Just look at all those pears on the ground! I try not to feel wasteful when I see so many pears not being eaten by humans, because I know that there are a host of other creatures that enjoy the pears too, including the pear tree itself. I'm sure this pear tree is so productive because the soil is enriched yearly with a massive load of organic matter from it's own branches. It's tempting to rake all the spotty pears into a compost heap somewhere out of the way, but this year, I've decided to let the spotty pears lay where they fall, and move our activities away from the pear zone until next spring, when they will have decomposed.
I do sweeps through the pear pile searching for sound ones. If I were hungry, I'm sure I would collect pears with more broken or black spots, but with so many to chose from, I just get the pretty ones. Waiting until they fall to the ground is the least labor intensive way to harvest, but I've read that the best way to make sure pears don't spoil for long term storage is to not let them touch dirt before they go in the cellar. Most of these have a bad spot, and I try to turn the spot to the sky when I'm searching so I don't keep picking up the same rejected pears each time I go collecting.
Did Papa Squirrel, Mama Squirrel, and Baby Squirrel have a snack together here?
The mole focuses his attention under the pear tree too. I'm sure all those decomposing pears make for rich soil with lots of earthworms. The mole is smart to set his worm trap tunnels here.
Squirrel nibbles or chicken kisses?
The mole's excavations are even burying some of the pears. I hope those weren't pretty ones.
One for my basket! I have to be careful when collecting, because there are yellow jackets, giant brown hornets, and wasps feasting on the pears too. They tend to like the mushy ones best, so we don't fight over the good ones.
I made a trip to Goodwill searching for materials for window coverings, but when I saw the giant pile of inexpensive baskets, I couldn't resist buying some for pear collection. And you know what? Collecting pears is more fun if I use a pretty basket! Why is that?
I'm still working out of town, and I didn't put pear basket maintenance on Brandon's to do list since I know I was over loading him with guinea keet care instructions, so I'll probably come home to some rotten ones. I've found that if I go through the baskets frequently and pull out the ripest or the ones that are getting a rotten spot, this keeps the whole basket from going bad and motivates me to eat some pears or make a pie.
How many pies will I have to make when I get home to catch up with the pears? Tis the season, right?