I'm still working on black walnuts. With each windstorm, more fall from the trees, and after each storm ends, I go collecting. I always manage to stain my hands, because either I've forgotten my gloves, or they rip, or I can't be bothered to wear them. (It's a scandalous idea to think I can let my hands get farmer dirty, since I make my living by working in an office filled with people with very clean, very manicured hands. I've been hiding my hands the same way I did when I had inky hands in college: I was a printmaker by day, and a waitress by night.)Collecting walnuts in Beacon has turned into performance art, since people are so unused to seeing food harvested in an urban setting. While I was collecting nuts under a primo tree on Fishkill Ave. (and staining my hands), multiple cars pulled over to ask me what I was doing. I felt I should have a big sign explaining. "Walnut harvest in progress." Maybe I'll hang some "Pick Your Own Nuts (FREE)" signs on trees around town.
While collecting and peeling nuts, I've had plenty of time to meditate on all the potential uses for the husks: fountain pen ink, wood stain, fabric dye, temporary tattoo ink, goth lip gloss. Apparently, black walnut husk is a standard coloring agent in both hair dye and wood stain.With all this in mind, I'm going to focus on the nuts for now.