Nuts

Growing nuts is not something people talk about very much. I couldn’t tell you why.

That said, I like eating nuts. Why not grow some? Especially hazelnuts. Yum. And with Raintree in WA, no worries on the postal system! (Oregon won’t ship hazelnut plants to Washington.)

Almonds

Something I just learned: Almonds and Peaches are related. It makes more sense to me now after some of the peach recipes I found in the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. In her Peach (and Cherry) recipes, she will often have you save some of the pits and then crack them, peel them, and include the ‘pit’meats in the fruit mixture as it cooks. Apparently it imparts a almond-like essence to the final product. Well there you  have it folks. It’s all coming together.

But what doesn’t anyone grow almonds in Walla Walla? Answer: I really don’t know.

Overly cautious (because seriously, why don’t people?) I land on the Titan Almond at Raintree Nursery. “This unique almond tree boasts extreme winter hardiness, so it can grow and fruit successfully far North of where other commercial varieties have frozen out.” In the little picture I’ve created, I have two or three trees dotted around as landscape eyecandy with a purpose.

Hazelnuts

“This small tree prefers a cool, wet climate. Filberts flower in mid-winter.” Hm. Maybe as foundation plants where they can enjoy a small microclimate of slightly-less-arctic winters? Aha. Zone 5. I’m Zone 7. How did I not notice this before? Well, I’ll keep it under consideration.

Raintree Nursery also carries Beech Nuts, Walnuts, Pine Nuts, Chestnuts, Butternuts and Ginkos. Yes, Gingo’s make fruit and nuts, if you have male and female trees. Most places don’t plant both because of the serious mess and the considerable stank, “the ripening fruit has no aroma, but if left to rot it has an unpleasant rancid smell.”

Honestly, none of these are too good to miss. Maybe Gingo would be fun if I put them out near the animal area. I love Gingo trees as they are, their fun leaf shape and fall color. Plant a couple and see if the fruit/nut is anything worth fighting the birds for.

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Staying Safe: Geese

By all accounts I’ve found, Geese are great guard animals. They understand the members of the homestead as part of their ‘flock’ and behave accordingly. I don’t really expect them to run down a coyote and I don’t need them to watch the front door from strangers, but I do think they’d prove handy with keeping the birds safe.

In one of my early posts, I mentioned the Great Raccoon Attacks of Twenty-Twelve. Those jerks were so ruthless; the idea of guard geese came up. It seemed like a lot of bird for my little yard but if it ever got that bad again, I might reconsider. And with land, well ho, bring’em on.

After some poking around, I think I favor the Chinese Goose. One of the last I thought I’d want (Sebastols are so curly and cute!) but they have a certain sensibility about them and the “good forager” aspect tickles my fancy. There is just no reason to invest in birds who aren’t invested in their own future.

chinese_geese

There’s also been a lot of talk about foie gras so the idea of geese have come up in more than one manner. I haven’t eaten foie gras, or even desired to. I am not sure if I would. But you should know this about me: I kind of want to make it all happen from scratch, likes and dislikes aside.

To date, this leads to a lot of sauerkraut being made and never eaten. I seriously just bought a second tome on fermentation that is fermenting out in my car. I don’t make sense. (However, this fermented mirepoix is amazing. I really did make it and really have cooked with it and it really didn’t kill us is good.)

Every goose has a liver, so these bitches can definitely become foie gras too. Word on the rue is that Toulouse geese are the ones to raise for eating. And when you look like this well, frankly I’m not surprised. I’ll support it but I won’t do it myself (care about and/or make foie gras), maybe we’ll throw a couple in.

toulousegeese