Sunday, September 21, 2008


We discovered termites in our back shed last week, so Brian started spraying right away. Since doing so, we haven't seen any on or around the building. Nice work Brian! This is the only part of our property that isn't insured, and Brian just bought another Jeep (soon to be blogged), so I think he's pretty worried about the structure. We negotiated that he could purchase as many Jeeps as he wanted (within financial reason), but he's not allowed to have vehicles on cinder blocks or under blue tarps in the yard...everything must be in a building. Thus, this building is critical to his expanding Jeep collection.
These are also good shots of Brian in his sexy work coveralls.

The shucking continues

Well, we're continuing to shuck black walnuts on a daily basis. Our tree is dropping a grocery bag full almost everyday. It's almost hard keeping up! We have the process down to a science, exchanging running over them with a car to simply using a splitting maul (Brian's bright idea). The evening here are still warm, so we have a great time at the end of the day shucking in the driveway watching the dogs run after apples.
The kitchen table has been our drying location for the last two weeks. I tried the basement, but without a dehumidifier the nuts just molded. We have a fan on them almost constantly, so we're making great progress. We decided to crack one open yesterday to see how they were coming. As it turns out, we don't have a nutcracker, so we used a hammer. It seemed to work pretty well, but I think we'll invest in something that doesn't demolish the nut quite so much. From what I've read online, walnuts only have to dry 2-3 weeks, so we should be cracking by the end of the month!

Hope- soon to be unemployed...again

Well, after a month on the job I decided to resign from my position with La' James International Cosmetology College. It just wasn't a nice working environment and I hated going everyday. Taking that, poor benefits, and some better positions with the local community college coming available, Brian and I decided it was best to cut our loses. I've never bailed on the job before, so I'm working through a bit of guilt. I interviewed for community college position last week and have another interview set up for this week. We'll see what pans out!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Harvest Time

Today Brian and I decided to harvest some of our apples and start shucking out black walnuts. We finally purchased a ladder so we could reach some of the highest apples. (The best apples are always at the top of the tree, you know.) Here's Brian setting up the ladder and each of us taking a turn climbing it.We decided that maybe the apples aren't quite ripe yet and that we should wait a few more weeks, but we had fun hanging out in the orchard. The apples we picked were still a little tart, but they'll be delicious in pies and dumplings.
The dogs, as usual, were very helpful. Dawson has recently learned that he can jump up and pick his own apples instead of eating the ones on the ground. Smart pup! Shucking the walnuts isn't quite as easy as picking apples, so we decided to use my car to run over the nuts and get the husks off. This system worked pretty well and we have about 100 walnuts drying in the basement. I imagine we'll be collecting nuts for many weekends to come. Black walnuts are wonderful and I can't wait to make a batch of brownies using them...probably around Thanskgiving. If anyone knows how long black walnuts have to dry for, let me know...

Visiting Aunt Jean and Uncle Gary

On Saturday Brian and I took a ride to Harper, IA to visit with his Aunt Jean and Uncle Gary. Unfortunately the battery on our camera was dead so there aren't any photos, but we had a wonderful time! I hadn't met either of them before, so we did a lot of chatting, toured their beautiful acreage and gardens, and met their two black labs and three cats. When we arrived Aunt Jean had lunch waiting for us- complete with fresh tomatoes and homemade blackberry pie. For dinner we went to the Amana Colonies for a homemade feast! We were sad that we couldn't stay longer and can't wait to go back and spend more time with them!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Picking our first apples

This weekend Brian and I picked the first apples from our own orchard. We don't have a ladder yet, so Brian climbed one of the trees to get the best apples from the top.They were still a little tart, but were delightful with some sharp Vermont cheddar and a bottle of local raspberry wine. We had our own little picnic on the side yard...Mattie and Dawson were, of course, invited to hang out in the sunshine.The pups have decided their favorite fall pastime is to sit under the apple trees and munch away until they get tummy aches.
Happy fall!