Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nut Space for a Nut Case?

Almost eight years ago now, my son decided to move back home.

Initially, he stayed here with us in the "family homestead" but that summer, he purchased an old house up on top of the hill here in the village. The house itself is definitely nothing fancy, does need a lot of work done to it in terms of remodeling, and he's been doing a few things to improve it -at least somewhat- on the inside of the place.

He's actually been very lucky with respect to some of the upgrades and changes he's made as a lot of people simply gave him things that they no longer had any use for -including even kitchen cabinets and counter top that he used which did a lot to improve the kitchen of this old place.

I don't remember now when the garage came into being at his place, but that too was something that came about quite inexpensively. A neighbor of his had also purchased an old house up on the hill and lived in it while building himself a nice, new split-level place and once he moved into his new place, he wanted the old house torn down and in spreading the word around town about that, he offered that anyone who tore the old place down could have whatever lumber was still usable at now charge- a token of his appreciation, if you will, for getting the old place razed.

At that point in time, my former son-in-law was still functioning fairly reasonably and he thought it would be a great way to get materials that he and my son could use to build a garage at my son's place without having to go get a big loan for the lumber and stuff. So the SIL took on the chore of pulling the old place apart and also, he and my son then designed a garage that the SIL then built too behind my son's house.

The garage itself is nothing fancy either but it is stable and workable but there's just one slight problem with it right now.

Seems my son needs just a bit more room -more space -in the garage so he can then put his non-running vehicles that he plans to work on -someday -and get them operational -plus he needs extra room to be able to store his old, but functioning, pickup truck because it's not a good vehicle to use during the winter months. Plus, Sonny-Boy doesn't want to have that truck sit out in the weather over the winter months and possibly begin to rust out or some such like that as it is a bit of a collector's item. It's a 1971 Chevy pickup, painted a bright yellow, very low to the ground (which according to my son, makes it even more valuable, at least to him I guess. I have no clue about things like that.)

Unfortunately, at this stage of the game, there's no old houses around waiting to be torn down that he could scrounge for the needed lumber to add on to his garage and there's definitely no extra funds available in his budget to allow for purchasing the material or even for trying to erect a metal building that could be attached to the garage he already has.

Now, normally something like this would be of little to no interest to me except that right now I really wish he did have a nice, decent sized out-building up there, and it would be outstanding if it just so happened to have a solid floor in it -like concrete maybe?

Now I suppose you're probably thinking why in blazes would I be interested in a garage type building with a concrete floor to boot, aren't you?

Well, my reason is actually quite simple.

You see, yesterday Mandy's boyfriend went down over the mountain to some place he knows about where there are loads and loads of black walnut trees and those trees just happen to have oodles and oodles of black walnuts just laying around on the ground  -free for the pick-up and taking of 'em! So, he loaded up -so far -two big 10 gallon containers filled to the brim, each one, with black walnuts!  Brought them up here and parked them out in my front yard now too, he did!

I'll be honest here and tell you I had never before seen black walnuts! I also had not a clue either as to what is involved in getting these things opened and getting down to the nut meats deep inside them either. So, to improve my knowledge base a bit, a Google search was necessary.

Seems that getting the top cover -if you will -off these nuts and getting down to the shell that then must be cracked to reach the nut meats is quite the laborious project! Indeed it is!

Just to get the top layer off these nuts -which by the way, in their current state they are roughly about the size of golf balls. (My estimation there.) And it says that one needs heavy-duty yellow rubber work gloves, plus a wire brush and a very hard surface on which to place the nuts and then, you either take a sledge hammer or some such equipment to 'em or, you can also drive a vehicle over them in order to break the top layer open!

Now, I do have a nice big parking pull-off in front of our house here however, it is not cemented or paved with macadam -just the dirt with a bit of gravel over top of that which would not make for the kind of hard surface needed to open these darned nuts!

Plus, once the top layer is cleared off, there are certain methods one must use to dispose of that substance or else, some elements in that stuff can poison the ground wherever it happens to get dumped! That, plus the fact that once you do get down to the shell itself, those things are rock-solid -or damned near, according to what I read about these nuts, and it takes a hammer or chisel or somethings along those lines in order to open the inner shell then. And after that, the nuts apparently have to be "cured" (so-to-speak) which is a process that takes roughly 6-8 weeks before the danged nuts are actually really usable!

The way things are shaping up here now with these two big old containers filled with those black walnut balls, I definitely understand completely why the price of black walnuts is so expensive!

Now, if only Ken could find something else that is free for the taking and that would be good to have, useful, etc., and not requiring major construction to use or major labor to get to the substance, I sure would appreciate that.

A nice winning lottery ticket would fill the bill for me!


Linda said...

I'm thinking it would be a heck of a lot easier to just go to the store and buy walnuts than go through all that trouble to try to get those black walnuts open! Sounds like twenty gallons of hard work to me!

TechnoBabe said...

What a great gift dropped right in your lap so to speak, the front yard being in the lap. That does sound like a lot of work but worth it. I hope you take pictures of the entire task so I can see how you do it.

Suldog said...

Well, here's hoping you hit that lottery and get to shell your walnuts :-)

Maggie May said...

Never heard of black walnuts. Brazil nuts are hard to open too.
When I first read that you wanted this property, I thought you wanted to be there for a bit of peace & quiet away from it all!
Now what are you going to do with all those walnuts when you've hit the ends off your fingers and dealt with the poison & the curing?
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Smalltown RN said...

I think it's great to reduce reuse and using old material for a new project is really in good on your son for that!

I had to laugh when I saw you start a paragraph with "Mandy's boyfriend went down over the mountain" reminded me of that nursery rhyme "the bear went over the mountain"...the rhymming song went through my head...

Anyhow, as for those walnuts...sounds like a heck of a lot of work to there a way you could string something through them to make it like a garland,
Or paint them with funny faces...or use them as practise golf balls...just a thought