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It happens every Autumn: the black walnut trees so fortuitously planted in front of my house will drop their fruit, day and night. The fruit will fall all by their lonesome, or assisted by some very crafty and very particular squirrels. Why two squirrels feel the need to fight over one nut, I’ll never know. There are hundreds of these tasty gems, nay thousands to choose from.
Last night I found my little dog Teddy hiding between the staircase and the entryway window seat, cowering. I can only imagine that he must have thought the loud explosions that occasionally rock our house (and all the houses close by) must have been fireworks, or thunder, or…walnuts popping beneath the tires of a passing car. Pop! Pop-pop-pop!
I cannot blame him. The sound seems especially loud this year. I even had a neighbor ask me if I thought the walnuts might hurt car tires. “Nope!” I confidently replied.
I mean, I’m pretty sure they don’t. It’s not like I’m a walnut expert, or anything. One thing I am sure of: I bet those squirrels give each other high fives every time a nut is cracked. Free walnut meat! Less work for them…
My home is currently the scourge of the neighborhood. Everyone else’s sidewalks are pristine cement. Mine are littered with the carcasses of walnut shells, dropped by careless squirrels in their rush to get ready for winter. The first year or two or three living here, I would rush out at the sight of the first shell, and sweep and sweep and sweep, only to come out seemingly fleeting moments later, and the sidewalk would be completely littered again. Those squirrels are fast.
But far worse than those bits and pieces are the walnuts that fall whole. They are large things, about the size of a billiard ball. Mother nature has cleverly designed them to fall at the same time as the leaves from the same tree. So you have these hard little balls wrapped in somewhat slimy, slippery covers buried beneath pretty little leaves. I pray for our mail carrier every day not to roll their ankle! You have to watch every step you take and dither and dance and waltz your way across my lawn.
Not to mention what it does to my mower. It’s amazing that I have any windows left unbroken once that mower spins them in and flips them out, I tell you…Flip! Zing! THWACK!
Still, I’m grateful for the shade, and I would never, ever consider getting rid of them. Ever. I hope they live for years to come. I hope they outlive me. And know this, fellow Rolfians: every time you snap, crackle and pop by my house, I smile.
Also, FREE WALNUTS!! FREE WALNUTS ON PINE STREET!! All’s you have to do is pluck them from the ground. All the while avoiding angry squirrels, of course…