I thought this year was going to be pretty hopeless for walnuts. I had gathered a good crop from the one decent tree on my land last year and had not expected the same again in 2009. I had also taken my eye off the ‘resident’ squirrel population so when I was gazing up into the branches back in August I was not surprised when I couldn’t see many. I was delighted,therefore, after strong winds one night at the beginning of October to find the ground littered with nuts. I hastily gathered then up and took them back indoors to process. One of the downsides to gathering walnuts is the tannins in the husks. Despite wearing gloves this year my hands were still stained, first a yellowy brown rapidly becoming nearly black! It doesn’t wash off,takes weeks to,quite literally, wear off and receives horrified looks when you go to shake someones hand! This does ,however, remind you just what an effective dye plant it is and I had been asked to save the husks for this very purpose.Here are some of the walnuts and the husks (to the right) drying by the woodburner.