Today was a nice, calm, cold autumn day perfect for storing up nuts for winter and bike riding. We really did store up some black walnuts today. Joel and I collected them behind Voodoo Too Donuts two days ago and today we set to processing them. We started the day off by shucking the outside husks, turning our hands black and yellow (this should last for a good 3 days or so!). We shucked about half of the walnuts and a quarter of them we dried them in the oven for a couple hours and the other quarter we laid out in the basement pantry. We'll see which is the better method.
Then Joel and I went to the food church but they ran out of bags so we just got bread and lemons (for lemonade). As we were walking to our bikes I spotted some mushrooms so I picked them all quickly so I could study them and figure out what they were (though my ulterior motive was to find out if they were edible). Alas they were not edible, they were Scleroderma verrucosum which is a kind of pigskin puffball.
Also, over the last week I've had a perplexing mystery in my life regarding chestnuts. I've documented the fruits and the seeds but I'm lacking the leaves which would be the most helpful key to identifying them. So this is my photographic essay of chestnuts this far.
This is the horse chestnut/Ohio buckeye Aesculus hippocastanum, easily identifiable and very common.
This is what I believe is the American Chestnut, Castanea dentata.
And this is mystery chestnut three. I found it when Joel and I were hiking near Hood River. If anyone has any clue I'd be more than happy to know. I didn't see a tree around that these pods seemed to belong to.
I got the American chestnut when Joel and I were test riding bikes in the Laurelhurst area. It was a lot of fun because the bikes we were riding were absolutely wonderful. I was riding the Torker U-District which is a single-speed light and fast bike. Joel was riding this year's model of the Yuba Mundo. Both were major improvements over what we both ride now so both of us felt like we were floating on clouds (even on the uphills!). I've been dreaming about it ever since I handed it back to the bike shop guy. *googly eyes*