Homesteading, What a Way To Go - From Back Woods, To Back Yard, It's a Ball! #fff

2개월 전

Time flies and there is no stopping it. As days pass like seconds, sometimes we need to look at the past, to realize the breakneck pace of life.
It's hard for me to believe, but the first trees on our tree farm were planted 10 years ago. When we first planted Black Walnut, Black Cherry, and Figured Poplar trees, many of our grandchildren were not even around.


By looking at the trees ten years later, it is easy to measure that time, as the saplings have grown into viable trees.
Over that time we have also grown, and we now consider ourselves pretty good homesteaders.

As the next ten years continue to become history, a full blown canopy should shade the forest floor.

IMG_5099 (2).JPG

Over the past ten years, it has taken much care to establish such a beautiful and productive woodland.
There are no shortcuts in maintaining a project like this, if one is to stay true to the belief that chemicals of any sort are

When the trees were first planted, moles were a big problem. Sure, chemicals would have taken care of that problem, but what else would have felt the effects. This is a live trap for moles as well as voles. It is baited with a piece of apple. It leaves no FOOTPRINT.
This approach takes some time baiting, checking and discarding the catch, but getting rid of these varmints in this fashion is reliable, and done without any collateral damage.

Now that the trees are older, this is no longer such a big problem, as the root systems are well developed.

Using hay as bedding, and also to deter the growth of weeds, is a great way to go. Much better than some sort of fabric or plastic.
The process of spreading the hay from the trunk of the tree to the drip line of the tree is no small feat.
With over 300 trees presently planted, it takes over 100 bales of hay, and several days of spreading out the hay.


For years, not wanting to use

and creating a situation like this, the weeds surrounding each and every tree were pulled by hand.;_ylt

A farmer that lives up the road a piece, turned me onto this little home remedy for killing weeds. This remedy has saved us countless hours of work. The best thing is that it leaves no FOOTPRINT.


The ingredients in this concoction include white vinegar, epsom salt, and Dawn liquid dish detergent.

  • 1 gallon of vinegar
  • 2 cups of epsom salt
  • 1/4 cup of dawn dish detergent.
    This is mixed in our sprayer, and will be applied at the base of every tree.

I was a little skeptical the first time I tried this method, but it worked like a champ.
Once again, a way of dealing with a problem without the use of chemicals.

This is just the second year that the walnut trees have produced any walnuts. Knowing, that years of using poison was not part of our routine, these beautiful nuts look very appetizing.


Last year's crop would have provided us with some walnuts if it were not for the squirrels.
This year it was game on!

Just days prior to this picture, I had checked to see if the squirrels had stripped the trees. With no apparent signs of them squirreling away the goodies, we let down our guard. That was a big mistake, as several days latter the little b------s had stolen over 80% of the nuts.
My first attempt at hindering their thievery was to wrap the trunk with aluminum foil.
I was sure this would solve the problem. By the time I had completed this task, night was upon us.


Later that evening we took a ride on our bikes to gloat over the sure fire remedy we had installed, at a frenzied pace. With the full moon lighting up the night sky, and our headlights glistening off of the aluminum foil, a sense of ease had replaced panic.


Not so fast, is what I could hear the squirrels snickering, as about 50% of the remaining walnuts had vanished.
While inspecting the foil that had wrapped the trunk of the trees, I could see claw marks in the foil. This method didn't slow them down at all, it probably just pissed them off.
We had to come up with another solution. I remembered that I had saved all of the tree shelters that had been placed on the trees when they were young.
We were able to slice the tree shelters, and work a couple around the trunk, acting like a skirt.
By morning I would know if this had worked, or would all of the trees be stripped of their bounty.

The next morning I checked out the situation, and with a sigh of relief, I realized that I had come up with a solution.


Several days later we harvested 149 walnuts.
Yea, there were so few left that I was able to count them, but at least we had some.


It's said that patience is a virtue, and after ten years of waiting it was time to process our very first round of walnuts.


A 3 lbs. sledge, and a hard surface is all it takes to remove the husk.


The color of the juices of the walnut husk is a beautiful yellow, but don't let this fool you. When removing the husk from the nut it's a good idea to wear gloves. The yellowish stain you see on the gloves will turn black as night within 30 minutes. If you get it on your hands, it will take a week or so to finally wear off.


