Part of our property has an abundance of black walnut trees and my husband suggested we check if anyone in our area buys the nuts.
Turns out a company called Hammons has a buying station nearby. I called and they pay $18 for 100 pounds. I envisioned how this would be a great teachable exercise for Ellie, who’s almost-eight. She would learn the value of being paid for work, about saving money, and basic math. It would be fun for the family.
My husband, Charlie, in response to my vision, says, “I just want to walk through here without turning my ankle.”
It’s okay to have different dreams.
So, to get an idea of the project, I grabbed a 2-gallon bucket and timed myself as I filled it. Five minutes. I weighed it on the bathroom scale. Ten pounds. So ten buckets = 100 pounds in less than an hour – easy.
Then Charlie mentions they might weigh them AFTER they’re hulled. This is something I hadn’t considered.
I called and confirmed it was true. I did some research and learned it takes 220 pounds of walnuts in their hulls to get 100 pounds in the shell. It was going to be more work.
And it was. Four of us spent a few hours gathering nuts in buckets and bags. Our backs became weary and even though we wore gloves, our fingers became stained black from the overripe walnuts.
We filled the back of the car with the fruits of our labor and headed to the farm store. The hulling machine chugged to life, and we dumped bagfuls of walnuts into its bin. A conveyor carried them up and into a covered area which separated the nut from its hull. It conveyed the remnants in the opposite direction and dumped into a wagon, and the hulled nuts deposited into a mesh bag on the other side.
The final weight was 75 pounds. $13.50. Divided by four. $3.38 per person.
Which was exactly how much Ellie needed to buy a tiny pumpkin and some cat treats from the farm store.
We didn’t have conversations about savings, nor did we have lessons in math. We had little money to show for our efforts. But what we had, though, was time spent together. And that was priceless.
See a short video below.