Happy Monday my friends! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. We went up to see @dksart's parents to spend some time with them, and had quite a productive Sunday. He always gets put to work when we go up there, helping with either tech support or manual labor. Otherwise we just end up sitting around eating too much, so it's probably not a bad thing to stay busy. Gotta love how our mamas always seem to want to fatten us up with homemade food. 😉
Despite the heat still being quite oppressive around here once the day gets going, at least we woke up Sunday morning to a beautiful cooler start. While he had his to-do list going, his mom and I decided to head back into the yard to pick some more pears off of their tree. All the way in the back of their yard they have quite an impressive pear tree. Apparently it has done well this year. She already picked enough to jar a mega batch of pearsauce (like applesauce but with pears). I think she said she made 15 jars. There were plenty left for us to get our share, though!
Lots of pears had already dropped and were being enjoyed by a number of critters. His parents had also picked the bulk of the low-hanging fruit. Luckily they had a nifty little tool to get to some of the higher fruits, which were actually in much better shape anyway.
The basket took a few tries to get the hang of, but once I got going I was on a picking roll! Initially we had it on a wooden rod that was maybe a little over four feet long. I was able to snag quite a few pears with that extra bit of reach.
We quickly exhausted the ones low enough to grab, but dad came in for the win with a rod that could slide out and extend to more than double the distance! Some good ingenuity to be able to pluck some really fine specimens from above. I am actually quite sore from my endeavors this morning after the morning of reaching up overhead and stabilizing with my core. Picking any kind of fruit or vegetables gives you a much better appreciation for how hard farmers have to work to bring us the shiny produce at the market or grocery store.
I couldn't tell you how many pears we ended up picking, but I would guess at least 20 pounds if not more. Though they have a nice taste and were actually quite juicy this year, they are still pretty fibrous and not really great for eating raw. Many had blemishes and soft spots, but many more were quite lovely fruit. You can easily cut around the bad bits, anyway, so waste not, want not.
We lugged our haul back to the house to start processing. I had planned on just bringing them back as is, but his mom offered to help me start peeling and chopping them up to bag up for later. The skin is a bit thicker than most pears you can get at the store, as well, so they do tend to be more enjoyable when peeled. You can't beat free, organic and untouched by anything but nature, though! I will be happy to put these to use in a number of ways. It was getting hot by the time we were finished picking, so we set up our next task in the house instead of sitting out on the patio.
Peeling and cutting by hand is no joke! My hands are just as sore from processing the pears as my core and shoulders are from picking, haha! I was quite in awe of his mother, though. They are originally from Poland, so I can imagine she spent many times like this doing the exact same thing with her family. I remember her talking about how they didn't have all the pre-mixed and boxed items even when @dksart was growing up. If they wanted pancakes they made them from scratch. Many other items were homemade not only because they couldn't find it in the store, but also to save money. She was quite the whiz with her knife, probably working at three times the speed that I was going.
I enjoyed spending the time with her doing such a basic task. It made me really mindful of not only the connection to the food source, but just the time spent with family. I fully admit sometimes I dread family events because they take so much out of me or I feel like I "lose" the whole weekend, but it is days like this that make me realize I need to just stop and appreciate those fleeting moments because we won't always have them. All the other tasks I didn't get to do this weekend at home are still there waiting for me today, and I'll get to them when I can. I cherish the memories of shucking corn for pool parties at my grandmother's house or helping my mom put together a lasagna for the holidays. Now I have one more memory with another mama I hold dear. There is something very meditative in doing such a monotonous task, as well, that's good for the soul.
Along with 10 quart-sized bags of peeled, chopped pears, of course she sent us home with some of the pears she cooked down, homemade fermented pickles and tomato sauce like the true Polish mama she is. I might need another refrigerator soon, and even the freezer is still full to the brim. Each time I pull out a bag of the pears this fall and winter I will think of her, though, and hopefully take a moment to be mindful of this bounty. I still fully intend to go apple picking soon, but this was a nice boon to the fruit stash at no cost other than the labor of love.
A lovely way to start out a new week! Plus you know I love a good double post--so I thought this was a nice one for #fruitsandveggiesmonday as well as #mindfulmonday! Two excellent ways to focus on health to hit the week strong. 💚