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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Free Fruit

Getting free fruit or any free vegetables is just one of my very favorite things to do. Today, I gathered 30 lbs of free pears. Don't ask me what kind they are. When I looked at pictures of pears on the internet, these were labeled "old fashioned hard pears." I guess that kind of says it all. I have repeated this name to older folk who who nod their head as if that is the right name for them.

Last year, I gathered 150 lbs of pears. Not one passed through my lips! I hate pears of any kind except canned. Yes, it is weird. No, I don't can pears!

My four hens love pears. Spending no money for chicken food is my goal, so these pears are right up my alley.

I also share pears with all my friends. I kept about 50 lbs in the refrigerator for six months. No, I don't have a large refrigerator. Pears dominated my life for a few months! They never spoiled. They never ripened. They never shriveled or dried out. They sat there! My friend to whom I had sent ten pounds said she put them in a bowl on the table, and they all waited for them to ripen. Once ripe, the pears were delicious, or so I was told. Altogether, she and her family had been the recipient of about 40 lbs of pears, sent in small amounts over six months.

My pear goal is 200 lbs this year. I will have them sitting all over the house in tubs, bags, and boxes. Since they have the tendency to go bad and ooze juice onto the floor, all will be in containers that will not leak. That sort of leaves out bags and boxes.

Now, I am spreading the word that I will glean. Even rotten fruits or vegetables are fine for the hens. As a matter of fact, the more pungent, the better they seem to like it. They are probably looking on their good luck with rotten fruit as a sort of hard cider experience. I can write a post about "My Drunk Hens."

Two years ago, I purchased a fruit picker. It allows me to reach 17' from the ground. It has a little basket on a pole with prongs above the basket to allow me to pull the fruit into the basket. The pole comes apart into two pieces. When I find the cord to my camera, I will post a picture.

Unfortunately, the first year I had my picker, it was used little. Then, last fall, I used it lots. Eventually, I ended up with a "frozen shoulder." That pain and stiffness had to be worked out over about six months. This time, I hope I will be smarter and take care not to let the shoulder become stiff. Who wants to massage my shoulder?

When I pick pears with my picker, I use canvas bags to hold the pears and to transport them home. I must remember to take more canvas bags and not fill them to overflowing. It hurts my hands and back to carry these to the car and into the house. My little red wagon is used to bring the pears from car to door.  But, I still must carry them up the steps!

"My" pear tree is being hosted by someone else, just like "my" pecan trees. Anyone can get the pears, but since I don't want to give anyone ideas, I try to go when there is little traffic. I do have permission!

Since I am losing weight and going to TOPS, I will make less pear preserves and more pear sauce (like applesauce) from my bounty.

Does anyone have access to free fruit? What kind? Does anyone have one of these fruit pickers like I have?

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