Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nuts!

I think the squirrels should be doing well this winter as we had a world record acorn crop this year. Daily sweeping of the deck produced bucketfulls of the fruit. I slipped several times and almost fell in the back yard filling the bird feeders. Worse than ice, I thought at the time. And the ricochet shots off the roof in the middle of the night were more than a little annoying. Still we love our white and burr oak trees. Almost as much as our beloved butternut..... The Juglans cinerea. It has distinctive ridged and furrowed bark. It produces drooping clusters of sweet nuts which are used in baking. It grows to 40' to 60', 35'-50' spread. This tree grows at a slow growth rate but was already mature when we bought our first home on Oak Hill. Although it does best in full sun, our butternut still did well surrounded by white oak trees. The fruit is a tapered. oblong, 1 ½"-2 ½" fruit covered with sticky hairs which encloses a brown, corrugated, thick, 1"-1 ½" shell that terminates in a point. The oval kernel is tender with sweet, oily, buttery flavor. The butternut or white walnut is one of the hardiest nut trees, A North American native, the nut has a rich, buttery flavor used in baking, confections, and eating fresh. The attractive, light golden wood is used for paneling and furniture. Its nuts are valuable as food for deer, squirrels, and birds. And so early that fall I raked together the fallen nuts and placed them on the sun deck to air and dry. A few weeks later they were placed in a basket and left on the deck for further airing. My intention was to shell them around Thanksgiving time.Imagine my surprise when I checked on them later to find that every single one had disappeared! Who would sink so low as to take such an item from a person who had carefully gathered the harvest for the winter? I was appalled. I figured that the perpetrators had brought a box and dumped my treasure into it, leaving the basket as a sick reminder of their crime. To say I was ticked would be somewhat of an understatement. Reporting the loss of my nuts to the police or the insurance company didn’t seem to be the way I wanted to go either (he chuckles to himself). So life goes on and their were many other fall chores to finish. One task was to cut down a dead quaking aspen which loomed over my garden. Chain saw in hand I headed out into the woods. The tree was about 60 feet tall. Now aspen is a very soft wood but after I notched it and made the final base cut, it went down very quickly. Rather too quickly, I thought, until I realized the tree was hollow. And there to my huge surprise was the mother load of butternuts. All safely stored away for the winter. How sweet it was! I’m not a revengeful person at heart but property rights must be respected and these nuts were mine!
Well, as they say, "all’s well that ends well." I used the vise in my workshop to crack open the nuts. They were so sweet. Not holding a grudge, I made sure the squirrels were well fed that winter with corn and sunflower seeds. Sadly though, the butternut tree is gone now. The people who bought our house next door to our new one in the woods, sawed it down. Apparently raking up the butternuts was too much bother.
And so leaving the feeders well stocked, we prepare to leave sub-arctic Minnesota for the desert. There the grandchildren await the arrival of Santa Claus. And we hope "warm family times" await all our blogging friends wherever you are located this holiday season.
Troutbirder and Mrs. T.

20 comments:

  1. laughing at you finding your stolen stash in the hollow tree! :)

    safe travels to you to warmer climes!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The butternut! I remember it from my girlhood. No butternuts here in Nashville. Just big old walnuts that I would have to smash by backing a car over them. Actually, I might try that!

    ReplyDelete
  3. A shame they didn't realize the value of such a tree. Hope your holiday is grand !

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hope you have a great time in the desert, after taking such good care of the critters who steal from you! I had to laugh at the perfect symmetry of you getting your butternuts back. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. We used to go the local park and collect nuts for the squirrels in our backyard. They are so clever when it comes to hoarding their stash of goodies.
    Stay safe and have a great time with your family. Take pictures - it's been a while since we've seen the grandkids. Bet they have really grown.

    ReplyDelete
  6. With the price of sunflower seed this year I think I would have saved those acorns even.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Neat post. Love the Butternut phase of the commentary.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Revenge is definitely better when served cold. It's only fair that the butternuts should come back to you.

    Glad the tree fell in the right direction. And that you decided to take it down given how hollow it really was.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ha! You got them back! Too bad they took that tree down it must have provided some dense shade!
    The acorns are/were terrible..I am still slipping on them in the yard..I had to rake them and take them by shovel full out of the front yard. But I still like the Burr Oaks for the deep shade!
    Have a good trip to a land of warmer weather.
    I am sorry that you had a rotten week too..I will say some extra prayers for you and Mrs T.
    Travel safely:)

    ReplyDelete
  10. enjoy your trip to the desert and those grand kids.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm glad you were able to recover your butternuts from the squirrels, although it's too bad the tree is now gone.

    Have a safe trip and a wonderful time with the children and grandchildren. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a great story, TB, and very well told! I grew up in Western Michigan, but am not familiar with the butternut tree. Have a safe and wonderful trip and time with your precious family.

    ReplyDelete
  13. A great tale about a fellow with a frisky tail and a great instinct for storing Winter Wealth!! (And I'm sure he was grateful you had placed them together so conveniently!) ha.

    Have a wonderful time in those warmer climes. We'll look forward to your future posts when you return!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Lovely story, but how could those people chop down that wonderful tree? Makes me sad:(

    Hope you and the family have a wonderful Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Enjoy the family! See you in 2012, my friend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Merry Christmas with the Grands.

    I'm looking forward to Christmas in the Desert photos in future posts.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I recall my Aunt Alice stepping out to her patio onto acorns--fell and nearly broke her neck, did break a leg. We had butternut trees when Mrs R and I lived in NYSt--ccracked them with a vise.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, and safe travels!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm glad you replenished the squirrel food after you confiscated their stash! Haha!

    Have a safe trip and a wonderful Christmas my friend!

    Best wishes for the New Year!
    xo Catherine

    ReplyDelete
  19. Merry Christmas to you.

    I can easily spend hours enjoying the antics of those bushy-tailed squirrels. It is amazing how much they can say with those tails.

    Our house is in the part of the subdivision that used to be fields. Our trees have gotten tall in the nineteen years and now we are just starting to get them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great story! Squirrels are not my favorite mammal. We have still not found a fool proof way to keep them out and away from our bird feeders. Any tips??

    Enjoy your winter respite, but most of all the grandkids!

    ReplyDelete