|A pair of dripping wet black walnuts hangs low over my porch after a morning drizzle.|
photo by Jonathan Schechter
Today is the first morning of autumn. Daylight and darkness are equal. Not quite. The actual moment of equal day and night in the Northern Hemisphere occurs slightly later north of the equator. But none of that is really important. What is important are natural signs of seasonal change, not a date on a calender. And when black walnuts rain down like summer hail it signals me summer is over.
This year I will gather some of those nuts and not leave them all for my nut-happy squirrels.
Before reading more know this:
Black walnuts usually dangle in pairs.
I went to the Internet to check methods of de-husking and stumbled on a fact I learned long ago in New England when I was a bearded, long-haired, tree-hugging, happy young hippy absorbing everthing I could about nature and wildlife at Goddard College in Plainfield Vermont, a town with more cows than people.
I will share that fact with you.
17th Century Swedish naturalist Carolus Linneaus was the father of systemtic botany. He developed the two-part naming system using Latin still in use today by botanists.
You knew that!
Enter the Greek God Jupiter, the Great God of the Sky and Thunder.
One powerful dude with many female admirers.
I knew that!
Black walnut was named Juglans nigra, with Juglans short for "Jupiter's glands."
Go back to the picture on top and look at the nuts again:
Now you understand the rest of the nut naming story!
Greek God Jupiter with an unidentified lady friend.
He also liked hawks. Note hawk to his left.
(photo not by me)