Ah, the colors of change

The pasture and corn field across from the jersey dairy farm on my way to work.

Winged Wahoo bushes (also known as Burning Bush) on our Sunday hike. This is an invasive species, but is still sold at most nurseries because of it’s brilliant fall foliage. We have one next to our house, and it is indeed brilliant!

A wild flower’s end of life. It was golden, Rod.

The trail is over-arched by old (and Ethan says creepy) shrubs.

A trail we did not take, yet admired.

The trail we did take.

The hay field down the road, just after dawn.

Magic commute

Yesterday morning was foggy and beautiful. There is an intersection on my commute that is right next to a wandering stream. The morning fog just lifts off and obscures the sun on these cool fall mornings.

All the poor spiders will have to wait until the fog lifts and the sun dries out their webs

Busy weekend

Last weekend was an interesting one. We had our first “soft” frost! It was exciting, even if it only lasted until the sun shone on it.

We have several black walnut trees in our yard, one big, and 3 smaller. All produce walnuts, but the big one is full. It is scary to see the occasional hailstorm of almost baseball sized hard green walnuts pelting the earth. So far none of us have been caught under the tree at the time. The kids go out and collect the fallen nuts daily and put them in a large box for shucking later. On Sunday I shucked 130, about 1/6th of a box. I wore latex gloves to avoid getting stained hands, but I will wear something thicker next time.

I placed each nut on the side of a cement well house foundation, and then hit it repeatedly with a hammer until the nut came free of the husk. As I did this, the juice would splatter here and there. I may have a few temporary freckles…

It was a somewhat laborious process, but in the end I had a 5 gallon bucket 1/3 full with shucked walnuts. I let them soak, and cleaned them off. Once I was confident I was not going to get any more remaining husk off, I rinsed them and laid them out to dry.

Black walnuts look quite a bit different than the english walnut you might buy in the store. They are smaller, but have a very rough shell, and are usually husked by placing (or leaving) them in the driveway and rolling over them with your car. We have already collected 3 times as many as you see here, and the tree still looks full

In other news, we now have 2 rabbits, Ginger and Cottontail. The story behind them will be the next post, but for now, say “Awww!”

Turn the page

Big step for the Michigan Shacks. We are now officially home-owners. We also own a garden tractor (like a riding mower, only you can put a plow, tiller, cart, or even a back hoe on it), a shed, a pole-barn, and 1.61 acres of land. That is a lot of grass.

I know these are not really of the house, but we had more reasons to want to live here than just the house…

The next step? We plan to built a chicken yard in which to place a coop, and a few layers. Hillsdale county fair is at the end of September and we fully intend to win a few small livestock auctions. There may be a few rabbits in there too. Still not sure about a dog, but that may be around the corner. We will hold off on the goats for a little while. Maybe in the spring.