The next step in processing walnuts is to float them. This method is used to determine which walnuts are no longer viable.
You simply submerge the nuts in water, and the ones that float are discarded.
In this picture you will see 3 that have come to the surface.
The shells of these nuts have been compromised, and oxygen has penetrated the shell. These spoiled nuts will float.

Continuing to clean the walnuts is done by placing them in a Spackle bucket half filled with water, and stirring them.
This can be done with a cordless drill and a metal paint wand.


Vigorous mixing will clean up any leftover husk.


The clear water has turned a dark brown, almost black. After repeating this process three times, the walnuts are ready to be put in a rack for drying.


They need to cure for no less than 2 weeks, after that it's down the hatch.

After curing for two weeks the walnuts have turned brown from the stain in the husk.

@farm-mom already has big plans for these nutritious delights. I'm sure she will have me cracking like crazy, at least 50 right off the bat. After that, with the shell intact, the walnuts will last for quite a while, but I don't think long term storage will be an issue.😃


This nice little pile of nuts came from four shells. While trying to take this picture, I could barley contain #farm-mom from gobbling them up.


Hope you enjoyed!

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Hello @ jaynie, hope all is well. What is your son fixing for dinner tonight.😃

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Thank you for the up-vote and the resteem, always appreciated!

Wow - the only question I have is why didn't you plant a whole bunch more walnut tress?!? LOL. Enough to share with the squirrels and not stress about them.

The epsom salt and dish soap IS effective but will ruin your soil over time if used too often. It's a concentrated salt, and the dishsoap IS full of chemicals and not harmless. Weedmatting from recycled cardboard with lots of compost and mulch on top creates heat which will kill the weed seeds. More work up front but much better for your soil and a long term solution.

Nice post. Craving walnuts. :)

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Thank you for stopping by @artemislives. Thanks for the tip on another way of dealing with the weeds around the trees. The solution I use with the salt and the dishsoap, I only apply once a year. Having over 300 trees that need to be addressed is no easy task. I like the cardboard and mulch idea, and will give it a try in the spring. I guess I had better start saving my empty boxes.

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@naturalmedicine thank you very much for the upvote and the resteem. I am very happy that I ran into you wonderful people, like minded folks who take it upon themselves to change the direction of how we treat our environment.

wow, great post and work done by you guys. came across from the @naturalmedicine discord. I am going to try the vinegar, salt and dish treatment.


Thank you for the very gracious words. The concoction really works great @sayee


thanks ♥

wow you have such a beautiful property and I love to hear about the trees that you have planted. It is always trail and error, I have lost lots of almonds this year to tree rats, they are hard to deter, can hear them scratching in the trees at night, got 3 cats and all. Thanks for sharing you wonderful homestead with us all xxx


Tree rats, now that is a good name for these walnut stealing little buggers.
Thank you for your reply and for taking the time to view this post.

Beautiful! It's been a long time since I was able to harvest fresh walnuts. Enjoy!

I love that these trees were planted before any grandchildren had been born as harbingers of good things to come.
My family put the dang things in the driveway and drove back and forth over them for that first step.
Delicious and super nutritious, but tons of work. 146 (after floating) is a lot!
Awesome post.


I'm not sure which one is growing faster, the trees or the grandchildren. Riding over the walnuts with a car, very imaginative. They are delicious, and nutritious, but a lot of work for sure.
Thanks for your reply, always appreciate it when someone takes time to reply.
Have a wonderful weekend.

I bet those are some of the best walnuts you've ever eaten! Another labor of pure love right there. Seeing how much work these are to grow and harvest gives me a new appreciation for how much they cost to buy. Can't wait to see how you use your coveted harvest!

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Upon eating the first couple we cracked open, the flavor was significantly different than store bought walnuts. Sometimes I think it is just in my head, but the taste was somewhat sweet, and if this makes any sense, the texture was also recognizable different.
Yesterday we put the walnuts in a drink that included blueberries, a banana, and almond milk.
Thanks for taking the time to view this post and for the reply, always appreciated @plantstoplanks


I bet! It really is amazing how different fresh and homegrown produce tastes! I really enjoy walnut butter as a switch from peanut butter or almond butter, too. But really there's no wrong way to eat them. :)

That's an interesting process.


