Fruits of a pear-ilous summer

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 17, 2000

Features Editor

The year 2000 has produced a pear-ilous summer. Not only has the drought affected the row crop farmers, cattlemen, home gardeners, the pines and fishes in the pond, it has also put a strain on fruit trees. While some of the trees have weathered the weather better than others, it has many of them tied up in knots.

"Little knots," is how Frank McLendon of Brundidge described his apple and pear trees that are usually heavily laden with luscious fruit.

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"One morning I looked out the window and the pears were falling off my trees like rain," he said. "I’d never seen anything like it. They weren’t as big as anything and they just kept hitting the ground."

McLendon’s guess was that the trees just weren’t getting enough water and there was little he could do about it at that point.

He didn’t even bother to pick up the knotty fruit because he didn’t think it would be worth picking up. He thought he would just leave it for the birds, bug and anything else that wanted it.

However, to his surprise, several neighbors came by and asked if they could have a few pears and he gladly let them borrow his five-gallon bucket.

Then, one day he noticed some afternoon "strollers" lingering long enough to pick up a pear and sample it. The next day, the same strollers "sampled" some more. McLendon decided there must be more to the pears than knots.

So, he took a bite and, to his surprise, the little knots were filled with a sweetness much greater than the plump pears of the past.

"I don’t know why," he said. "I’ve heard some thoughts on it but I don’t know anything for sure."

Some old-timers are saying that a drought drains the water from fruit and leaves a greater concentration of sugar. There is no scientific information to verify that, so McLendon said he is leaving it alone. He’s just enjoying the little knotty pears and he said he’s happy to share them with anyone who comes along.

Something good comes from everything – even from a long, hot, dry summer. Believe it or knot.