Courtesy Stephanie Staton
With the purchase of our farm last fall, we also inherited some mature black walnut trees. As we worked around the house, walnuts dropped left and right, sometimes rolling underfoot. Like pop-up showers in spring, the tree rained walnuts on anything or anyone unfortunate enough to have parked itself below the branches. It seemed odd that the tree was losing so many nuts at once, so I asked my brother, a timber sales employee for the U.S. Department of Forestry, about it. He explained it was common for the trees to produce and shed a bumper crop of nuts every two to three years.
I was relieved to discover this wasn’t an annual occurrence because this particular tree is adjacent to our driveway and a short distance from our soon-to-be back porch—a cartoonish banana-peel slip is not something I care to demonstrate on a yearly basis, and I don’t even want to imagine the amount of damage the falling orbs could do to our truck. After filing this information to the back of my mind and pushing forward with renovations, I was excited to read about the benefits and possibilities this tree might hold for my farm in Patricia Lehnhardt’s "Back in Black.” She also provides ideas for what to do with the overflowing bins of nuts wrapped in hand-discoloring hulls that my son took great care and time to gather (with no gloves!)—we had to scrape up any and all containers we could find on the farm for him to collect his "pirate treasure.” So before you give a stately black walnut the axe, check out Lehnhardt’s case for growing black walnut trees on your farmstead.
Work continues on our farmhouse renovation, and now you can follow along on our adventures in my new blog, "Restore Farmhouse Order.” Stop by each week to see what lies in store for my biggest DIY project to date. If your craving for renovation stories is insatiable, turn the page to read about Jody Brouwer’s farmhouse challenges and successes in "Homespun” as well as catch up on the latest happenings at Rhoda Peacher’s Oregon farmette in "Project Homestead.”
I’d love to hear from you—from renovation stories to feedback on the new digital magazine or just the latest farm gossip—so drop me a line.