Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wear a Hard Hat!

Isn't this tree beautiful? That's what I thought...until recently. Actually, I still think it's beautiful, but practical to have in my yard? No. Until we moved into this house, I wasn't familiar with this type of tree; it's a black walnut tree. We have maybe a half a dozen of them, although I haven't counted. All but one, this one in the picture, are along the edges of the property. This one is very close to our house, and is on the "route" that I like to take from the backyard to the front (I could go around the other way, but this way is, or was, more practical).
About a week ago, the tree started dropping its nuts, and we're not talking about small little acorns. These things, in their hard shell, are probably a little bigger than a golf ball. I thought I'd test out how much getting hit by one of those things would hurt, so I held one about 5 inches above my head and let it fall. OUCH!!! And they're falling all the time! When I go outside, it's pretty much a guarantee that I'll hear what hit the ground at some point before I go back inside. I really don't think it's safe to be near it!
After reading about these trees on-line, I've learned that the walnuts are good but getting at them is quite a process. I don't remember all the details, but first, the shell is extremely hard, and it has to be opened in a manner so that the black stuff inside the shell doesn't get on you, because it provides a stain that is awfully hard to get out. Then there's the smell; they have a very strong, unpleasant odor (only noticeable when I pick them up). Oh, AND, apparently the roots of the tree can send out a substance that is toxic to some plants when they come in contact with the roots (such as tomato plants).
The wood from these trees is a quality wood (at least that's what I'm reading), and the shell can even be used for something, and the nuts have more protein than English walnuts.
What I'm a little confused about is that what I've read says that the nuts are harvested in early fall. Hmm....there are at least fifty on the ground right now. ???
******Edited after my trip outside*******
50 is a huge underestimate; it's more like 500


Umma said...

I bet you could find someone who would want those nuts. I see them selling for $13/lb at some online retailers. Who says money doesn't grow on trees?

FXSmom said...

Ow...but could be worth it if you could sell them :)

Jen said...

We'll have to look into the selling of these things! Or maybe, if we CHOP it down, we could get money for the wood?

Diane said...

Sounds like you could use a Nut Wizard. www.nutwizard.com

I'd like one for gathering the hickory nuts in our yard!