It’s a little lonesome and bittersweet coming back to the homestead after we’ve had visitors. We all left on Monday (Oct. 17) after Elderberry Fest, and I see reminders that we were here and happy – a pad with Hallie’s elderberry notes, canning jars sitting in a corner, the canning kettle in the utility room, beds to be made.
I had hoped Hallie and Nick would help me pick pears while they were here. The old tree was loaded with pears this year, but I’m no expert with fruit trees and I didn’t know when to pick them or exactly how to judge. We picked them mid-September only to discover they weren’t going to ripen. Those went into the composter.
Then I began to experiment with smaller pickings week by week, but they still didn’t ripen. However, during our elderberry festivities, I noticed pears on the ground, and I figured they were ripe enough. The problem was that the available crop was way up in the tree. Nick and Hallie agreed to pick them, but then it rained and then we were busy with the elderberries.
So, as we were leaving on that Monday ten days ago, I quickly picked up those windfalls – my little two-gallon washtub full -- and carried them back to town where I refrigerated them for 24 hours and then left them at room temperature. They ripened nicely, and I brought them back to the farm yesterday where I sliced them for the dryer. Ummmm! Smell those drying pears!
I had hoped that I might find more pears under the old tree. No such luck. No windfalls and not a single fruit on the tree either. So, what happens to the pears? Examining the ground for clues, I found unmistakable deer sign. And now I know – the reason the pears have disappeared all these years is that they fall off the tree and the deer eat them – all when I’m not looking. KW