I guess it's official. We are walnut farmers, and today began the harvest of our first crop. Our farmer called at 8:30, to tell me that the shaking would begin soon. I drove out to the property, and saw this equipment parked out front.
This long lean machine is the shaker. It starts the work. Do you see the brushes, in front of and behind each wheel? They brush the nuts out of the way as the machine zooms back and forth.
I think this is the blower, but now I'm not so sure. It looks more like the scraper, that pushes the nuts to the center of the check.
Maybe this is the blower. hmmm. I thought I had it straight this morning, but now it's hard to remember. I should have taken more than 80 pictures, as apparently I did not take enough.
The shakers began at the far side of the checks. We could hear them rumbling and roaring, and the house rattled constantly as they shook first one tree then another.
The noise grew as the machines moved closer. I could gradually make them out as they emerged from clouds of dust.
Here you can see the machine grabbing the tree. It then shakes it violently, for about 15 or 20 seconds. I was amazed by how quickly the shaker zipped back and forth across the check, shaking this tree then that tree then yet another. zig zag zig zag shake shake shake.
This is what it looks like, when it's raining walnuts.
At this point, the west trees have been shaken and the machines have moved on to the east trees. Look at all those nuts!
I left for a few hours. While I was gone, they blew the debris away from the nuts and scraped the nuts into long piles down the middle of the checks. Then a big blue rumbly machine barreled back and forth down the rows, scooping up the nuts. If you click on these pictures, you can see much more detail. The rumbly machine is crossing the far side of the dirt road, going from west to east.
Once it's rumbled by, the orchard is quiet, filled with rays of sunshine, like a magic fairyland. Only it's a filthy dirty magic fairyland, with the rays of sunshine captured and reflected by the airborne dirt.
Hard to believe that's dirt? Believe me, it's dirt. This is a green car that was not dirty over the weekend.
But it's all worth it, as you see this bin full of walnuts go barreling off to the dehydrator. wow. We really did grow some walnuts. This was the second load I saw leave the property. yay. I guess there were more nuts than I thought!
And finally, we've still got nuts. This tree was shaken at least 4 times, if not more, yet look at all those nuts still on the branches.
As soon as all of the machinery is out of the orchard (possibly this evening, possibly tomorrow morning), we're to do one more round of irrigation, then shake them once more.
I don't know about you, but I found all of this fascinating. Growing walnuts has been quite the education!!
Walnuts: They're good, and they're good for you! :) Buy some and make a farmer smile. :)
P.S. Diana & Heather. I've wanted to respond to your comments, but you don't have an email link on your blogger profiles...
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