I never notice the sound of airliners flying overhead or traffic whizzing along my street in St. Louis. But this weekend in the serenity of my farm, I was awakened several times by what sounded like hail pellets. I knew better. It happens every year about this time: large acorns from an overhanging oak tree fall onto the deck outside my bedroom window. It’s as though squirrels were hurling missiles down on the house.
The next morning as I photographed the “fall out,” I was beaned by what felt like a golf ball hitting my forehead, leaving a dent that soon became a small lump.
It was not the only injury from a “flying” object this weekend. While picking fruit, a visitor shed some blood when he was smacked in the nose by a falling pear.
I have only three fruit trees at the farm. One’s a sour cherry, that I hope to tell you more about next summer when it yields; a hearty persimmon, but I don’t bother to fight birds for the mouth-puckering fruit; and a large, Burford pear nearly one hundred years old.
The pear tree doesn’t yield fruit every year. Sometimes it just waves its bare branches and goes, “Ahh, I’m vacationing. Try Schnuck’s Grocery.”
When my kids were young, they climbed the tree in search of pears each fall. Today, as seen in the photo, I use a pole just to reach the low hanging limbs. When I bit into one of the pears it was a little firm, but still buttery, sweet and edible. I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures of the heritage fruit.
This tree gets no care, no spraying, no pruning. It bears fruit in September and holds it until the first frost, when the pears drop all at once. The nearby abandoned house, inclining on its foundation, is likely as old as the tree.
When I come to this secluded spot on our farm to pick fruit from a tree I didn’t plant, I feel a connection with generations past, those who tilled the land, not only for themselves, but for those who’d come after them.