In an ideal world – without bears, Steller’s Jays and squirrels, I would be harvesting my walnuts in another two weeks. Unfortunately this isn’t an ideal world and I found myself having to pick my nearly ripe walnuts today to save them from the predators.
While growing, walnut trees form a nut covered by a very tough green outer flesh. Left on their own, the skin eventually begins to crack and the nut will fall to the ground. If the nuts were allowed to mature naturally I would be able to shake the tree and the shelled nuts would drop to the ground.
Having the bears visit every night makes it necessary to get the nuts before they do. This is mainly to discourage the bears and prevents them becoming dependant on humans to feed them.
With the almost ripe nuts I can step on the shell and the nut will just pop out.
The unripe nuts are a different story. The skin is difficult to cut away even with a knife and those nut will have to sit a while until they can be peeled.
Naturally, while picking I have help.
I was just about to start breakfast this morning when I looked out the window and saw a large bear under our walnut tree. I grabbed my camera and went outside and as I was about to take it’s picture I heard a rustling to the right of me. Up in our grape arbour I saw a bear cub hoping to find some grapes. Fortunately we had picked a few days before in anticipation of either a bear or raccoon raid.
The cub looked quite guilty and quickly climbed down to join it’s mother and a sibling and they went running off into the bush. By the way, deer netting doesn’t work with bears.