Living Off the Land – Black Walnut Sketch

Juglans nigra - black walnut watercolor and micron sketch

Live off the land…that’s what I want to do…literally. My goal is to pay off all dept, sell my house, and live somewhere off-grid (no electricity, gas, etc). Bye, bye rate race…you can kiss it!

I don’t know if this will ever be a reality, the spouse is not thrilled and doesn’t see the light, but I thought I better start practicing. So after living next to black walnut trees (Juglans nigra) for 13 years and ignoring them, this year I will harvest them! Not an easy task; First I must outsmart the tree rats (squirrels) and collect them off the ground before they do, next I have to take the hull off (green part) and let the shell underneath dry out for months (storage may be a problem), and finally crack the nuts and enjoy!

Before my battle, I took the time to make a watercolor sketch. This may just be the easiest part of the whole process. I will let you know how it all works out. I’m serious about this living off the land thing, I also bought a rain barrel and will be harvesting rain water.

Wish me luck, maybe I will be sketching walnut cake in a few months!
PS While living off the grid, I will have to be near a public library to access the web! 😉

A special thank you to Dave from Osage Orange for inviting me to submit a post on Berry Go Round!


  1. I’m with you Christine – just give me time to pack my bags with granola bars, freeze dried fruit, portable rocking chair, pillow I’ve slept on for 40 years, paint supplies, journals, tent and bug spray!

  2. Soak the husks over the winter, just covered in water with a lid on it. In the spring, strain several times and boil the black water way down to a thick pigment soup. Dry on a plastic disposable tray and collect the dry powder. Store cool and dry and reconstitute for a lovely black walnut ink. Also works for fabric dye.

  3. Christine, I love your goals and watercolor sketches! You sound like Sam Gribley. One of my favorite books has always been My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. I think I read it first in 6th grade and try to re-read it every now and then so that I can live off the land vicariously. Looking forward to seeing walnut cake in the future. :0

  4. Alanna: Let’s go! I think we need to head south…too cold here in winter. hahahaha

    Shari: THANK YOU! I’m gunna try it! Then I’m gunna paint with it!!!! Oh I’m so excited 😀

    jwms1: Sam sounds like my kind of fellow! I think I’ll have to read how he does it from the library! Thanks!

    cindyinsd: Yummmmmm brownies, all that work must make them taste even better!

    Holly: Awe, that’s so sweet! Thank you!!!

  5. One of the easiest ways to get the green hull off (after it’s turned dark brown) is to lay them on the driveway and run over them with the car. It will take the hull off but not crack the shell. Picking out the nut meat is a good evening watching tv activity.

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