This is the first time I’ve lived in a house that had pecan trees on the property. Before, when I was walking down a random sidewalk somewhere and saw a few pecans on the ground, I’d pick them up and think to myself “Wow! Free food! The people that live here are so lucky to have this pecan tree right in their front yard. I hope they don’t mind if I take these three pecans I found.”
Today I live in an old house with six mature pecan trees on the property. There are three additional trees on my neighbor’s property that overhang into our yard, so for all practical purposes I have nine pecan trees. Nine! Practically an orchard.
Now I feel a little guilty every time I walk out the front door and see the ground littered with pecans, each nut a reminder that I’m falling behind in my harvesting duties. I’m also the head nutcracker, even further behind on that job. Oh, I’ve tried to keep up. The freezer is full of shelled pecans, and in the last two months alone I’ve baked and eaten more than my fair share of close to a dozen pies and one cheesecake. Now that my schedule has eased up a bit I’ve been able to spend more time in the kitchen, and I can see all manner of pecan encrusted proteins hitting the dinner plates in the near future, chicken and salmon being two of my favorites.
Most of the pecan trees are in the backyard, and our three industrious mutts take care of harvesting those for us (they share my philosophy on free food). The puppy, still in the chew everything stage, was the first of the dogs to discover that there was something tasty inside those little wooden footballs. The other two took notes and soon began the hunt themselves. For the most part I’m relieved, except there’s one tree in the back that produces enormous pecans, almost the size of a chicken egg (it feels strange to type “chicken egg,” but hummingbirds have eggs too) and I like those as much as the dogs do. So when I venture out to the backyard and start harvesting the mammoth pecans, the three of them gather around me with reproachful looks on their faces, shocked and a little sad that I would take all those pecans without offering to share a few. The guilt sets in, and each pooch gets a nice little snack before we head back into the house.