Made of Walnut Collection

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

February 8, 2024

Welcome to Carrot Ranch Literary Community where creative writers from around the world and across genres gather to write 99-word stories. A collection of prompted 99-word stories reads like literary anthropology. Diverse perspectives become part of a collaboration.

We welcome encouraging comments. You can follow writers who link their blogs or social media.

Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.

Walnut Vs Walnut by Sweeter Than Nothing

“It’s barbaric, the most disgusting thing I have ever seen, to turn your back on your own kind like that. As if it isn’t bad enough to be penned in, picked off one by one to be tortured, killed and fed to the monsters… Have you seen what he’s made of? That’s walnut, I bet my nuts on it! That makes it cannibalism to boot!”

The nutcracker glared at them with his glassy-eyed stare, teeth bared menacingly.

The walnuts shuddered, which one of us will be next? They all wondered.

“Fancy some nuts?” The monster asked, approaching the showdown.

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Friends, Emotions, And An Object Made Of Walnut! by Hugh W. Roberts

I’m glad they liked my choice of walnut. It’s always been a favourite of mine.

“It’s beautiful.”

“They say walnut is the best, and by gosh, they’re right. He’d have absolutely loved it.”

“Doesn’t it polish up nicely? Look at the shine.”

“I wonder how much it cost? Such a shame.”

“A shame? He’d have loved it.”

“How do you know?”

Those were the final words I heard, apart from a serious-sounding muffled voice.

And how true it is about hearing being the final sense to go as your coffin gets lowered into the flames.

Flaming walnut. Great choice.

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Buying a Desk by Joanne Fisher

“Hello, I’m looking to buy a new desk.”

“Well we have plenty here. This is a popular one.”

“Yes it’s very nice. What’s it made from?”

“Walnut.”

“Walnut?”

“Yes.”

“They must have needed hundreds of them to make a desk this big.”

“You misunderstand. It’s made from the wood of a walnut tree.”

“Oh that makes more sense. I was trying to imagine them building this desk gluing lots of walnuts together. I was having a lot of issues with it.”

“I see.”

“This is a nice desk too. What’s it made from?”

sigh “Cherry.”

“Did you say cherry?”

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Nuts, Ancient And Modern by Geoff Le Pard

For decades, no one stayed loved-up for long in Little Tittweaking, due to the presence of a number of rare uncoupling walnut trees, whose repellent sap is well known for preventing troths being plighted and ensuring trysts were missed. In one tragic case, Arnold P. Stachio and Ethel McAdemia sought to consummate their love beneath one tree; as the sparks flew, this ignited the sap and immolation replaced ecstasy. Finally, local aboroterrorist, Colonel Kernel ended the tree tyranny, through the application of prayer, meditation and a chainsaw. As the headline put it ‘at last the nuts have been screwed’.

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Walnut Wood Chest by Sadje

It was always there, standing grandly in the foyer- a deep chest made out of walnut wood, carved in an intricate floral pattern.

My mother bought it when my father was posted in Azad Kashmir as it is a specialty of that area.

It had many uses till we had it. Mostly it was the storage space for spare bed linens and towels. If someone wanted to hide something from other siblings, it was our go to place.

On its periodic cleaning, often many hidden toys, candies etc were discovered.

It was finally donated when my father passed away.

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The Wedding Box by Dianne Borowski

When we moved from grandpa’s house I took the small walnut box engraved Joseph and Jennie, May 1, 1901 with me. It was pretty. My grandpa Joe was a carpenter. He had a workshop in the basement where he made wonderful things. He gave me the box and told me to keep it and not to tell anyone,

One day mom found the box. She was angry and took it from me. I never forgave her for that. Years later I gave it to my daughter who had it appraised. It was worth a few dollars but priceless to me.

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The Dresser by D. Avery

“Well?” he’d asked expectantly. The ornate dresser was sturdy and functional as well as elegant. His smile faltered when she’d offered only that it was ‘imposing’.

“Walnut lightens over time, my dear. Over time you will come to love it.” His cheery conviction stung her cheeks. She assented. Of course she would.

These many years later, laying a hand on its smooth surface, she felt the solid weight of the dresser through her fingertips. She’d never been asked if she wanted it. The color had lightened, but its elegance hadn’t won her over. She hadn’t come to love it.

