Black Walnut Harvest…


As you might know, we have several mature fruit and nut trees on the homestead.  Not as many as I would like, but still, the ones we have produce amazing bounty for our little farm.   We have two large walnuts…  one black and the other English.  They seem to produce 2 out of 3 years with one taking a break now and then.  Which is fine, because, we have a LOT of nuts!

This year, the black walnut went nuts.  And we were looking at all these yucky nut ball husks and thinking that we would be spending another season raking and pitching them over the fence in our hedge for critters to enjoy.  The last time I researched the whole process of husking, shelling and using black walnuts, it was just too tedious for us!  Driving your car over them?  Special cracker?  Just too much.  The English walnuts are a breeze compared to the black.

However, our friend Justin said he would take them and pick them up as well!  How could we pass that up?  His folks pick up tons of them and had special roller ball collectors and such.  He brought them over and we had a fun afternoon picking them up and playing around with the rollers!  So ingenious!

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Tim, and his friend Jake, decided to finish up some branch cutting on our project list and proceeded to cut some of these low hanging mulberry branches off the poultry barn roof.  What a difference it made!!    Lots of lovely sunlight into the area and a bunch of branches for the hoofies to clean up!   dsc_0968 dsc_0971 dsc_0972 dsc_0974

Aren’t these so clever!  They are called nut wizards and you can look them up online, of course!  Once filled up, you just slip the wizard cage onto a little wire opener on your bucket.


Then a little twist and the cage opens up enough for the nuts to fall through!  Pretty darn cool.  Sometimes it helps to have a little hand holding from a friend on your bucket!


Miss Julia came over for a visit and was entertaining the goat troops!   We let everyone out into the middle yard to graze and work on some of those cut branches!  They loved them.  The little goatie boys are so cute as they follow big momma Buttercup around.  It was the first time they were allowed out in the yard, so this was all new to them!  First time they met the sheep nose to nose as well!  Very exciting.


Maggie worked on making a few more feeders for the crew.  We had a couple old barrels that work great as bunk feeders.  She cut them in half and then cut down a few lower, already cut barrels we had for feeders around the place.  The goat family had to check them out.

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Of course, everything was something new to check out.  Even the lawnmower!  Goats are so silly…  they just gotta be in everything, you know?


Everyone was busy today, we are finishing up our lists of projects before winter and so nut gathering and limb trimming were high on the list.  Jessy was busy putting up a little netting on the back of the new goat hay feeders to help keep them from pushing the hay through and wasting it.  Always something, eh?  The sheep had to come over and help clean up the hay that the goats left.  They are not so picky!


But they were very excited to join in on the branch nibbling and cleaning task!  The WIndhaven herd can strip a tree in no time, if given the chance!


I love how the little goats were so interested in the big hairy non-goats.  They stuck close to their own kind, but were very interested.  The sheep crowded around them for a few minutes but then were much more interested in the branches and lunch!


Justin always has to lead my goat girl astray with Mountain Dew and cigarettes.  She loves both!  Thankfully, she’s down to just one cig a month.  The old timers say that tobacco is a good natural wormer.  I think Buttercup just likes the notoriety of being the only farm animal here that likes it.  Helps with her tough persona, you know.  Really she loves Mountain Dew more.  It’s so sweet and bubbly!


In the end, one tree net 11 HUGE bags of nuts.  We think at least 500 pounds in the husk.  Crazy!  Could you imagine if you had 4 or 5 of these trees!


I had to make a barracade on the fence because Buttercup figured out that I had planted two little apple trees a little too close to the fenceline.  Darn it.  Now I have to think about moving them or building some little sheild to protect them for awhile.  The goats are not often out in the middle, but now and then.  They could strip those little trees in five minutes, given the chance.  I guess I will move them…


The next day, we loaded up the truck with all the nuts and headed down the road a bit to some of our Amish community neighbors!  One family buys these things!  Well, sure thing!   We went down and they were so nice and said, sure thing, start loading them in the hopper and they cranked up this machine with a little generator attached.


It grinds off the thick green husk and dumps it into this truck to be composted.  I hear you can make some pretty dark dye and ink from these things, and I’m sure because they get all over your hands!


Do I have to tell you how much we love our truck, Tiffany?  She is really a Godsend.  Honest.  We went 5 years without a truck and I think, now, we will never want to be without one.  She is a hoss and just worth her wait in cabbages.  Let me tell you!


Up the little conveyor!  Into the grinder!  Some needed a little help to make it up…  walnut5

And poof!  Out the other end into nice airy green sacks, the husked walnuts, ready to cure a bit and then go on to be cracked.  We were so surprised…  we knew that the pay was only 14 cents a pound and so we thought after husking we were looking at a few dollars!  However, we actually ended up with 220 pounds and a nice little check for $30 bucks!  Justin and Tim probably used it for gas and pop money, maybe even lunch!  I was happy, because all those nuts were going to good use!  I guess maybe we need to invest in our own Nut Wizard for the coming years!  Looks like it might pay itself off in the first year!


Look at all those nuts!  Ours was only 4 bags, but still, pretty cool!   And all the pumpkins as well!  Crazy how much of the local harvest goes through our area.  You can find all sorts of good things all over the place if you know where to look.  We will be getting pumpkins and ground apples for our livestock in the next couple weeks.  We try and get as many big pumpkins as we can and store them through the first part of the winter for the animals as pumpkins are a great food source and the seeds are natural wormers as well!

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While we were working on the nuts, this gentleman in an open buggy showed up and I thought it was kind of funny, but he just parked and got out…  and his horse just waited.  No tie up or anything.  I guess he knows the routine!  walnut8 walnut10

I just like driving around in the Amish areas…  love their farms, all neat and tidy yet with lots of equipment and such about.  It’s a sort of busy, but tidy look.

And I love that they have sheep and lots of other animals about as well.  This herd was relaxing near the road!  The colors of the leaves are just starting to change.  Another week or two and we will have some lovely fall colors on the backroads.  I think we will have to go on a little photo tour!

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Well, when I stopped to drop Justin off at his house with some odds and ends from our farm that he wanted, I found a few things at his place that I wanted!  haha…  we horse trade back and forth… He had a bunch of stuff in the yard for a yard sale, so I spotted this old farm sink and said, ooooh!  Me!  Me!   And so we struck a deal and into the truck it went.  It’s going to be a potting table in my new courtyard garden!  How cool is that?

And he gave me 4 bushels of windfall apples that were getting a little wormy…  my crew had a wonderful couple days of goodies, let me tell you.  First a bunch of lovely green leaves off the cut branches and now 4 bushels of apples!!!  Harvest time means goodies for everyone!

So that concludes the WIndhaven walnut harvest for this year!  $30 in nuts, a new old sink, apples, and a fun experience in southwestern Michigan Amish country!  walnut13

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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.

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