The walnuts are just starting to ripen sufficiently to start harvesting them. We had such a large harvest last year that we are still working through them on a daily basis. This year's harvest, as expected, appears to be much smaller.
Looking at the walnuts reminded me of a recent encounter with prayer nuts. Earlier in the Summer we managed to organise cover at the smallholding to spend a few days away visiting our youngest daughter who lives in the Netherlands. We visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam which is their main art gallery with exhibits across the ages. This includes many familiar Vermeer's which generates much interest. There is a separate Van Gogh Museum nearby so not many of his works to view at the Rijksmuseum itself.
One exhibit that caught my eye was examples of prayer nuts. These are tiny boxwood, hinged balls little larger than a walnut. Inside there is the most intricate of carvings. The one in the photograph is of Nativity scenes and it is mounted in a silver casing. It was carved in the Netherlands in the early 1500's. It would have hung from a belt (or perhaps a Rosary) and used as an aid to prayer.