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Visibility by Reena Saxena

Those faces painted on walnut shells drop out of the drawer. Some have faded like memories. Others remain to be crushed under the weight of revenge.

His furniture business takes him to Kashmir quite often, to source good quality walnut wood. But he never saw her again.

Was she taken away by those across the border, or is incarcerated in a den to ensure invisibility?

Yes, visibility is a challenge in terrorist-infested states – both for beautiful women and policemen in disguise.

He chalks out the specifics of what he plans to buy or spy. It’s a long day ahead.

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She Was Not Made of Walnut Stuff by Charli Mills

Wendy stopped watering that gnarly knot-wood of a walnut tree in the space her great-grandmother called a yard. Nothing but blow-sand, puncture-vine, and a twisted tree with leaves like leather. Three generations of Begues hauled water by the bucketful when the ditches ran their allotment. Why didn’t someone plant a nut in one of the irrigated hayfields? It would have impeded the harvest but saved the backs of her matriarchal line. There was satisfaction in revving her Stihl to eradicate the walnut. Inside, the wavy grains told a different story at its core. Of patience, Wendy did not inherit.

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Thumbellina with a Walnut Heart by Kerry E.B. Black

Hans Christian Anderson’s Thumbellina began life birthed from a barley blossom, nestled in a cradle carved from a walnut shell, until she was stolen from her adoptive parents, to become an inappropriate bride. She escaped vows with assistance until she found herself in a land of flowers and wings, beloved by all – especially her prince.

I wonder if the tiny woman, akin to Tom Thumb, graduated from florals and wings to craft for herself a heart as nobby, thick, and strong as walnut, tough to crack, but beautiful in its strength, as we in worlds outside of cultivated pages must.

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The Tea Shop by Colleen Chesebro

Aunt Magnolia’s tea shop looked dilapidated. I gazed at the display shelves filled with lavender candles, delicate teacups, saucers, and teapots. Glass jars filled with different varieties of loose tea leaves filled another self. A fine layer of dust covered the displays.

Two carved walnut cabinets ran across the middle of the shop with a gap in between for the servers. On another cabinet, sat our aunt’s Russian silver tea samovar. The silver glowed with an otherworldly light in the dim room.

How would we bring this tea shop into the twenty-first century?

I smiled. The possibilities were endless.

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The Walnut Dresser…Salvaged by JulesPaige

She didn’t like the walnut dresser. She had wanted to burn it. But he kept it in the barn. He’d use it one day… after the children had grown and moved away. After all the cold years without warmth. Filled with duty, obedience. Even if he were the first to go… his will had a proviso that she didn’t know about. When she died…she would not be buried in the family plot. But in one of the drawers of the dresser he saved. That’s where her ashes would be placed and buried where the old walnut once stood proud.

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Remodeling Our Home by Nancy Brady

Before getting much older, Rob and I wanted a house in which we could live comfortably on one floor and, hopefully, in the same neighborhood.

Touring this plain-looking house, we decided, with work, we could turn it into our home.

For several months, we worked, tearing out carpet, repainting rooms, combining the kitchen with the dining room, and creating our bedroom from the former kitchen.

Rob was installing a header for the new kitchen cabinets. He cut through the drywall, discovering hand-hewn nails in black walnut posts and beams holding up the old house, built like a pole barn.

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Walnut Peaks by Vignette Swanepoel

“How’s the pie doin’?” Ben asked.

“Almost there,” I said.

I was asked to bake a pie for family dinner, so I chose my favorite, walnut pie. The recipe said to take my thumb and press down on the crusts to create mountain-like peaks. After, add the walnut filling and put it in the preheated oven for forty minutes. When the pie finished, I took four porcelain plates and cut even slices. The recipe said to add cream, but I also sprinkled cinnamon on top with leftover walnuts.

“Pie’s done,” I said, putting the plates on the dining table.

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Walnut Oat Box by Ann Edall-Robson

Strolling out of the tack room, Buttons called for his little friend.

“MUS, where are you?”

“Up here.” The mouse called from the hayloft ladder.

“MUS, you need to quit chewing on the old walnut grain box.”

