A bit about us...

We are a modern family of three, living on less than two acres with a 3,000 square foot garden that meets our produce needs and allows us to share with friends and neighbors. Our laying flock of chickens seems to expand each year as we raise chicks each Spring to replace older hens. This blog is more of a journal, if you will, for us to chronicle and share our experiences in the yard, garden and kitchen. It is our hope that along the way a few folks might learn something, be entertained, or simply enjoy sharing in our stories and the lessons we learn on a daily basis. I named the blog after the times when I am the happiest, when I am elbow deep in earth.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Black Walnuts - Part 2

Having woken up with very sore hands, arms, shoulder and back, I decided I really did need to find another way to husk these treasures without quite so much abuse to my system. (If you missed reading Part 1, here it is.) I had read about people driving over them, but worried about that crushing the actual nutmeats and ruining my labors. At this point, I was absolutely up for the risk... so when my mom offered her limestone driveway as a place to husk the nuts "smarter, not harder," I went for it! Shane loaded the second 100+ pounds into the truck and off I went!

Do you see the white creepy crawly visitor coming out of the husk of the walnut? That's a husk fly larvae. They live their entire lives in the husk and cause no damage to the nut itself. They are gross, and really work to soften the husk, which I found just made it easier for me to remove (once I got over them being so yucky). :-)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Black Walnuts - Part 1

While on a trip to the west side of Michigan camping for Shane's birthday, we discovered a hickory tree that was dropping its bounty.  That bounty needed rescuing... I was sure of it! :-)

I gathered over several days as they fell in the wind and rain and we easily removed the green husks to reveal the tasty nuts encased in their shells.

While out and about, I also gathered some acorns for crafts, and the leaves from the respective trees for reference.

When we came home, I spent time learning about them, and discovered I would need a special nutcracker to make lighter work of removing the shells, once they were allowed to dry and ready to be cracked.  The same nutcracker was also designed for the very tough to crack black walnut, should I ever have a chance to get hold of some of them.