Nov. 5, 2020
Be a Crow
The best time to go walking with chin pointed downward, I’ll wager, is when you’ve been in a funk. There is so much on the ground to see this time of year, like clues or crumbs from somewhere better. Wear a hat. Turn it upside down and collect what a crow might begrudge you: acorns, fat and shiny; bay laurel nuts, encased in wrinkling skin and waiting to be roasted; and black walnut carapaces, cracked open to reveal the signature of an owl’s face or a pig’s snout (pictured here).
In California we are just shy of rain, but I can feel it brooding in the belly of the sky. This means, as a forager, that tree-scattered gifts are soon to return into the earth, aided by water and mold, the true fertile funk of it all. The wonder of winter is that things disappear. But for now it’s still autumn and not too late to make black walnut ink! Gather any lingering husks + nuts, boil, steep, strain. It’s as easy as that. If you are unsure about IDing different types of walnuts, read my article from last year’s deep dive.