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Location: Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ah, Nuts!

At this time of year, I often reflect on -- well -- nuts! We have numerous black walnut trees, the fruit of which hard to crack and bitter, but I'm told makes good cookies. Our two major trees are very mature and produce on a good year -- okay, that's subject to ones' perspective -- upwards of 3,000 nuts. There are several other trees that are fairly young but are working toward the same production.

We also have squirrels. They are co-conspirators with the trees in filling our yard with those messy green nuts. And they are sometimes yucky. The hulls have a substance in them that, when starting to rot, will turn anything they contact black and smelly. There is only one way to get all those nuts to the place where we collect them and leave them for the squirrels. We have to bend over a picket them up. I try to push or kick them into piles so I only bend over about 250 times -- that's my share, figuring five nuts per bend.

We put our collection of nuts on what is left of the outhouse roof (conveniently on the ground under two youthful black walnut trees) so the squirrels can find them easily. They delight in planting them where they will spout and cause more consternation.

It seems to me that, through the ages, people have developed a lot of games in which one uses a ball very much the size of a black walnut still in its shell. Boccie and jai-alai use a ball about the size of a walnut with the hull still on it, while golf uses a ball a bit smaller. These games were undoubtedly invented by youngsters sent out to collect the nuts so their poor granny wouldn't break an ankle stepping on one and got distracted. Ah, nuts!


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