Thursday, January 5, 2012

Nuts To Squirrels

Another project that resulted from my time on the trails this year has been my attempt to process the wild Black Walnuts that show up in the fall.  I had cursed them in the past and one of our NIACC xc runners even rolled her ankle on some this year.

Once I began to crack and keep the nut meats, I began to learn more and work harder at it in order to acquire enough to use as a stocking stuffer gift for many friends and relatives at Christmas.  I quickly  wore out a simple mechanical nut-cracker that we inherited from my wife's mother and then used a canvas strap and hammer to do the initial cracking.  At Christmas I received a very nifty, heavy-duty cracker from my son. 

The quality of the nut-meats immediately improved.  More whole pieces and less shattered meats.  But what I am perplexed about, is how some squirrels have learned to extract the meats more selectively than others.  I'll load a series of pictures to show what I mean.

Walnuts on the ground

Most squirrels just gnaw the top off

Smart squirrels go straight for the meat

Another beautiful day out and I was able to enjoy a combination of running and walking.  I took some extra time for photos while on this outing.

10 miles for the day.

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