Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – A Typical Day

girl playing fiddle old woman working on black walnuts

A typical day: Chitter playing fiddle tunes on the back porch while Granny works up black walnuts.


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  • Reply
    March 5, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Get that hulling box made before she ruins that chair.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Oh forgot to say I sure remember those white buckets sitting by your Mother. My parents used them and so do I but I can’t remember if something came in them or they just bought them.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2020 at 10:30 am

    My goodness black walnuts are delicious but a real undertaking trying to get those nasty stain causing hulls off the walnut! My parents used the hammer. What really caught my eye was the “cane chair.” I’ve seen them all around at my grandparents home and the sitting reminds me of front porch sitting in the summer or sitting on chairs under a tree during the stifling heat of a MS summer. Wonderful places to shell peas or snap beans and hopefully catch a breeze that would cool just a wee bit while you listened to wonderful family stories. Sometimes during the fall, my parents and I would sit at a round table in the house cracking pecans and picking the meat out. Of course at that time, we were able to find a pecan business and bought over a bushel of just cracked pecans. Harder to find today.

    • Reply
      March 4, 2020 at 10:50 am

      Nothing like a little music while you work.

      • Reply
        Ronald Mctaggart
        March 6, 2020 at 3:50 am

        You guys do realize the stain of the Walnut hull is a natural remedy for ringworms

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 4, 2020 at 10:09 am

    Tipper–I’d suggest that Granny leave the in-the-hull walnuts out in the weather, maybe atop an old tarp or something similar, until the hulls turn black and begin to wither. They are far easier to “work up” then than when still green. Of course there’s still the matter of stain–it’s always there.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    March 4, 2020 at 9:23 am

    I learned very young I did not like walnut stain. Dad had a special very hard gravel place where he scattered and ran over with large truck. It must not have been effective, because I don’t recall any jars of walnuts around the house. Patience is a virtue, and Granny must have much to crochet and hull black walnuts.
    My eye caught the shower chair which is a most useful item. It can help one weed a garden when you cannot bend, and just rinses off with hose. Where there is a will there is a way! I also sometimes use grandson’s old hard plastic water board to scoot around and weed. One lady brought hers to community garden to sit on while her husband planted. The young gardeners there don’t think there should be weeds.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 4, 2020 at 8:58 am

    Matt needs to make Granny a wooden box with a hole in it that’s smaller than a walnut with a hull on but a little bigger than actual nut. You lay one on it and hit it in the center with your hammer. It pokes the nut through and leaves the hull on top. It’s not perfect but it beats splattering walnut juice all over yourself and everything around you.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 4, 2020 at 8:07 am

    You got to really love black walnuts to spend the time and hard labor it takes to hull and crack them out…not to mention the nasty stain from the hulls!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 4, 2020 at 7:43 am

    Granny makes me think of the fella I helped pick up walnuts back in October. We were well on our way to getting a Chevy S10 pickup bed full when I asked him, “How do you hull these?” His answer stunned me. He said, ” Hammer. ”

    What tune goes best with walnut hulling? I suspect just the time together was its own reward though. That picture is kinda iconic of Appalachia alright. Lots of elements; cane bottom chair, walnuts, the porch, the woods close by, the two generations, the fiddle and even Granny’s practical hat.

    My brother and I lived with our Grandma for about two years while Dad worked up north. We three used to sit in the basement at night, each with our own stone and hammer, and crack walnuts and hickory nuts. Altogether I’m sure we spent hours doing that. And we never thought there was anything odd about it. I still don’t.

  • Reply
    Doug Bishop
    March 4, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Oh, yes! A my Mom Moms house working Black Walnuts ! Having that black stain on our hands for weeks afterwards !

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    March 4, 2020 at 6:54 am

    I really enjoy this…….It always takes me back to a different place in time.

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