Walnuts

Walnut tree in June

We planted the walnut tree in 2000, complete with ceremony, best clothes and a blessing bestowed by my Dad.  It commemorates the day we took over ownership of the farm, a special day for all of us.  We thought for a long time about what tree to plant, and decided on walnut because of it’s longevity, productiveness and the fact that my Dad loved walnuts.

The big crop

We’ve had good and bad crops from the tree over the years.  A squirrel visited us one year and scooped the crop just before we were ready to pick, and we’ve had a few years where the crop was just small.  About half the time though, the crop has been pretty good for a small tree, and this was one of the good years – 146 nuts.  We probably missed a few on the ground, but it was still a pretty good haul.  The tree is still a teenager after all.

Always use gloves. Speaking from experience.

Knowing when to pick them has been an art slowly acquired – too soon and the green covering is impossible to get off, too late and the nuts are lost in the grass and potentially to the dratted squirrel.  We timed it perfectly this year, albeit in the pouring rain (we picked the nuts the same day we picked apples for juicing).

146 walnuts

Our read alouds in the evenings during the Christmas holidays will be punctuated by the cracking of nuts as the basket and crackers get passed around, the shrapnel being tossed into the fire.  I’m looking forward to it.

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7 thoughts on “Walnuts

  1. Annie says:

    What a beautiful image your last paragraph conjures up in my mind! What will you be reading? I’m reading Charlotte’s Web with the kids right now. They are loving it!

    • Charlotte’s Web is a great read aloud. All four of us take a chapter an evening of whatever the selection is, we can work through an average book in about a week that way. So we might get 3 books in over the holiday. Choices vary, everyone gets input. Past choices include Tolkien, Kipling, Twain, CS Lewis, L M Montgomery, and some lighter modern books – The Mysterious Benedict Society series for older children is still popular with my teens. Up for consideration so far: the third in the Mysterious Benedict Society, The Once and Future King (same author as Charlottes Web), something by Stuart McLean (Canadian radio storyteller), or…

      • Annie Carlson says:

        Now, if only those kids of mine could read… 🙂
        My mom read to us all the time. Every time we drove somewhere, she would read. No radio in our car. Sometimes dad would drive slowly down our road so we could get to the end of the chapter.

      • We use audio books on car journeys, and we too have sometimes had to slow down to finish the chapter. I get car sick if I read, so audios are a lifesaver.

  2. Wow. Walnuts you can crack! Wow!

    We have an abundance of black walnuts. Bumper crop this year. We don’t peel the hulls off, we just put them in the driveway and drive over them for a few weeks. Then you give them a rinse (or wait for a heavy rain) dry them out and get your hammer and safety glasses out. We really don’t mind if the squirrels take a few of them away. Given the value of walnut logs, it’s nice to have free help planting trees.

    • I envy you the abundance of walnuts. We love them here. Given our tiny crop, and the fact that it took less than 10 minutes for two of us to hull them, the driving over them method seems like overkill at least while we can still count them easily. Maybe when we start measuring them by weight….I’ve heard other people talk about how difficult they are to crack – we’ve never had difficulties, with these or the ones we’ve gleaned from a local park/garden. Maybe a different variety?

      • Based on the pictures, you have a different walnut than we do. Black walnuts are just awful to crack. Very flavorful thouth. No matter how few, it’s best to hull them with the car.

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