Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Tale of Two Pears

My Confession
I have a confession to make… There was one not so long ago which I lusted after. Actually, there were many from the same family, and I would have been happy to have any one of them. They were all sweet and had the perfect shape of a pear. Carrie wanted one too! I could almost taste her in my mouth…

If you haven’t guessed yet, she was a pear.

My Find
A couple of months ago, I happened upon a tree in my neighborhood by a sidewalk which was loaded with pears. Our previous winter was a cold one and this fruit tree, which depends upon the winter’s chilling hours to produce it’s treasure, was LOADED with what we later learned is a seckel pear.

Shortly after the discovery, I obtained permission from the owner of the tree to harvest the fruit. He was glad to let me have them as he found them to be more of a nuisance. I researched, I learned, I salivated and I waited for harvest time. I was excited about my find and all of the things I would do with my seckel pears. Pear wine (as seen below from Weinhof Winery of our Hill Country Heaven post), pear jelly, pear syrup, juice, and just plain whole pears.

My Apprehension
I had only one apprehension. It was next to a public sidewalk. Any number of people without manners enough to ask could steal "my" fruit. So I waited on bated breath for the time of harvest, early August.

Sometime around the end of July my path took me by my tree when I noticed the lower half had been picked! The thief! I knew it! My worst fears had come true! Why am I using so many exclamation marks?!!! The top half of the tree still had its fruit and I would just have to make do with a half harvest.

It wasn’t too long before I learned that my worst fears weren’t realized. I saw the owner a week before harvest and stopped him to tell him that I would come by in a week to get the remaining fruit. He then apologized to me. For what you ask? He removed the lower half of the fruit and placed them in the trash bin because he was tired of dealing with an errant pear falling and spoiling on the ground, enticing flies. I was heartbroken. Seriously, are we so rich in this country that it’s not enough to put our table scraps in the trash, but we have to take fruit straight off the tree and put it in the trash!

I later learned of a tale told by Carrie’s grandfather, Gamps, of seckel pears. Back in 1938, Gamps’ father lived in Attleboro, Massachusetts where he, like so many people back then, had several varieties of edible fruit he grew, including seckels. As the tale goes, he loved those seckels and would eat them straight from the tree. As luck would have it, a hurricane came through that year towards the end of seckel season and Mr. Keeler knew his crop would be wiped out. Not to let the weather get the best of him, he stood out by his seckel and enjoyed his pears in the wind and rain!

What a contrast compared to the tree owner in my tale. One man loved the fruit of his land and realized its value, while the other felt it more of a burden.

I went back to my tree a week later as planned. The remaining pears, I found, had been picked to some degree by the birds which led to their spoil. I managed to harvest a whole seven pears out of over 150. All I can say is live, learn, and repeat. Of course, next time I will coordinate with the tree’s owner and perhaps net the tree in preparation for harvest. I still weep on the inside at the thought of my dashed dreams of the pear dalliances I had planned. -Jason

1 comment:

  1. That is so sad. I think it strange that people prefer industrialized food to what grows naturally in their own back yards. But it is such a sign of the times. In general people of our nation are so out of touch with their food sources. I'm glad you got a few at least. I reckon we'll all be re-evaluating our homesteading years, making adjustments, and planning for a better year in 2011.