Sunday, October 19, 2008

Haley's Day with the Old Folks

She started the day learning to make fried eggs with her Poppa Larry while I stayed in bed a little longer (hey, I was tired from all that traveling!). They cooked a good country breakfast of homegrown eggs and sausage, toast with elderberry jelly, Earl Grey tea and coffee.

Then Haley and Larry went outside to get in wood while I unpacked, did laundry and cleaned house. They hauled in two loads before stopping for lunch.

Who is that girl in the tree, and how did she get up there?

After lunch we found baskets and buckets and headed for the black walnut trees to gather in some of the bounty these trees have produced this year. Haley wasn't contented with getting the nuts that had already fallen; she had to get up in the tree to shake it. Mind now that it was over 12 feet to the lowest branches! She used her Poppa Larry shoulders as a boost and then shimmied the rest of the way up to the first branch. I don't think I've ever been able to do that in my entire life.

Hickory nuts were next. Haley was fascinated with them; she got two rocks and cracked a few to see how they tasted. I have to say she was no help gathering the nuts--she spent the whole time cracking and eating them!

Haley drives Larry's truck over the wlanuts to de-hull them. What 13-year-old girl would not want to drive this hunk of truck?

When we finished that chore, Larry started making pear-and-apple cider. Haley decided to see what black walnuts tasted like, so using a few of the nuts I gathered last week, a hammer and a pair of pliers, she cracked some. She was amazed at how delicious fresh nuts are. They're not easy to get at, being tough to crack, hulls to deal with, etc, but the flavor is astonishing.

Haley and Larry took turns with the cranks to make cider and ended up with about 4 more gallons. Three will go in the freezer, and one we'll let go "hard." (We experimented with a gallon recently, and I will tell you it is good! A little kick, but not much. We left the lid loose on a gallon jug and left it out at room temperature for 3 days. Then it went into the fridge with the lid still loose for anothr couple weeks. Today it was perfect--fizzy, a bit of a bite, and a bit of a buzz--very like the Hornsby's hard cider you can buy at some stores.)

While they made cider, I made homemade Italian wedding soup and blackberry-peach cobbler for dinner. A loaf of crusty bread, some fresh cider and we had a wonderful supper. Then we lit the fireplace in the log room and for the first time this year, the big Fisher stove in the living room and settled down to read and relax.

I was sorry to see Haley go home, but she and Poppa Larry have plans for a squirrel hunt sometime this week.

Sounds like another good time is ahead.


Matthew Burns said...

Now it's not nice to make me envious of all that good food you describe. Also, nuts, oh sweet, precious, heavenly-tasting hickory nuts.

Sounds like you all had a great weekend.


City Mouse said...

Wow - That sounds like an awesome few days, and that's quite a climb Haley got on that tree. The real treat for me would be the apple and pear cider though!

Tracey said...

Sounds like a wonderful day!!!

Deborah Wilson said...

Black Walnuts are my favorite. There is a little parlor in Cherokee, NC that sells the best homemade BW icecream I've ever tasted. I can't remember the name of the parlor...

In second place is Pecans. I love Pecans....

In Georgia Pecans are pronounced:


Granny Sue said...

Oh yeah, peeecans--that's what I've heard them called by a few neighbors up here. Love those things and they are certainly easier to shell than walnuts and hickory nuts.

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