Pecan Harvest

We can plant and water but only God gives the harvest.

c e hollis

Fifteen years ago we planted about 300 pecan trees. We watched them grow and waited. We grafted them with good cultivars and we waited. We pruned and waited. We fertilized and waited. There was a lot of waiting and a lot of work until we finally got a crop of pecans. We learned so much along the way.

Pecan season is now on us. The nights are cool. There is frost in the morning. The afternoons are warm with high winds that make the hulls dry and the nuts start to fall.

This year the crop failed because of a severe late freeze in the spring. Sadly we had no sets of pecans to watch and prepare for. My little grandson looked out on the orchard and asked “When is harvest, Grandma?” I had to tell him that all the harvest fun was canceled this year. No pecans.

Usually when the first deep frost comes the trees are ready and waiting for the shaker. Attached to the front of the tractor the padded shaker arms pull up to the tree and give it a couple of minutes of strong shake and it rains down pecans.

Next the harvester vacuums up the nuts and separates the nuts from the leaves and sticks and hulls and bags them.

The next step is pouring the nuts down into the sorter. Many hands are employed at sorting.

The sorters stand on each side and pick out any bad nuts, sticks, and hulls. From the sorting table the pecans go into the super sack-huge bags that can hold 1,500 pounds of nuts in shell.

After harvest the super sacks of pecans are loaded on trucks and taken to the processor. He cleans the pecans in shell and then dries, sorts, and cracks the nuts. Later they are bagged and labeled Papa Ron’s Pecans.

It is exciting to pick up our harvest in neat 25 pound boxes. We load them up in the pickup bed and drive home where we put them in the freezer. Then the deliveries and shipping starts. This year we still have pecans to sell but not a new crop. Still they are fine pecans. This year since we had no crop, will be more leisurely. We can sit on the porch swing or sit inside by the woodstove, but it will be sad not to have all the thrill and fun of the harvest. We’ll be baking pies for the holidays, making fudge and pralines, cinnamon rolls for cold mornings, brown sugar pound cakes, banana bread and divinity.

Pecans are us!

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and he will be like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whatever he does he prospers.

Matthew 1:1-3

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