I Got Nuts

Last year I made a tool to pick up walnuts, but I had no opportunity to really use it. Just when the tree was in full bloom, late frost came and destroyed everything. Well, at least the tree got some rest and it is not like we are wanting walnuts – we still did not eat all we had.

And this year’s humid and cold-ish summer seemed to agree with the tree mightily. You can try and count the nuts in this picture but it would not be easy for they are difficult to spot and there are many, many, many.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And this picture was taken after we already have several kilos of shelled and peeled fresh walnuts in the freezer, several kilos drying in their shells for long-term storage, and giving several hundred grams of low-quality ones to birds in the feeder each day. Which I suspect that a squirrel takest, for I doubt tits make them disappear this quickly.

So these last few days I go twice a day with the ladle and pick the nuts. The first that fall still have some green stuff on them (as seen in the picture) and are usually of lower quality.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The tool works like a charm. No aching back and legs, no effort. I can easily scoop any nuts that fall in the nettle patch, or in the raspberries, or on the tarpaulin covering pool at the end of the sewage cleaning facility. After I pick them, my father cleans them, and in the evening when watching TV he and my mother crack and sort and peel them.

Yesterday most of these mixed-quality nuts were already down and what is falling now are mostly those where the husk cracks on the tree so the nut falls first and the husk eventually follows, so no additional cleaning is necessary. From experience, these are usually of a higher quality and when dried and stored properly, they last for years in their shells. However, I am a bit at a loss as to what to do with them. I no longer have colleagues to whom I could try and sell the excess, and it seems I will have more than enough to satisfy the whole family’s needs for years. Like I said, we still haven’t eaten all we had from two years ago.

I wish potatoes grew this way.


  1. Tethys says

    My, what a lovely tree. Your squirrels must be very plump and well nourished for winter with all that bounty.

    Is there anyone at your former workplace that you could contact about buying the excess?
    It is also very common in rural areas here for people to sell things like apples or nuts. They usually just post an “X For Sale” sign at the end of their driveway, and it’s hobby work for taxation purposes. ( ie. not considered income as it’s seasonal and occasional).

  2. Jazzlet says

    I am jealous, our tree is very much smaller, it’s only about four years old, though it has started cropping lightly. However a gale in spring blew every single nut off the tree, so we have none at all thins year.

  3. says

    I have a wonderful 70-80 year old walnut tree that has masses of walnuts every year. Unfortunately, there are also squirrels who take the walnuts from the tree before they can fall and I almost never get any.

    Just once, in the 25 years I’ve been in this house, I got lots of walnuts. I can only assume that the resident squirrel died that summer, and didn’t get replaced until the next year…

  4. springa73 says

    Congratulations on a great crop of walnuts!

    Walnuts are uncommon around where I live, but we have lots of hickory trees, which are North American relatives of the walnut and produce nuts that look similar but are almost never eaten by people because they are said to be very bitter and unpalatable. The squirrels and chipmunks* love them, though.

    *Not sure if you have chipmunks in Europe -- they’re smaller than squirrels, reddish fur with stripes down the back, and more burrowing rather than climbing/tree dwelling like squirrels.

  5. johnson catman says

    When I was growing up, our family had pecan trees in the yard. Most years we had decent crops, but some years we got a bumper crop. My father had a device that was on a long handle with a bin with stiff springy wires on the bottom. You simple pushed the device down on the pecan and it would push through the wires and into the bin but the wires were stiff enough to keep the nuts from falling out. When it got nearly full, you could dump it into a bucket. No bending, no muss, no fuss. Fortunately, we didn’t have a lot of squirrels. Not sure why. Of course we could never get 100% of the nuts, so when we raked up all the leaves and burned them, there would be tiny explosions in the fire where a pecan would burst. And my mother always made lots of pecan pies for the holidays. I miss the free pecans. My wife has to actually buy pecans now for our holiday pies.

  6. StonedRanger says

    I use something like your ladle for picking up agates in the water when Im fossicking. Its called a sand dipper and its length is adjustable from 3 to nearly 6 feet long. (1 to 2 meters) It has a wire basket and is made of aluminum so its quite lightweight.

  7. Ice Swimmer says

    The tool is quite similar to the ladles used for pouring water on the stones of a sauna stove. Just recently one of the saunas I frequent got a new ladle, which has a socket connecting the bowl and the shaft as well as a hook on the outside of the socket so that the ladle can hang from the open stove door and not touch the floor (the steam coming from the stove, löyly, should be clean).


    There are ground-dwelling squirrel-related critters in parts of Europe(, but not here in the North). No actual chipmunks.

    Giliell @ 8

    Of course, Germans should love German nuts 8-). Walnut, both the tree and the nut are saksanpähkinä in Finnish, which means German nut.

  8. says

    @Giliell, you can buy a grafted tree and plant it. Now is a good time for that. Unfortunately, it will take years before it starts bearing fruit and your kids will in the meantime grow up. But you have mentioned that you have a very damp garden near a small creek -- that is an ideal place for walnut trees, they need a lot of water. Mine stands at the end of my sewage cleaning facility, near the pond where the clean water goes before it seeps into the ground. I think that is one reason why it grows significantly faster than my neighbors, who planted hers several years earlier but the tree is several meters smaller now.

  9. Jazzlet says

    @ Charly and Giliell
    You can buy modern cultivars that fruit (nut?) far earlier than the older ones, which is how I have nuts to be blown off the tree we have, it’s only around five years old. As well as earlier fruiting it should also end up smaller than older varieties so it’s more suitable for gardens. I think it’s called Broadchurch, but even if it isn’t a good supplier should stock it or something similar suited to your locality.

  10. lumipuna says

    Walnut, both the tree and the nut are saksanpähkinä in Finnish, which means German nut.

    Back in the days of Hanseatic trade, anything fancy and foreign you could buy in Finland was assumed to be import from Germany, or literally Saxony. Walnuts* were probably actually grown there by the late middle ages, though the tree itself originates from further south and east. BTW, I understand that the English “wal” means similarly “foreign”, in contrast to the native hazelnut. The word originally referred to some specific Celtic tribe in Roman times, then Romanized Celts generally, then after Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain either Celtic lands in the west (Wealhas) or former Romano-Celtic parts of the European mainland.

    *Specifically European walnut (Juglans regia). Other walnut species from North America and Asia are called in Finnish jalopähkinä or “noble nut”, again presumably because they’re more impressive as trees than the native hazel (traditionally called just pähkinä, though nowadays the fruit is known as hasselpähkinä). Walnut tree is also often called pähkinäpuu or “nut tree” in contrast to the hazel shrub (pähkinäpensas).

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