Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pear! And More Pears!

One day's pickings.

So here's the background story: My grandfather had a 100+ tree orchard north of the house. Most of it was planted around 1961 (the year I was born). Over the years, he kept a hand-printed chart of the orchard - which varieties he had planted where, and how they did, whether fruitful or not.

Grandpa lived until 1986. In the early 90s, a huge storm came through that killed most of the orchard, and I had the area mostly bulldozed to clear it out and start over. I left two trees in the orchard - one Bartlett pear that anchored the northeast corner; and one young small pear tree that was growing up in the northwest corner (the original whole north line was pear). On grandpa's orchard map, that corner had been a "Seckel" pear, which he had cut down himself and marked as "barren" on the map. But apparently it was resilient and grew back from the root. It shaped into a beautiful looking tree, with heavy blooms in spring, and beautiful reddish leaves in fall. But it has never had much in the way of actual fruit. We left it because it is a very pretty tree.

Well, this weird weather year of our ultra-late spring, very cool June, and much more cool days and rain than any normal Kansas summer, appears to have finally been the perfect year for production of Seckel Pears. And man! Has it ever made up for all those unfruitful years! I have never seen a tree so loaded with fruit.

According to all we have found Seckel Pears are the "candy" variety of the pear world. Very very sweet, yet very small -- just snacking size; about one-third the size of a regular full pear.

We have picked up pears (we wait for the windfall) every day this week, and then hand sort them into the best ones for eating now; the greener ones to ripen a few days; and the blemished ones, which we give to the chickens. We have pears everywhere at the house!

I would like to maybe attempt pearsauce or pearbutter, but it takes quite a bit of time, and these very sweet pears don't keep many days, so I'm hoping we don't lose too much to spoilage. There are still thousands up on the tree itself, so this should make for an extremely busy week!


Kate said...

Well color me jealous. Pears! I would love to have pears, even though I can well imagine the work entailed in processing them. We have a few very small pear trees planted, but any harvest is years in the future. We have a very old apple tree that'll be keeping us busy in about a month's time though. It must be just wonderful to have the family connection to an old orchard, even if most of the trees are young.

Breezy said...

I love pears! The college doesn't have pears very often. Thanks so much for your comment, but again, i've not time to read any of your old posts, or write anything to you that's really personal or heart felt. Just know that I'm thankfun for your prayers, and am returing them! I don't know your last name... so I'll just say, "Thanks Mrs. Tracy!"