The walnuts have mostly all fallen. They drop from a high perch and clang our metal roof, then slowly roll into the gutter--if it’s clean, or the husk a slow roller--or will bounce right off if the gutter is full (which it probably is) or the nut has started high enough on the roof to gather speed and jump to the ground with a heavy thud, and then roll some more.
There they lie. Unlike leaves, which you can walk through and kick up, walnuts, especially when hidden under leaves, roll. From our garden, which is slightly uphill from the house, I have thought about trying to skate downhill, like I was cargo. It is nearly impossible to walk when the ground beneath you moves.
I’ve enlisted the kids for help in picking up walnuts. They load them in the bucket, or the wagon, and cart them off to a pile underneath another grove off of walnut trees, which really seem to like our property, as does another “black” hardwood, locust. They have found other uses for the walnuts too: throw them at the rooster when he gets frisky, line them up on the driveway and smack them with a hockey stick.
We have cracked open a few too. First we peeled off the inky outer covering, cleared away the worms (nearly all have worms), then washed the inside and put them out on an old screen to dry. Then, smash them with a small hammer and pick out the yummy meat—probably more caloric expenditure then net gain, but fun nevertheless. Really, they had the most fun whacking them with the small sledge.
I had some tree guys come and clear away some of the walnut limbs (we have three trees close to the house) that lean over the roof precipitously. Then Sam and I cut up some of the wood and split it, naming our enemies with each slam of the maul. JOHN McCAIN split log in half. SARAH PALIN cut half in quarters.
Now the walnuts have fallen and the election is over. We joked that we would hoard our walnuts in case the apocalypse came. But now it seems like some weight has been lifted, that what was falling our roof and waking us from our dreams is all past. Our sleep is more restful even though the ground is still littered and we have much work to do. But we are nearly done with nuts. Snow will be the next thing to fall. Soon after that, everything will start moving up again.