Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Good Pecan Harvest?

The pecans around here are gathering up their energies for the last push before harvest, which should start in most of Texas around the end of the month.  Will it be a good year?

Native pecans
It's hard to say.  Trees rely on plentiful water in August when they are filling out their nutmeats.  In my neighborhood, we were a bit shy on rainfall that month, though there was plenty in July and in September.  From down here on the ground, it looks like there are plenty of nuts in the trees.  That's always a good sign!

Pecans will drop their nuts when they are ready to be harvested, but you can pick them anytime the outer, greenish shuck starts to split.  The longer you wait, the wider the shucks split open, making it easy to shake out the hard, brown-shelled nuts.  Of course, the longer you wait, the more pecans the squirrels get to eat!

Pecans picked early in the season still have a lot of moisture in their nutmeat, and should be dried before eating.  You can dry them in the shell on screens or frames that allow air to circulate around them.  Keep them out of direct sunlight and away from heat.  You'll know they are ready when shelled pecans break in two with a sharp little snap! rather then bending. 

My pecans appear to have pecan nut scab, a disease I'm not really going to do anything about.  For one, I don't particularly care to eat pecans!  If the squirrels want them, they are welcome to all they can eat.  And it would be quite a pain to spray a large tree.  Growers combating this disease often spray up with fungicides up to 10 times per season.  It's not easy, growing pecans.


  1. You have pecan trees! I have a lot of childhood memories of sitting on the porch with my mother, shelling pecans. My mother was a huge fan of pecan trees and urged me to plant some when I moved to my current home. I never have, but I love adding pecans to holiday goodies. I confess I usually buy them pre-shelled now.

  2. That is a nut that I like. And a whole tree of them, yummy.We have black walnut trees in the neighborhood. Not good for the other plants and the squirrels stain up the concrete with their sloppy eating habits.