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Want to buy some black walnuts?
October 22, 2013 - Chuck Hunt
I cleaned up leaves and black walnuts out of my yard and driveway last weekend. Four trailer loads to the city of Blue Earth brush site. By Monday morning it looked as if I hadn’t done anything; there were a lot of leaves and walnuts that had returned. Especially the black walnuts – they returned in greater numbers than before. We have picked up a lot of the green and black, strong-smelling things this year. After picking up only about four total nuts last year, we have picked up hundreds and hundreds this fall. It is a prolific crop. The squirrels are having a hay day. Cars driving by on the road create a multiple popping sound as they run over the nuts on the street. We picked up enough walnuts to fill two large boxes and two five-gallon pails and gave them to a friend who actually spends the winter cracking them open and saving the nuts inside. It is a lot of work to do that. Then, when he had enough to crack, we continued to pick up several more buckets full, several more garbage cans full and also tossed hundreds into the trailer along with the leaves to go to the brush site. And there are still more to pick up now. The sad part? There are still a bunch in the tree, ready to fall. That is right, I said ‘tree.’ We don’t own a black walnut orchard, we have one tree. And, that one tree sits on our property line, so half of its walnuts actually fall on my neighbor’s yard. So, that means that all of these black walnuts I have been talking about are only half the output of this one tree. It’s crazy. And, scary. The tree throws more walnuts at my head while I am busy picking up those that are the ground. And our tree is not the only one in town doing this. Every black walnut tree in Blue Earth – and there are quite a number of them – is dropping tons of the things. Farmers and old timers tell me that when there is a bumper crop of black walnuts and acorns from oak trees (and there a lot of those this year, as well) that it means we are in for a long, tough winter. If they are right, and judging by the number of walnuts my one tree has pooped out this fall, we are in for one horrendous winter the likes of which Minnesotans have not seen since the end of the Ice Age. Based on my black walnut crop, I predict snow as high as an elephant’s eye and temperatures so cold even the hardiest of Minnesotans will be booking a flight south come January.
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