Stay Curious.
Dig Deeper.
Nurture What Matters.
Be BoldHeart.
Enjoy Your Life.

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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Foraging for Chestnuts

After living in the nature starved landscapes of Northern Virginia, we were smitten with our backyard space when we moved back to Richmond in the Fall of 2011. Canopied by a variety of mature trees, I was so happy to be nearer to the outdoors in general, that I downloaded this guide to native Virginia trees intent to learn to identify not only those that grow in our backyard, but also the foliage we regularly encounter on our walks by the river.

Unfortunately, this daughter of a Forester didn't get much further than to recognize the already familiar flowering dogwood that gracefully grows outside our bedroom window. I think an illustrated guide would have served me better.

Then one day, these green urchin-like pods began to fall from one of the trees that I had struggled to identify. In the mornings we would peer out from the screen door to spy on the squirrels who cautiously ventured out into the open to gnaw at the prickly puzzle that is the outer shell of burrs. 

And we weren't thrilled when our carefree playtime in the yard was upset for stepping on small clusters of burrs (or prickles as we call them). Without shoes, which we hardly wear when back there no matter the season, even those most careful about traversing the lawn could not avoid them. And still, the largest tree in the yard continued to drop more burrs with each day that passed.

From Fall burrs to Springtime pine sap and Summer inch-worm infestations, we realized in our first year here that there are imperfections to be found even in something as lovely as living with nature.  

American Chestnut
The following year, as the last burrs were hitting the ground, we mentioned our nuisance to the neighbor with whom we share a fence-line, and he supposed they were chestnuts. 


This year we were prepared. When the burrs began to drop three days ago, we started harvesting them. We are foraging for food in our own backyard!

We find them on the ground like this:

There are usually between one and three chestnuts nestled inside each burr.

Like the squirrels, we have to wrestle with the casing and take caution not to be poked. They really do hurt!

The only safe way to hold them is by their little tail stem.

Once the nuts are freed, we sweep the burrs up and throw them behind the bushes along the perimeter of the yard.

Our next step is to prepare the chestnuts for roasting. It can take a few days for the starches of the nut (which is primarily carbohydrate instead of protein as most nuts are) to sweeten up a bit. They are resting in the fridge for today at least, and maybe another day tomorrow.

Do you have a good chestnut recipe to share? I would like to try this parfait with chestnuts, sugar, whipped cream, and rum extract. I'll probably also roast a batch to eat with butter and sea salt, I hope the boys will enjoy them for snack.

Quintessential autumn

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