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The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor

April

The Architect

Clay

Juglans nigra

This slimy, alien-shaped, orbish-thingy resembling the globe with one hemisphere being basked in light and the other shadowed in black, is a walnut. A black walnut (Juglans nigra L.). This is what they look like after removing the husk. What’s a husk you say?
It’s the green spongy outer layer that surrounds the shell. This is a small bucket that I picked up on our southern drive. We have a glorious row of these beautiful hardwood trees lining both lanes coming up to the house.
Problem is, they drop a lot of nuts. All over. They have no discretion, they plop down whenever and wherever they darn well please, kinda like my kids with their socks and shoes and books and toys and oh cripes, I have trees that act like my children, why does everything around me have to make a mess? Ya-know, this year it’s okay, because nothing this land throws at me can deter my happiness of being in this little spot of Heaven. So, nuts!

What you see up in the photo is a box (I seem to have quite a few of those around lately, hmm) full of husks and not just husks, but also some other things, little white things….called maggots. Husk maggots to be exact. I know, it creeped me out a bit too, but after I shucked about fifty-seven of them the gagging started to subside. I shucked them all full of maggots. Clay thinks I’m saying something bad when I use the words, shuck and maggot. I think next time someone ticks me off I’m going to yell, “Hey! I shucked ’em all full of maggots!!” and see if I get a profound reaction.
The reaction might be the same as people are giving me with my stained fingers. Black walnuts will turn your skin the color of a tanning cream gone bad. Hey, if you think my fingers are dirty, you should see my kids’ feet! That’s what I plan on saying to the next cashier that tells me my hands are dirty.
What are my kids doing while I’m shucking maggot filled walnuts? Why, getting an education of course. Seth sat beside me and read aloud a little Kipling while holding one of our bazillion kittens on his lap and Levi, well I think he was digging in the dirt or climbing in the fort or swinging on the tire swing or chasing his tail, I don’t know, he’s still alive that’s all that matters.
After I shucked and shucked and shucked then I washed the nuts under our hydrant. The brackish water contains the toxic chemical from the walnuts called juglone and it prevents many plants from growing or thriving and it will kill earthworms so I made sure I poured it back on our drive to save the worms.
It’s very messy and brackish so of course my two little boys had to splash around in it.
Did I say it’s wise to where rubber gloves? I learned that only after wearing my cloth garden gloves the first go around. I also learned it’s hard for me to stand up after I’ve stayed in a bent over position washing walnuts for more than a few minutes. Oh, look! There’s Levi, he’s still alive and obviously preparing to stick his head in the bucket of water, which he did.
Freshly washed and maggot free walnuts.
I put them in another box, because you know I collect them, to dry in the sun. It should only take a few hours in the sun to dry and then several days or weeks to cure. But, of course it rained about twenty minutes after I set them in the sun, so now I have no clue how long to leave them out there and they will surely mold just like my children’s notebooks and socks that I find left in the yard after a good rain or two.

But, at least I can say, “I shucked ’em full of maggots”. Maybe I’ll get to throw some in a batch of brownies then tell my kids they were full of maggots and I’ll get all the brownies to myself.
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