Monday, October 16, 2006

Black walnuts! (alternately titled, what I did with a mallet all day Sunday)

Our black walnut trees have been bombarding us with nuts for about a month now. At long last, it appears that the days of dodging and weaving are coming to a close for another year! There aren't many nuts left--which is a good thing because those suckers HURT when they make contact. HURT. Have I mentioned how much those buggers HURT?

We have been collecting the nuts in our little garden cart, and yesterday I began the thankless task of husking them so we can cure them in anticipation of some serious Black Walnut yumminess. Putting them on the driveway was the easiest dehusking method at hand, but we were a little iffy about actually doing it because the last thing we need is for a walnut to come hurtling from underneath our tire and take out a window, some siding, or our neighbor (whoooooooosh....d'oh! Sorry 'bout that, Earl!). So I thought I'd take the mallet to them. I started out strong. Two good whacks and I had a clean nut ready for the curing screen. About 400 nuts later, my hand was good and cramped, and it was taking more whacks than I care to admit. So I took the rest (yes, the 400 barely made a dent in the cartload) and dumped them onto our driveway. I guess if we send one flying at high velocity we'll just have to live with the consequences. And I'm really looking forward to having fresh nuts around! Mmmmmmm!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


There is a possibility, probably slight but still a possibility, that V and I will be relocating a Mail Pouch barn onto our little farm.


This all came about in a very seat-of-the-pants way. I was riding home from a horse show with my trainer and her mom when we passed by a lovely historic barn (I wrote my masters thesis on barns so I'm always quite the barn looky-loo!) and I commented on it. My trainer tells me that the state DOT is going to torch or bulldoze it because they're doing a highway widening. My response was to beg her to get in touch with her contact and see what she could find out. So now we're calling the DOT and trying to find out what exactly they're planning for it. I haven't been inside, but it appears to be in remarkably good condition. My gut is that it's a timber frame rather than balloon, which will make it easier in some ways to disassemble. All things being equal, we might be able to take down entire bents rather than going beam by beam. That would make reassembling much, much easier--fewer parts to put back together! One of these days I'll brave the trespassing charge and take a peek inside to gauge the condition and check out the construction.

It may not be realistically feasible for us, but we're sure going to try to bring it home. Right now our plan is to probably disassemble it, load it onto a flatbed, truck it to our farm, and put it on pallets and tarp it until spring. This will A) allow us more time to get some cash together to get footings poured, etc., and B) allow us some time to figure out just exactly where we'd like to put it.

Please, everyone, keep a good thought for us. We have long wanted to do something like this, and it looks like this might just be our chance. Now we really need to find that buried coffee can of gold!