Friday, October 28, 2011


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


Chris said...

They eat Mom and Dad's pears, too. We've watched them do it, up on their hind legs pulling them off. I'll bet they look forward to them all year long. :-)

Leah said...

You'll have to rename the tree & the fruit. You'll eat "deer pears" from a "deer lunch tree."

Hallie said...

Nick was also very disappointed that we didn't pick pears. I suppose I was the one holding us back. I just didn't have the gumption to climb up in that tree and get all wet. I bet you that if I had just gone out there with him, Nick would have done all the climbing and getting wet.

Kathy said...

They actually pull them off the tree, huh? Well, they didn't pull ours because I had already picked those on the low branches. I'll bet your Mom and Dad enjoy watching the deer. Many people do.

We did some yard work today and discovered that the deer had also mauled the old lilac bush that's been trying to make a comeback. They aren't supposed to bother lilacs, but you never know what they'll try.

Hallie, you and Nick would have carried the ladder and then you would have held it while he got the fruit. There wasn't time, though.

So Leah, I guess you think the balance of power has swung to the deer. You might be right.

Leah said...

When Hallie talked about picking pears in the rain, I was glad they follow through. The branches, ladder & people would all be wet & SLIPPERY.

Of course the deer are in control. They keep coming back, don't they? You might as well give up and try to id them. Then you can give them names!