Saturday, September 09, 2006

My Inner Pear-Hating Demons

Two weeks ago I posted a charming picture of two butterflies dining on a (slightly decaying) pear in one of the trees just outside my door. I will post another similar image here, as a reminder.

Now let me describe a new picture. No wait, I'll lead up to it gradually.

When I first visited this house last year, there were many rotten smushed pears on the sidewalk in front of the house. In fact, it was the first thing I noticed at the open house, and I was a little disgusted. Who were these people who didn't bother picking up the putrid pear mush from in front of their house? Well, I bought the house anyway, and by mid-December when I moved in, the pear-puree was gone.

At Easter I decorated the tree by hanging little white and yellow fuzzy chicks from all the lower branches. Adorable. Even when a vicious rain storm knocked most of the chicks to the ground where they would expire in the mud, and left the rest to drown while still hanging on the tree, I chuckled and thought, well it's an interesting if not so adorable tableau.

In mid-Spring, the tree blossomed. Who knew that pear trees were so pretty when in bloom? Not me, I had never lived with pear trees up close like this. My mother had removed all the fruit trees from our yard when I was very young, which I found incomprehensible. Wasn't I lucky now? "Wait until the bees come," my neighbors warned me. "Wait until the pears come!" I thought to myself.

In early summer, the pears began to grow. Between these two trees, there were easily over a thousand pears. Easily.

In late July, I noticed that the squirrels loved the pears. Very cute. They'd knock a pear off the tree, then squat on the ground and take two bites, then leave the pear there for the next guy. The next guy was usually me, as I kicked the pear out into the street hoping the weekly visit of the street-cleaner would take care of it. No big deal, a couple pears a day. I laughed about it with the neighbors, and wondered what I would do with all those wonderful pears when they got ripe.

In August, the butterflies came. More beauty. Life was good.

Pears began to drop more frequently, and by late August, I was gathering them from the sidewalk and street and sealing them in double plastic bags for the Friday trash collection. This was getting tiring, but the pears -- They were nearly ripe!

Then the pears got messier. They started getting smushed on the sidewalk, and the cleanup became a little dicier. There was a hose involved, and some footwork to separate bad pears from pesky insects. The Thursday before Labor Day I filled three grocery bags with bad pears. I also picked about 40 good pears, even though they were not yet ripe, and left them on my porch with a sign saying FREE PEARS. At least those 40 wouldn't fall.

On the Friday before Labor Day, we were hit with a big storm -- wind and rain and the PLUNK PLUNK PLUNK of falling pears.

PLUNK: they hit the sidewalk.
PLUNK: they were blown onto the roof.
PLUNK: they bounced off the car.

I awoke the next morning to find at least 50 freshly-fallen pears on the sidewalk and street. Stubbornly refusing to face reality, I hopped in the car and left for the holiday weekend, with the best of intentions for cleaning up the mess as soon as I returned.

"Just wait till the bees come," my neighbors had said....

This past week has been quite the adventure in pear-puree-madness. The bees, and yellow-jackets, have indeed arrived. Along with an army of nasty flies. There are pear guts everywhere. I have washed the sidewalk twice, at no minor peril to myself (I am surprised to find that bees do not appreciate being hosed down while eating). I have collected 4 bags of pear trash, which is barely half of what was on the ground this week. There are pears I can't even approach because they are being feasted upon by the biggest bees I've ever seen. And each day, about an hour after I finish cleaning up, I look outside and see new pear rot on the sidewalk. It is a mystery to me how this happens and I'm considering a stakeout tomorrow so I can catch this in action.

Meanwhile, all the school kids pass my house every morning, stepping carefully around the putrid pears and stirring up the swarms of flies and other fun insects. I'm sure now my house will be known as the Fly-lady House, or Chateau Bug, or Rot Manor. Which is sad, because Halloween is coming, and who wants to go trick-or-treating at Rot Manor?

I'm secretly plotting the mysterious offing of two quite lovely pear trees. One morning I will call the police and tell them I am shocked -- shocked to discover that someone has chopped down my precious pear trees!

Oh, and I have an apple tree in the back yard that goes next.

And the pears are still not ripe enough to eat.



Kimmy said...

What a story! I have learned from it that I never wish to have fruit trees. The bees alone would drive me away!

featherbee said...

Well, I guess now you know why your mom got rid of the fruit trees! Imagine trying to keep a little kid away from the rotting mess!

dsad said...

Hey, what if you just pick it up and sell it, it would be very helpfull to you. Extra income!

Anonymous said...

I too have the decay and putrefaction in my front yard. The tree is filled with huge bees that chase hummingbirds. I won't go near this tree. Your story makes me feel better about letting my husband chop this thing down. Yuck!

wendy said...

What a wonderful story Nancy. I can identify with pear mush /puree and all the little creatures that come afeasting.
Ripe pears do make wonderful eating and cook up nicely into pear sauce should you ever get to that stage of pear 'madness'.

Anonymous said...

I laughed at your story. We live in Erie, PA and have had a pear tree in our yard for years now... and yes bees, bees...and ants.
We make it a daily chore to pick them up. (The pears that is!!)
Last year they were delicious...This year they are rotting on the tree and don't ripen well if we pick them early.

Now we think the bees are making their home in the tree.. Will it die??


Hope not...

Holly said...

Fruit trees work best when they are no where near the sidewalk. Great photo though!