“It’s not me. It’s those squirrels looking for handouts. They think the wood tastes like nuts. They’re a bad bunch.”

“We need to tell our people what’s going on.” Replied the cat.

“How are we going to do that, Buttons?”

Smirking, as only a barn cat with attitude can. “Miss Ann!”

“Miss Ann?”

“Yes! Her pen and imagination can make this happen!”

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An Ambling, Rambling Mind by Bill Engleson

So, it’s walnuts is it!
First thought, wallflowers.
No particular reason…it’s an easy leap to wals…make that, walls.
Nuts would follow but I don’t want to get personal.
Never do.
A wallflower in my own mind.
Wallowing in self examination.
Waltzing Matilda, which gets me nowhere.
Certainly not Australia.
My cousin went there decades ago.
Eventually got deported.
And not for smuggling walnuts, which might not be a thing.
Or maybe it is, and I’ve missed the boat.
Had a recipe once, veggie meatloaf, principally made of walnuts.
Tasted pretty close to the real thing.
That’s it.
Walnuted out.

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Walnut Face by Duane L Herrmann

It is a face my cousin made, a schnitzerei. He carved it from a tree root, looks like walnut, I call it walnut – my walnut face. It looks very Bavarian, gnome-like, as my cousin is. He lives in Reckendorf, Bayern. We cannot speak the same words, but share the same love and admiration for each other. Language is more than words, there are also gestures, but love is the most powerful of all. The face grins at me, and I at it. It is my cousin’s face. We grin a lot when together, yet that is not enough.

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Fine-grained by D. Avery

His name was Walton, but everybody called him Walnut.

Some said he was called Walnut because he was hard and tough as walnut wood. Some thought he looked like a walnut, especially as he aged.

Others actually said he earned the name because he was toxic, hard to be around. He’s a hard cased nut, some quipped.
Even his wife called him Walnut. Because she knew he had the strength and wisdom of a walnut tree. Knew that there was great beauty underneath his rough bark. Knew that inside his hard shell he was soft and sweet.

She knew.

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The Walnut Dresser by JulesPaige

1
As a young man he had saved the old walnut tree. Had it cut and dried. It would be made into a dresser for whoever his new wife would be. What he had not counted on was her reaction to his gift. The beautifully crafted tall boy with more drawers than anyone should need. He even had leaves sculpted up the sides, had the bureau standing on thick legs with claws on the front two. The eagle on the scroll work top looked proud. It was an unfortunate start to that marriage that she thought the gift ‘mighty’ ugly.

2
My Mother-in-law was in her early nineties when met the widow in their retirement home. The Widow related how she made her husband get rid of what she thought was a gaudy piece of furniture that wasn’t simple and dainty like some of the dressers in the Sears Catalog. The dark stained oak seemed overbearing and those walnut eagle eyes seemed to be alive. That piece of furniture wasn’t going to be in her bedroom or her house! I can only imagine how much the man must have loved her to rid their home of his carefully planned gift.

3
I could not tell you if the gent and his new bride had been the result of an arranged marriage, which was very common back then. They made it work. But did the husband bend to all her demands, or was he able to be as stout as that beloved walnut tree – occasionally, gently, and without regret – get his way or have his say? I do not recall what happened to the chest of walnut drawers. I can only hope that it didn’t get cut up and used as firewood for keeping the woman warm, in cold Pennsylvania winters.

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Black Walnut Cake by Sam Kirk

“There it is,” Nicole pointed to the three-tier, black walnut cake with raspberry spread.

“I can’t wait to share a piece with my wife,” Bruce kissed her on the cheek.

Nicole smiled and blushed at the thought of what else they would share that night.

As the cake was wheeled closer, terror grew in Nicole’s eyes. Bruce followed her stare to the damage on the front of the cake. ‘Oh!’

“It’s going to be OK,” he looked into her eyes and squeezed her hand.

Nicole’s gaze softened. Not because she forgot the damaged cake, but because she believed him.

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I Feel Like a Complete Nut by Niels Christian Olfert

It didn’t take me long to realize my body was being slain by the 2S albumin and vicilin-like proteins that comprise walnuts. My antibodies were making my tongue swell and my horrible date across the table must think I fancy her thus. I felt like a nut for eating that salad, not double-checking the food allergen chart. I paid a high price for wanting to speed up my worst date ever and now I was being nutified while my voice cracked.

