Walnuts Keep Falling on My Head

We’re coming up another Mother Birthday Season without the guest of honor. One of the things I’ve become almost used to are the sounds of a house that is empty except for me.

It used to startle me when I’d hear a BAM! like someone trying to break into the house. That would be followed by a RUMBLE, RUMBLE, RUMBLE, SPLAT.

After awhile, I learned to identify that as the sound of walnuts hitting the roof, rolling down, then hitting the ground or driveway. In fact, it makes me think of the paraphrased lines of a B.J. Thomas song:

Walnuts keep falling on my head
But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red
Crying’s not for me
‘Cause, I’m never gonna stop the walnuts by complaining

Because I’m free
Nothing’s worrying me

Winning the liability lottery

Warriorette Shari came down from St. Louis for the weekend and griped about the walnuts all over the driveway. I told her it was part of my long-range financial plan to have her slip and fall, collect a huge insurance payout (which she would, of course, split with me), and figure she had won the liability lottery.

She rewarded me with The Look.

While I was sweeping them up, it made me think of past dealings with the green bombs.

Dad got the great idea that we should round up all the the nuts that fell in the yard, crack the shells and spend the winter picking out the goodies.

There’s one big problem

The big problem with that is that the walnuts are encased in a hard, green husk that has to be removed first. That ain’t easy. We tried all kinds of ways.

Putting them out in the street to let cars run over them just meant that you had to chase up the hill, down the hill and in the ditches on either side of the road after they had squirted off in every direction.

Then, he got a great idea: he bored several sized holes in a 2×6 board. We were supposed to select a hole slightly smaller than the husk, then drive it through the hole with a hammer, leaving the husk on one side and the nut on the other.

The nut, unfortunately, was the guy holding the hammer. You’ve heard of walnut stain, haven’t you? Well, there’s a reason for calling it that. I think I was about 42 years old before all of the stain wore off. I tried to convince people it was Dektol developer stain from the making prints in the darkroom because that sounded somewhat professional.

Are you nuts for nuts?

So, here’s the deal. If you have a hankering for walnuts, I have a yard full of them. Some of them have been herded together, but there are probably a bushel or two in the wild scattered all over the yard. Come and get ’em. (If you want me to answer the door with pants on, I suggest you give me a 10-minute warning.)

I just remembered that I had written about walnuts in 2014, and had plowed much the same ground. Nothing much has changed since then. You can click on any of the photos to make them larger, then use your arrow keys to navigate around.

We were a pecan family

Because walnuts were so hard to crack, and it was no fun to pick them out, we were more of a pecan family. Dad’s favorite winter pastime was sitting in the basement picking out pecans while watching TV.

In later years, Mother took over the task.


8 Replies to “Walnuts Keep Falling on My Head”

  1. Mom used to bake applesauce cakes in the fall using walnuts she and her dear friend, Lizzie, had collected at several select locations in the country (usually out in the middle of no where/parked on the side of a road). Thing was … in every cake there was a very strong possibility there would be one or more tiny/small piece of the hard walnut shell hidden somewhere in that otherwise moist, delicious cake (fragments which were hard to see and a shocker when you bit down on it). So, how did I eat mom’s delicious applesauce cake? … by crumbling it into little pieces with my fingers while searching for tiny/small fragments of walnut shell. Mom passed away several years ago. Your walnut story reminder me of Mom and Lizzie’s annual fall walnut scavenger hunts; mom cracking walnuts in the basement; her walnut stained fingers; watching her pick nuts at night while the rest of the family watched television; and her wonderful applesauce “surprise” cake.

  2. I have one of those pecan busters. It’s from the 40’s.
    No one else in my house knew what it was. I inherited it from my Grandparents. It was hilarious to watch their faces when I got a pecan and cracked it. They’d been cracking them by hand, pressing two together until they cracked.
    I shelled my pecans in record time, they watched and whined.
    It’s one of my favorite appliances.
    Also, if anyone wants free walnuts, I have a bunch too. You’ll have to beat off a bunch of fat, oily squirrels but they’re free for the picking!

  3. This brings back memories of going into the woods with mom and grandma to collect walnuts and pecans. We put the walnuts in the driveway which helped get rid of those leathery coverings. I remember watching mom and grandma crack those walnuts; the shells were so thick and hard and the oil would make their hands black. To top all that work off, there was not a lot of nut meat to be tediously picked out of those shells.
    Like your experience, pecans were the best! I learned how to crack the shell without cracking the nut inside.
    Now I buy all those in a plastic bag

  4. My Mom and uncle walked 7 mikes from east of McClure to pick pecans from trees along Hghwy 3. Sold them for Christmas money. I know about walnut stains. We had a huge tree in our yard. What a mess and the walnuts weren’t worth eating but made good ammo for yard wars. The neighbor boys feared those mean Little Gill girls.

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