The Fall of Walnuts

Walnuts 09-26-2014I couldn’t figure out what the sound was: “THUD! Rumble, rumble, rumble rumble, splat!” or “Boink!”

Then it dawned on me: it was fall, and the walnuts around Mother’s house were proving that the Law of Gravity hadn’t been repealed.” The “THUD!” was a super-sized green golf ball hitting the roof. The “Rumble, rumble, rumble rumble, splat!” was the nut rolling down the pitched room and hitting the ground. The “Boink!” was it rolling off the roof and hitting the top or hood of my van.

I went out to try to round up as many walnuts as possible so Mother could mow the yard, but the blasted things were falling about as fast as I could rake them up. It sounded like I was at the wrong end of a driving range. “Plop,” “splat,” “thud” all around me, some coming uncomfortably close.

We found out that our pine cone picker-uppers were great for grabbing individual nuts without bending over.

Walnut suicide pacts?

Walnuts 09-26-2014Not only were they dropping all around me, but they were dropping in pairs. I don’t know if one would hit another one on the way down, causing them both to fall, if they all got tired of holding onto the tree at the same time, or if walnuts have weird suicide pacts with the neighbors – “if you go, I’ll go.”

No fond memories of walnuts

Walnuts 09-26-2014I don’t have fond memories of walnuts as a kid. Pecans are clean and easy: you pick them up off the ground, you crack them like this, then you pick them out. No muss, no fuss.

Walnuts, on the other hand, are shy nuts. You have to get the green outside husk off them before you can get to the dark shell hiding the meat. Over the years, we tried all kinds of ways to remove the green husks.

We put them in the driveway and ran over them with the cars. Pretty much all that did was to cover the driveway with walnut stain. After that, we tried putting them out in the street. That just meant we had to chase them all over the neighborhood.

Then, Dad got the bright idea of drilling various size holes in boards. We were to pick a hole the size we thought the black nut would be and pound the thing through the hole, hopefully leaving the husk behind. I think I was a junior in college when I finally wore the stain off my fingers (or maybe the Dektol paper developer stains covered the walnut stains).

They are not an easy nut to crack, and they aren’t fun to pick out, either. I guess I’ll keep throwing them over the fence behind us or putting them in the garbage can, whichever is the shorter walk.