Saturday, July 22, 2006

A story about my grandpa

My maternal grandparents died when I was fairly young. I do remember them, but not well. Last fall my mom told me this story about grandpa. He was a farmer in Wayne County, Ohio. As a farmer he worked very hard, but had down time in the winter. To fill this time grandpa would gather hickory nuts in the fall. Then all winter he would shell them and when there were enough grandma would bake a cake.

In my head I imagined grandpa doing this and all the cakes they must have eaten. (Do you see where this is going?) So my mom took the kids out and gathered hickory nuts. Then I took the kids out later and gathered more. Now at this time I was very pregnant with Vivian so the whole bending over thing to gather wasn't working well. I pretty much sat down and scooted around to gather nuts. All in all we got quite a few nuts.

The outer husk of the hickory nut comes off fairly easy, but then comes the cracking. Hickory nuts are hard, very hard. When cracking with a hammer the break into lots of little pieces. And they are not one nice piece like a walnut. There is nut meat in lots of little crevices. I am thinking this must be why hickory nuts are not available commercially. No wonder it took grandpa all winter. He probably only ate a cake or two! We ate none.

So our trip to Lehmans to purchase our mystery object a nutcracker. It cracks those hickories like they are nothing. You still have to pick to get all the nutmeat out, but it doesn't shatter the shell and is much easier.

I haven't gotten a chance to use it much yet. I am elbow deep in blackberries now. I have big plans for it in the fall and winter. We still have some hickory nuts. They stay good indefinitely in their shell. I want to gather walnuts too. I am hoping to not have to buy any nuts for baking.

So Aunt D it is a crusher of sorts. And of course Delilah and jsunshine already knew what the item was. Thanks for guessing!


  1. Yeah you need an awl to pry out the nut meat because it is so small you can't really do it with out one. It is pretty tedious work. We will see if iut is worth it. We may have pecan trees near by, then itwill be worth it. Pecans are my favorite nut!

  2. I am pretty sure my Grandma Wright had a hickory tree in her yard. And I know my Granny and Papaw had several along the lane going back to their house. I remember when I was a kid trying to crack those with a hammer! That is a cool tool. I think I will get my mom one. Thanks for sharing.

  3. That just proves a person is never too old to learn....first time I've seen a nut cracker like that. I gathered hickory nuts last year and trashed them this year. I also have a couple 5 gal. pails of walnuts from last year. I thought I would eat them in the winter but never did.

    Delilah, Grandma did have hickory trees and also walnuts. I saw Jude tonight, he's doing fine.

    Good night,
    Aunt D.