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Bombs away! September 30, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, pets, wit and wisdom.
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These are the times that try men’s souls, or, in our friend Ben’s case, soles. At the movies, it may be raining meatballs, but here at Hawk’s Haven, the cottage home of our friend Ben and Silence Dogood located in the precise middle of nowhere, PA, the sky is raining walnuts. And hickory nuts. And butternuts. The ground beneath our huge shagbark hickory, butternut, and black walnut trees is covered with nuts, and more are pelting down by the minute.

Fortunately, the hickory and butternuts are relatively light, and the trees are located on remote parts of the property so we’re unlikely to be hit by them as they fall. But that’s far from the case with the walnuts. Abundant rains have swelled those suckers to the size of tennis balls—tennis balls with heavy rocks hidden inside. BOOM! BOOM! Each time one crashes down, it sounds like a cannon going off. And our walnut trees are directly above the area where we take our puppy Shiloh for her bathroom breaks. (They encircle a spot we refer to as “the circle of doom,” which normally refers to Shiloh’s activities therein but at this time of year takes on a much more literal meaning.)

If a falling walnut were to connect with a hapless human head it would have a skull-splitting effect, our friend Ben feels sure. (Apparently dogs’ skulls are somewhat more shatterproof, but poor Shiloh! I don’t want to think about it.) And being cracked in the skull isn’t the only hazard, especially if you’re walking the dog before first light or after dusk. Years ago, our good friend Susan slipped on a walnut, and her ankle still gives her grief to this day. We’d prefer to avoid a similar fate.

Not that this bounty of nuts is all bad. The resident squirrels (and presumably chipmunks) are having a field day with the shagbark hickory nuts. Once winter has worn the outer coatings off the black walnuts, they’ll be able to turn to them just as other food becomes scarce. And we get the benefit of the butternuts, which are also a species of hickory nut. The Snyders, our next-to-next-door neighbors, enjoy gathering the nuts every year, and Mrs. Snyder makes the most delicious hickory-nut cookies and cakes, then shares some with us as a thank-you. It’s a treat we look forward to every year.

Our friend Ben lends them the Godzilla of nutcrackers, a treasure from the Lehman’s Catalog (www.Lehmans.com), so Mr. Snyder can get those nutmeats out of the shells. This nutcracker’s crocodile jaws are reputed to crack black walnuts as well. Perhaps I’ll start mentioning this loudly every time I take Shiloh out, just in case intimidation works on walnuts. BOOM! “Hit me or the dog and I’ll crack you like a potato chip!” BOOM!

Hey, these are desperate times.



1. Lzyjo - September 30, 2009

You’re so right. In Nashville when we had our fancy car, with a sunroof, there was a huge walnut tree right where we parked it. We really thought the sun roof was going to be busted by one of those walnuts. DH also tripped on one, he was taking the garbage cart to the street and the wheel got caught on a nut and rolled. OY. I don’t like walnuts, except to eat.

Yikes, Lzyjo! Those were very close calls. We’re lucky enough that a local farmers’ market sells black walnut meats in season, and though they’re pricey, I splurge on a little bag each year because they’re so good on salads, especially fall salads with beets and feta on bold greens. And you’re right, I can’t imagine a less ornamental tree, with early defoliation and those ghastly webworms. But I do love walnut furniture!

2. Victoria - September 30, 2009

Better start wearing a helmet!

Ha, good point!!!

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