“I’ll be at the loo a minute.”

I shot up, my date eagerly eyeing the emergency exit, herself.

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Walnut by Kate AKS

To find walnuts in the grass is a basic form of treasure hunting. With fingers remove the green pulp to find still wet wooden box that tries to save what is inside. Little pressure and shell breaks to open what is inside, covered with tiny skin sweet whiteness of the walnut heart.

Your mouth became wooden, your fingers became brown like after hard work. If you close your eyes you remember all this, just looking is wood is dry enough. Now from the walnut will be table. He’ll hear new stories that will entangle with his lost already roots.

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Wooden Ya Know by D. Avery

“Shorty went right fer the Juglans with this one.”

“What’re ya talkin ‘bout Kid?”

“Walnuts, Pal. Juglans.”

“Oh. Meanin, the walnut fam’ly?”

“Actually, Juglans is the genus. Family name’s Juglandaceae.”

“Guess yer bein specific.”

“Ta be specific, I’d prob’ly say Juglans nigra, the eastern black walnut. They grow wild. But it sounds like Shorty’s family grew a Juglans regia, English walnut. Easier eatin.”

“Gittin recipes off the beavers now?”

“Thinkin ‘bout harvestin the nuts.”

“Ya are what ya eat, Kid. But thinkin Shorty means ta write ‘bout the wood of a walnut tree.”

“That’s pretty hard.”

“Knot fer you.”

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Thank you to all our writers who contributed to this week’s collection!

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12 Comments

  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    This group of writers sure carved out some fine stories from the prompt!
    I was glad to see that Kate included harvesting walnuts, a “basic form of treasure hunting”; I remember foraging butternuts and walnuts as a kid and how sticky they were, their green hulls staining your hands black. I feel bad for anyone with a nut allergy, especially Niels’ mc. Some of these flashes made me hungry! And Nan, did that discovery alter your renovation plans?
    Walnut is a true giving tree, providing nuts for nutrition and wood for myriad uses and inspiration to writers of 99 words. Well crafted, All!

    • Charli Mills

      Walnut inspired many different turns of the story wheel. Some great humor, too (I was giggling over Joanne’s character and their innocent confusion between wood and nuts for a desk). Todd tells a story of eating so many walnuts when his grandparents visited (appropriately, from Walnut Grove, CA) that he developed an allergy. I’ve not had walnuts in our house for that reason, but I remember walnut cakes as featured in Sam and Vignette’s stories and can see them on the shelves in Colleen’s new fictional tea shop. From the humor/horror to boxes and dressers to the barn cat and ambling to masks to the poignant treasure hunt, ended with a Ranch Yarn (oops…gotta fix that link), walnut has a grain to be admired and enjoyed.

  2. Colleen Chesebro

    I was surprised at all the different ways to describe “walnut.” This was such a good prompt! Thanks, Charli.

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, the joys of expansion, Colleen! Hope you have ideas for uses of walnut in your Tea Shop!

      • Colleen Chesebro

        The walnut cabinets are a part of the scene. LOL! I’m keeping a list of the prompts. I hope I can find use for more in the book.

      • Charli Mills

        Ha! The prompts can help you explore your characters, setting and action.

  3. Sue Spitulnik

    Thank you to all the contributers this week. What a great mix. I sat here with nothing coming to mind. I even did a bit of research and found nothing useful. I applaud all of you for creating what I could not.

    • Charli Mills

      Sometimes the prompt can be a hard nut to crack, Sue! 😉

    • Charli Mills

      Worthy of art made from fine-grained wood!

  4. Jules

    Well crafted nutty stories. Thanks to all who wrote about the nuts. I’ve got something called Horsechestnut… kinda like walnuts. But not good for horses or humans either. The outer green shell is thick, and then there is a black layer that can stain, finally the nut, which isn’t easy to get – and there is a little bitter triangle piece that you don’t want to eat – it will ruin a whole batch if you are so inclined to mess with ’em. Not like the English Walnuts that are ‘brainfood!’

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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