Thanks for stopping by @shaidon. It does take some time, but being recently retired, time is mine to do with it what I want.


I wish I had that freedom. Steem needs to moon soon so I can start cashing some of it out.

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At this point, Steem above a quarter would be a start. @shaidon

Glad you found a squirrel solution. They are a problem here on our farm too.


@goldenoakfarm thanks for your reply. These buggers had their way this year, but I do believe I have found the answer. I wouldn't mind sharing 50 - 50, but they decided that they were entitled to about 95%.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Your Food Fight Friday Contender has been entered into Round 65
May your contender make it out alive and not be placed in a permanent food coma!
Good Luck
Have a

This is a great post!! I love how you are so aware of your footprint and the lives of the cute little squirrels. I learned a lot about how walnuts are processed, and I have to say, they look so much better in your pictures than anything I have ever seen in stores! :-) I use walnuts to make fake taco meat sometimes, and I bet yours would taste the best!


Thanks for stopping by @agiftoflove. The walnuts do look a little different then the ones found in grocery markets, and they sure do taste different. Their texture is much smoother, and without a doubt they are sweeter.
I took a quick look at your posts and see you joined this wonderful platform somewhat recently. We seem to be on the same page with some of our habits and it will be a pleasure to see what you post about. I have added you to my follow list and can't wait to see what you have in store for us.
Good luck and have a great weekend!


Thank you @thebigsweed! I appreciate that! We were just talking about the possible replacement of Castile soap as more in harmony with the environment in the weed killing mixture. I love the idea of DIY eco sensitive blends. (I learn so much in the discord for #naturalmedicine). :-) I am definitely following you too.

Hey @thebigsweed, here is a little bit of BEER for you. Enjoy it!

Love love love this post! Thankyou! I've been looking at an alternative for weedkiller for ages, but never hit the right 'solution'. Wondering about the epsom salts though. @wildhomesteading, would love your views on this.

And soooo jealous about the walnuts. My fave Bill Mollison quote goes something like this:

If you don't plant a walnut tree, in 20 years time you won't have walnuts.

I say it for everything hubby goes 'are you sure you wanna bother with that tree' and I'll say well, if I don't plant this ................tree, in 20 years time we won't have ........................ and he shuts up and lets me buy it, haha! Thanks for this great post!!


Love Love Love this reply. It's people like yourself that leave such wonderful replies that motivate me.
I'll have to remember this quote, because it would work in so many different ways.
How can your hubby argue with that rational. He can't, so he might as well grab the shovel and get busy.
Have a wonderful weekend @riverflows.

OMG what can I say? Fantastic post my friend, you are so smart and resourceful.
Walnut cracking day was so much fun, love documenting.😊
But I will never forget, taking the bikes out after dark, to try and hunt down those assturds. What a pisser. I think I did laugh hard enough to be a pisser.🤷‍♂️
The MOON... oooo baby, just breathtaking.
Good job big guy.


That was an awesome night, What a great little adventure we had. When you decided to stop in the middle of the road @farm-mom and get adventurous, capped off the evening.



Dude, Is there a prolific writing school on your farm, too?

@thebigsweed, I could say a bunch of things I typically say but let’s be real, you know how you’re always complimenting my content and truly encouraging me? Well, sir, it’s articles like this that has you as one of my favorite authors.

Keep’em coming, Bob, this was a great article—thank you. Enjoy your weekend with the Mrs.


Thanks for looking in @dandays. I hope all is well with you guys.


You’re welcome. It is.

Love to see your food forest growing and that you finally got to get some of the harvest after your battle with the squirrels!
I never knew it was such a production to harvest walnuts - always thoguht they grew on the trees the way you see them in the store as nut still in the shell. I didn't realize they had an out husk!
I image the fresh picked nuts would have much more flavor than the packed pre-shelled nuts!
Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for taking the time to read and respond @porters. It is hard for me to believe the difference in the taste of something store bought verses farm raised. You would think a nut is a nut is a nut, but the difference is amazing!

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