Walkin’ and the Walnuts

January 21 – I have been busy trying to get some short blogs written up, and some of these ideas that will take care of the notes I have made for the last couple of months or so! I’ll try to make this blog something that will grab someone’s attention here and there, because Dale and I wouldn’t write at all otherwise. Right now, though, I hope to clear up the list if possible.

180121_Leafpile

[ Leaf pile gets bigger every year ]

Actually, as you know, if you have been reading our blogs, you probably have formed the opinion that we are much happier working outside, keeping our eighteen acres cleaned up, working in the garden, and small orchard, building up the leaf pile, and just taking time to look up now and again to see the blessings all around us (and you would be right). We have given up walking several 10-milers every week, and even a marathon, but we try to keep fit as we walk the short trail around our property, from time to time.

Usually, when we walk through the woods, I forget that it is Dale who should be leading the way. No, not because he walks faster than I do, but I always like to see what’s around the corner, and I am the one who runs into the many spider webs along the way! Oh, how I hate that feeling as I try to peel off those silky strands, not only in my face and hair, but also on my arms. Why don’t I remember to give Dale the chance to see how it feels to be cozied up in the spider’s web! I won’t soon forget the time, not too long ago, when I had a faceful of web as well as bits and pieces in my hair. I can just imagine that spider doing a bit of griping because she would have to build another web just because of this human who should stick to walking on the road instead of making life a little harder for her. Well, Mrs. Spider, that path is just as much mine as it is yours!

180121_MoreWalnuts

[ Walnuts on the ground ]

All along the trails we find black walnuts, walnuts that were green when they were blown off the branches by strong winds. But that green cover always gives way to black and somewhat ugly color. How the animals in the woods do enjoy a bumper crop this year, when more nuts have fallen than in any other year since we’ve lived here. Dale said that most of the time, according to the experts, there will be a bountiful crop one year, with the next year producing a much smaller number of nuts. We have to be careful not to walk on any of the nuts because they can throw you off balance if you are unlucky.

In previous years after we picked up many buckets of nuts we’d stack them in the barn, so they would dry out and provide us with hours of hard work over the winter. Dale would smack them with a hammer or mallet and then remove the outside covering. From there on in, I was able to give a little help in the process of getting them ready to eat, or storing many bagsful in the freezer.

180121_SquirrelWalnuts

[ Walnuts after the squirrels get ’em ]

 But as I have mentioned in earlier blogs, Dale decided not to go through the process as we had done every year. I think when he found that those in the barn were rotting, he thought all of the work would not do much good at all.

So out of the barn came the buckets of nuts that were carried to the edge of the trail in the woods, where he dumped them in a big pile for the squirrels to find! And find them, they did! Little holes were dug in the ground nearby, each containing a “stolen” walnut. Even though we weren’t going to eat them, we continued to pick up the nuts in nine different areas. Finally, tiring of that and the affect it had on our backs, we decided to leave the nuts right under the trees where squirrels could cart their own, earning a little of their food for a change! After all, we had already left them with 7 or 8 piles along the way! – CHRIS

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