Along the highway going north out of our town, there stands a lovely old farmhouse with two giant black walnut trees in the yard. A few weeks ago on one of those perfect fall days, we approached the door of this house with Yub Yub in arms and asked permission to gather the walnuts. The owners practically begged us to take them.
The best thing about this location (other than the massive number of nuts) is that one of the trees stands over the dirt driveway. The cars going in and out of the drive had crushed the outer husks of the walnuts without cracking the nutshells. The previous week's rain, along with the cars' tires, had completely rotted away and removed the outer husks of the driveway nuts. We collected 3 large bags of these mostly processed nuts and another bag of husked nuts.
Back home we put the driveway nuts into a large bucket of water, removed the ones that floated, dried them, and put the rest into cardboard boxes which now sit on our unfinished basement stairs waiting for the walnuts to dry.
We wanted to store the nuts still in the soft green husks outside where the weather would do most of the removal work. Thag decided Yub Yub's sandbox was a good storage container; there the nuts would not be rolling about the yard. Yub Yub was not too happy about this arrangement. The next day, wanting to play in the sandbox, she went over to it, and called out with exasperation, "Papa!"
So, this winter, we hope to spend many an evening watching movies and shelling and storing our dried black walnuts.