Firewood Treasures

Black Walnut
(Juglans nigra)

In 1972 I purchased a one-acre farmette near Taneytown Maryland. On the back corner of the property stood an old black walnut tree. Year after year it produced a bountiful harvest of nuts. It took me a couple years to figure out that the easiest way to remove the husks was to cover the old driveway with the nuts and then run over them with my old ’69 GMC pickup. That problem solved, after a bit of hammer work, we never wanted for the crucial ingredient needed to make a huge batch my Grandfather’s black walnut cookies every Christmas.

Several years after I left Taneytown, I learned that our magnificent tree had been cut down to make way for a house on the neighboring lot. That winter I journeyed back home to see if anything remained of the tree. To my horror, I discovered it in pieces lying half submerged in a swamp. With no small amount of effort, I was able to retrieve most of the trunk of the tree. After splitting the sections into half-rounds and allowing them season for several years, I found the wood to be in excellent shape, despite its cavalier treatment. So, while my old friend is gone, it yet lives on in the objects I have found buried in its heartwood.

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