When a few Nuts Communicate Your Dreams

A bunch of nuts got together last week and produced a quart of beautiful brown ink.

A dozen black walnuts sat in my stock pot (RIP) for six days, alternately soaking and simmering depending on whether or not we were home. By Friday, the brown was still pale, so I kicked up the heat and by Saturday the color was deep brown enough to do right be even a primordial statement of basic freedoms, rights, and purpose.

My daughter, a fourth-grader learning some basic Connecticut history, managed to write the very beginning of the Declaration of Independence and the first paragraph of the very beautiful Constitution. She wrote with one of the turkey feathers my dad had negotiated from the nearest tom and his wife and that her dad pared into a rudimentary fountain pen.

In addition to combining art, history, science, penmanship, and iterature--and how to ruin a stock pot--the experiment drove home a lesson of the spirit.

Following a recipe from a woman re-enacting a Colonial officer's wife, we learned that with very, very little--some nuts on the side of the road a dash of salt and a spoonful of vinegar--we could create more ink than we could need for ourselves. We had enough to pen our memoirs, love letters, thank-you notes, and more. The labor involved was negligible, really. This task was unlike many other Colonial-era tasks that were time-consuming and labor-intensive.

I have thought about the ingenuity and drive of the person who made this ink the first time. He or she likely needed the ink and had no choice but to make it. What was the first message communicated with this ink? It must have been very dear to the writer.

As my daughter transcribed the first paragraph of the Constitution, I had a glimpse of the heart and soul that went into survival and, ultimately, success back in the day. But the colonists didn't merely survive; they thrived and pushed and pushed until they could get together and write visionary documents worthy of transcribing and then taking to heart:

"We, the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

What a few nuts can do....

(Click here and see a 2.5-minute video on the process.)


  1. You mean they didn't run to Staples to get ink?

    Just kidding. That is an interesting process. The turkey feather pen is priceless.

    Have a great day.

  2. Anonymous11:21 AM

    Wonderful post Sandy,
    Wonder if they could use the 'nuts' that call themselves politicians and put them to a similar use :)

    How times have changed.

    ps: You have an award to collect sometime to add to your collection: http://grottynosh.wordpress.com/2007/09/25/awards/

  3. Anonymous6:40 AM

    So much then took quite a bit of patience. And some nuttiness to actually accomplish. Wonder if Lewis and Clark did this on their journey. So far the book I',m into mentions them having to do all sorts of things, but they haven't yet made ink during a stop. It was either that routine, or they had brought plenty with them from St. Louis.


Post a Comment

Thanks for being here.