Actually Dad was nutty too. They squirreled away nuts all fall for their nut business. They gathered black walnuts and pecans from their own tree and also from trees belonging to total strangers.
When they spotted a yard with neglected nut trees, they would ask the owner if they could collect there and offered to share the harvest. Usually the person said they didn’t want to bother with the nuts and feel free to take them all.
Dad would remove the hulls and crack the black walnuts, a messy and difficult job. Removing the nutmeats whole made it sell at a premium. He sorted these by sizes with the broken nuts and whole nuts at different prices. Very carefully he sifted and sorted them to be sure no shells sneaked into the final packages.
The process was a bit easier for the pecans. Mom would fancy some of them up by adding spices and sugar and toasting them. These spiced nuts were superb.
She then packaged them up in Christmas tins or mugs for gift giving. Many people came back year-after-year to buy nuts for gifts or for their holiday baking.