Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Black walnuts and wood stacks

Despite the weekend wind, I was outside raking leaves and cleaning plant beds and driving the tractor over leaf mounds. We haven't lost even half of the leaves, and already I feel like I'm behind.

Next I went into the field to pick black walnuts off the ground. This year's harvest is abundant. I watched a video by a Canadian man explaining what to do with these nuggets. Peeled off the green outer layer. A water bath to mix the nuts against each other as an abrasion for any remaining pulp. Cure in a sack for two weeks. Hammer apart and pick from the five chambers. 

"Why are you doing this?" Shane asked, Erin and I outside at the time, peeling off the green.

"Because we have them, and I wanted to try it," I said.

I got as far as bagging them to cure. Hands stained. I did wear gloves for half the work, but didn't realize how stained my hands were becoming in the water, tossing and turning the mixture. The stain deepened overnight. I don't care.

***

I told some people at co-op about the walnuts. One woman commented how her dad loves black walnuts--I invited her over to get some. Another student who has a love for culinary arts wanted some too.

The woman showed up after school yesterday, here for the first time. I looked around at leaves on the patio and dirt on the walkways from potting and dog hair swept into a pile on the floor. A bag awaited the recycle can. Was anything clean? (Can anything be clean in the woods?)

I know full well: some women will judge you if your house is dirty, or if it's clean.

I felt an apology ready to spill. But then, she didn't notice, and looking at the land she said, "Your place is beautiful."

We talked about remodel projects and cold, old houses and I felt like she understood me.

We walked to the field with bags to fill. Her sons helped. I explained what I learned while we filled the bags to bulging. We walked back up the hill.

***

Today, I went outside to load my arms with wood. Looked at the sun rising and shining through the woods line. Dew glistened. I grabbed the dry wood and started a fire for the school day.

weekend first fire, absolutely delicious

kids taking over the dog mat in front of the first fire

black walnuts

Tuesday home work day by the fire. Oh, those braids. Oh, those toes.

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