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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nuts!

hickory nut and quarter
These are treacherous and scary.  They are hickory nuts, impossible to crack but delicious if you can get anything out. Some people tell me they are black walnuts. Would you like one to hit you on the head?


8 hickory nuts in the path I walk to the car


Every day when I go out, I take my life into my own hands, trying to walk through a yard full of these. Last night, I was spread-eagle in mid-air, thinking I was going to do a belly flop on the ground as I slid backwards with left food and out to the right with my right foot.  I was lunging forward with my arms sort of reaching for something not there. You see how many there are in a small space? Even if I recover and don't fall, I can never be sure that I will find sure footing with the next step! Do you see all eight of the hickory nuts?

Once a very macho friend was standing talking with my husband in the backyard. The friend picked up two nuts and squeezed them in both hands to crack them. He looked at the uncracked nuts, squeezed again, getting red in the face, then squeezed them again, getting even redder. He asked what they were. My two-year old got a hickory nut, laid it on the concrete step, picked up a brick she used and smashed the nut until it cracked. She had had lots of practice!

tiny acorns from water oaks next to quarter

Then, there are the two huge oaks that rain down tiny acorns all over the yard, my car, and my head! It's like walking on ice when there is a solid mat on the driveway or street.

Exbf came in the house on Monday and asked how long it took me to get accustomed to being hit with acorns and hickory nuts. "Never!" Seriously, it is frustrating since the hickory nuts could do major damage to the head. They bruise my shoulders and arms if they hit me. He is not amused. So, not only are they underfoot, they are overhead.

I manage to get into the house with my purse or any bag with a few acorns inside. There are days I put my purse, a newspaper, or a magazine over my head for fear of being banged on the head by hickory nuts. It is a treacherous walk to the car or back to the house this time of year.

Until I had it cut, there was a hickory nut tree in an inside corner of the house, really close to the house. The tree sent hickory nuts flying onto the steep roof where they careened downward bouncing all the way until they landed with a thud and a roll on the flat roof part of the house. Friends were quite startled by the ruckus on the roof.  My children clung to me at first during the barrages but soon learned to take them in stride.

Why could I not be blessed with just one pecan tree? The people behind my next door neighbors have a pecan tree, but not me. The people catty-cornered from me have a pecan tree and told my children not to pick up the ones in the street. This year, I will pick his pecans that fall in the street! He was mean to me this year, so I will just do what is perfectly legal! No, my children did not pick up one pecan from the yard and were not accused of getting any pecans from the 10 feet of city property, just the pavement.



A few days ago, I was in the backyard and saw three women in the yard behind my neighbors, frantically picking up something. Aha! Pecans? Yessiree. When I asked them what they were picking up, they looked frightened and told me. It turns out they do not live there because the house is empty. I am not sure I ever knew there was a pecan tree back there. However, the people living there are always rough people, so we don't visit. I just listen to drug- and alcohol-fueled arguments, report to them the children throwing rocks at my picture window, listen to the puppy farm that one couple ran, and let the wisteria grow up to shield me from seeing them and hearing them.

Yesterday, I decided to step over the two-foot decorative fence that has been there for 70 years. Nope, it was four-feet high. It grew. So, I drove around the block and parked behind the house. I am going again this afternoon.


I scored these--29  free pecans
Earlier in the day I went to the market. Saturday will be the last day. I had two $6 vouchers given to low-income seniors. So, the $8.50/qt of shelled pecans were calling me. I got another quart of unshelled pecans for $2 and garlic cloves for $1.50. I am not sure why they broke the heads apart. I'll plant some of those.

Your turn
Are you lucky enough to have nut trees in your yard? Did you plant them? Have you ever picked out hickory nuts ? They are so difficult. Does anyone consider pecans as their favorite nut like I do?

10 comments:

  1. My favorite nut is a cashew, but for free range nuts, a pecan is my favorite. We are surrounded by water oaks and I detest them this time of year. Stud detests them in February when he's raking the tons of little leaves that never stop piling up.

    We sit outside at night and listen to the gunfire as they hit the aluminum gutters. When they hit me on the head, damn they smart!!!

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  2. lotta joy,
    I love cashews, too.

    Anyone who sees what I need raked just groans at the little leaves that defy collection! At least I don't have aluminum for them to hit and make noise. Ouch!

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  3. Yes, those are black walnuts in the first photo. We have 3 walnut trees on our property. They hurt like crazy when your hit with them but are so good once you get them open

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    Replies
    1. I also believe those are black walnuts in the first photo. We love all kings of nuts and eat them daily. We also have chestnuts and hazelnuts.

      Since acorns are edible, have you thought of using them? I have an acorn cookbook around here somewhere. Otherwise, I think you need more squirrels.

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    2. Kathy,
      Yes, I have thought of eating them. I have read something that sounded very complicated...forgot what to do. One time, we lived in a home that had chestnuts. Maybe I did something wrong because they were horrible. That was in 1971, so there was no internet available to figure out what to do.

      This is a water oak. Do you have a good recipe?

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    3. Yes, thank goodness for the internet. A world of information at my finger tips. On Yahoo, I typed in cooking with tree acorns and got tons of sites. I will be bookmarking this myself for future use.


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  4. Katidids,
    When we first moved here, all the old-timers in their 60s through 80s told us they were hickory nuts. Then, 20 years later differnt people told me they were black walnuts. So, I remain perpetually confused.

    How can you tell the difference?

    I offer to give these away each year. No takers, ever.

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  5. The acorn cookbook I have is "Acorn and Eat'Em" by Suellen Ocean. I know there are other cookbooks out there as well as cooking information in some of the wild foods and Native American herbalogy books I have.

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    Replies
    1. Kathy,
      Thanks. That is a funny name for the cookbook. I have heard these are bitter, unlike the larger acorns. I suppose I should go gather acorns and figure out what to do. I need a wild food book!

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  6. I agree with Lotta Joy...cashews are yummy! I've only been eating tree nuts for about a year (always believing I was allergic). There are so many types I haven't had a chance to try yet. Those black walnuts are huge! There must be a silver lining to having them - getting bonked on the head being the exception. lol

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