Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 429

The Hazel


Hello Everyone


Auntie Alice has several hazel trees in her garden.


lt is unusual to harvest nuts from you garden instead of fruit.


But it is a lovely thing to create a store of nuts for snacks and cooking. Auntie Alice has too many for her own needs and she gives some of them away.


When hazels are grown commercially, they produce nuts for us to eat or sometimes they are pressed and made into oil to be used for cooking.


Hazel is what we call monoecious – that means it has male and female flowers on the same tree.  They are pollinated by the wind.  Hazels have very soft round leaves which turn yellow in autumn and then they fall.


Bees love to feed from the flowers earlier in the year.


ln ancient times, the Celts believed that the hazel was a magical tree responsible for creating inspiration and wisdom so they honoured it as one of their trees of knowledge. 


Each May Day, hazel branches were brought inside to guard against evil spirits – people sometimes carried nuts in their pockets as lucky charms.


Since mediaeval times, forked hazel branches have been widely used as divining rods particularly to find water. 


A forked rod is used. One end is held in each hand and when the person who is divining crosses an underground water source, the rod should bend as an indication that it has passed over a good place to dig a well.


Nowadays, the coppiced hazel poles are used to make fences and furniture and also poles needed in thatching and the vegetable garden.  A hazel tree can live for 80 years; but hundreds of years if it is coppiced.


Coppicing is when trees are harvested like a crop.


Hazels can be found in woodland or hedges and can provide food for many caterpillars. 


The nuts can provide food for dormice to fatten them up for winter hibernation as well as other small mammals and a lot of birds.


Auntie Alice has birds nesting in her trees sometimes but she has never seen any mice in them.


The children help with the harvesting; many hands are needed at that time of year.



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Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bob:  What do you call a boomerang that won’t come back?


Bill:  A stick?



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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Picture Gallery




Catkins come out in early spring


Leaves come out in April


Early autumn





May Day







This week, Auntie Alice wanted the children to help her in the garden.

She wanted to put mulch over her garden borders.

It is easy to remember, she told them – you mulch in May.  The word mulch and the word May start with the same letter.



She also puts mulch on her beds in November or December, before it gets very cold and the snow starts to fall.

Auntie Alice has adopted a ‘no dig’ policy in her garden, as I have told you before.

If you dig the ground as little as possible, it means that worms are less likely to be killed and they are enormously important to soil health.

It also helps gardeners because putting mulch on soil reduces weed growth, increased soil fertility and saves gardeners a lot of time and work.  It can also protect soil from extreme cold or heat.

If you make the compost you use as mulch, you also save a lot of money.

Auntie Alice has a line of heaps in large compartments made with wooden walls.  That means she can have heaps in different stages of development.

The children said that they did not want to start carrying smelly compost around but Auntie Alice said that the compost did not smell anymore.

She had a heap that had been closed off for months. 

In all that time, nature had gone to work and turned a horrible-looking heap of rubbish into dark-brown, crumbly earth.  The compartment was full to the top and then all of a sudden collapsed down to a much smaller volume.

The compost was made from grass mowings and weeds as well as kitchen waste and lots of cardboard that had been ripped to pieces.

It was really quite pleasant now and the children loved throwing it from the wheelbarrow all over the beds.

There was no need to dig it in, they just let it rest on top of the soil and left all the worms that had not been killed with a spade to sort it all out! 

The layer of mulch was about 5-10 cm deep, but it will crumble down into a much thinner layer by the time Auntie Alice wants to put some more on.


Look after worms!








Quick Quiz


What are these trees?


  1. C_d_r
  2. O_k
  3. P_n_
  4. S_l_e_    b_r_h
  5. E_m


What is a copse?






lt’s the Weekend!




This is an interesting pattern to knit.

It is a lovely scarf to wear on a chilly day.

You can make a bigger version and wear it yourself.



Using 4mm knitting needles and green dk yarn cast on 7 stitches


Knit 6 rows of garter stitch

Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch

Knit 8 rows moss stitch

How to knit moss stitch

Slip 1 (knit 1, purl 1) repeat the last 2 stitches to the end of the row

Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch


Repeat last 18 rows 4 times


Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch

Knit 6 rows of garter stitch


Cast off


If you are knitting this scarf for a person, cast on 5 stitches for every 5cm/2inches of width that you would like to have,

Enlarge the pattern by knitting 10 rows of garter stitch instead of 6 rows

And 16 rows of moss stitch instead of 8 rows


You must cast on an odd number.


A plain yarn or a tweed yarn would look nice but don’t use a yarn with too much texture otherwise the pattern will be lost.



Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



Quick Quiz Answers


  1. Cedar
  2. Oak
  3. Pine
  4. Silver birch
  5. Elm


What is a copse? = a small group of trees – smaller than a wood




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