobb nuts and are they different. Cobb nuts from Kent
  • A recipe with hazel nuts, and butter in the micowave
  • Hazel is prolific like a friend called Hazel
  • Cobb nut pancakes
  • My father had a hazelnut in his garden – squirrels got the most
  • Mushroom and hazelnut quiche
  • Hazel leaf is hairy
  • When I was a kid in Harlow New Town, we had hazels across the field and harvested their nuts
  • Hazel is the best wood for making a magic wand

Here we go gathering nuts in may – what is this about? Not nuts but Knotts of May!

Some wonderful tapping, led by Jo. We are getting to know the moves now.

A bird man arrived and pointed out a song of a bird, whose name I have now forgotten.

We wandered around the wood to see the manifestation of hazel, now coppiced, between the oaks. Ending at the great hazel bender that some of us made last year, where we marveled at it’s structure and saw how it was growing.

We all did different things with hazel:

Some of us drew the hazel

Some of us bent hazel to form a bender of the tool area

Some of us made mallets out of hazel

Some of did natural leaf printing of hazel leaves

Some of made Scar-crows using the coppiced branches of Hazel

It was Berti’s 71st birthday and we sang, at every opportunity, wishing him a happy birthday. “It quite a thing, he said, to pull out. Thank you’.

The day flowed. It was easy and full. In our circle go round many wanted to do things with hazel which they had not managed to do, so we will repeat a day of Hazel next week!

No one wanted to go home.

Photos of the day in no particular order, capture our joy.

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