Several of you have been following the Black Walnut saga. We have five trees dropping what might by now be a literal metric ton of walnuts onto our lawn and over our fence onto the garden of the polite but annoyed lady next door. (Jack spoke with her; we have a plan.)
Black walnuts are almost completely usable for good things (hulls: hog feed and herbicide on plants you don’t like; part between hulls and shells, a rich brown-to-purple dye; shells for abrasive cleaning of brass and other high-end products, also make great mulch; nuts for eating or making oil). How could we pass up this opportunity? So Jack and I gathered four great buckets of them, and I sat down last week to start the hulling.
Jack took one look at the maggots and cut a deal; I hull, he shells. He likes working with a hammer and a vise. Creepy white worms don’t bother me; I’ve picked my share out of cat wounds.
My friends Elissa and Kathy sent advice: wait for the hulls to dry and crack open on their own, and life got simpler. Yes, it did. So this weekend I did almost twice as many hulls just by leaving them out to dry. After the simple hulling, I had this huge pot of rich brown liquid….
… so I ran and grabbed some cotton and synthetic yarn, and did a little experimenting. It was fun. My friend Fiona gave me some pointers on how different yarns should be prepped, and that worked well.
The thing you have to know about black walnuts is, they’re mis-named. Everything they touch is going to turn brown: your fingers, your yarns, the storage baskets, the clothes you work in.
In fact, I was highly tempted to throw my white shorts in the pot along with the yarn, but….
…you know how sometimes people see religious figures in burn spots or fridge mold and such?
Well, how do you explain this?
That’s right, PUSHEEN himself!!!!
So I couldn’t throw my shorts in. But I did grab a Sharpie, so all my doubting friends could share this special moment.