Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pecan Update

Well, I have to tell you that today I dropped off 30 pounds of pecans to be cracked. Family is coming for Thanksgiving and I thought they might get bored and need something to do - like picking out pecans.

A friend at work brought me a genuine pecan-picker-upper. Looks like one of those "What is it?" items from This Old House magazine. Another friend thought it was a potato masher. At least he gets points for creativity. It will get used for sure as I am not through with this pecan project. I just can't stand the thought of pecans being lost to the elements just because no one picked them up, especially since we have such an abundance this year. So I hope to start on my neighbor's backyard some time this week as they just had a baby and will not be spending any time back there. I thought I would have them cracked for them.

The fam arrives tomorrow and I must be off to continue the house straightening. Menu is done and groceries are mostly bought. I might even go get my Christmas tree tomorrow before they all get here. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Harvest

Today turned out to be really pretty and this afternoon I did something I haven’t done since I was a child. I harvested pecans-a precious commodity in any economy.

It brought back memories…Mama would drive around town to trees on public property or to long forgotten trees tucked away in obscure corners of the county. We would pick up pecans till we had filled whatever containers we had with us or until the ground was bare. We had this sturdy nutcracker mounted on a piece of board and she would make Daddy shell those blessed things. Not his favorite chore although he enjoyed the benefits. Later local pecan houses would offer to crack pecans for a small fee. We would still have to pick them out. They would go in bags and into the freezer to use year-round.

My block boasts quite a variety of pecan trees, just like any old Southern neighborhood should have. I started out on a little strip of land between the sidewalk and the street at the far end of the block. These are a small variety, but they are quite tasty if you have the patience to crack them.

Sunday, my next door neighbor offered any of the nuts from their backyard for the taking. A huge tree straddles the property line between them and the small apartment building next door. I did not want to raid their yard, so I raided the apartments instead. Half of the apartments are empty, so I didn’t feel guilty at all about it. They should appreciate that I raked their driveway while I was at it.

We are expecting rain in the next couple of days and they would surely be lost if I did not rescue them from the threat of wet, compacted leaves. It is also a race against the squirrels that seem to enjoy tormenting me daily by digging up my herbs and pansies to stash their little treasures. They have fewer to choose from after today.

Next I picked up the ones that have fallen into my driveway. Those are all mine with no guilt. There is a tree from my other neighbor's yard that leans over my backyard and even over a portion of my deck. I had thought these would be the easiest of all to gather as they should just fall to the deck. But they didn’t thrive like the other trees around and I think Maisy’s nemesis, the squirrels, plucked whatever good ones were to be had from that source.

For at least a couple of hours it was like hunting for tiny little camouflaged Easter eggs. And the click, then thud of another cluster falling to the ground taunted me, daring me to find it. I searched until the light would no longer let me distinguish leaf from nut. I will return. My work is not done.

And, yes, this is a regular sized grocery shopping basket almost full of my day’s work. Wonder if there is someone around who would crack them for me? I don't think I can talk Daddy into it even if he were able. I wish I knew where that old nutcracker was.

Veteran's Day

I had today off from work and I hosted my art bee this morning at my house. We were missing a few members, but a good time was had by all anyway. Well, at least until we discovered that my dog had gotten into one friend’s purse and torn a $10 bill in half and chewed the corner off a $5 bill. I have never known her to do this and was mortified. There must have been some good smelling stuff on that cash to attract such attention. The group jokingly accused us of some sort of conspiracy.

Our guild has issued a challenge this year that requires participants to make a 36” round quilt with the theme “_______ Makes the World Go Around.” At the risk of spoiling any surprise, I just have to share the top one of our members brought today for show and tell. It is amazing-a sudoku center with crazy spinning strata to the edge. The little blocks in the nine-patches are pieced. I am not participating in this challenge.