OK, maybe it is the squirrels that are mocking me:
As I was clearing some saplings next to my driveway last night before dinner, I spied another black walnut, this time wedged into a crook on a yellow birch sapling. There’s nothing above the sapling except some hemlocks, so this either was dropped by a squirrel from said hemlock, or placed there lovingly if somewhat misguidedly by the critter.
Even though the trees haven’t leafed out yet, I abandoned my brush clearing and went for a walk in the woods, searching for the elusive black walnut. This is the closest I’ve ever seen a nut to the house, perhaps offering a clue to its location. Alas, without leaves, and having had all the nuts and husks cleaned up over the winter by the local wildlife, it’s really hard to make an identification.
I did, however, locate a shagbark hickory that I never knew we had on the property, as well as a hickory nut just sitting on the ground near a pile of deer scat. I wouldn’t sneeze at hickory nuts – good source of fat and protein with a taste like pecans. Nothing wrong with that. And when the tree is done producing, you’re never going to find a better fuel wood – properly seasoned hickory burns with an almost clear flame, incredibly hot, and makes the house smell like bacon. A stone bitch to split, but worth the effort.
So for now, the black walnut eludes me, yet again. At least I found something I can work with for now – even if I have to fight the squirrels for leftovers.