Raking Leaves and Eating Pecans

I have noticed a few leaves starting to fall around my house. And while in town Monday one tree with pretty yellow leaves was showering them down every time a little breeze hit it. Its about leaf raking time!

I miss folks using rakes rather than leaf blowers. Their whine around the house is bad enough but that sound on lakes in the fall is almost as irritating as the whine of skidoos. Its hard to fish in peace.
But they surely are convenient and easier to use than a rake.

We had a huge pecan tree in our front yard where I grew up on Iron Hill Road in Dearing. There was another big one in the side yard and two smaller ones on that side near the road. Another big one was just past mom’s flower garden on the same side.

Those trees provided hundreds of pounds of pecans each fall, but also produced what seemed like a million bushels of leaves. I hated the boring, tedious job of raking leaves, made even slower by having to stop every pass and pick up pecans. But I did enjoy cracking a few open and eating them to break the long hours.

We would start at the house and rake everything to the ditch out front, where we burned them. I worried that my “pet” red ants in the bed in the ditch, where I had fed them flies all summer, would be killed but they always started scurrying around as soon as the ashes cooled.

I spent a lot of time in that ditch. There were always a few pecans we missed, and they were nicely toasted in the leaf fire. I would scratch around in the ashes, finding enough to keep me happily full. Mom was not quite as happy with the conditions of me and my clothes!

For some reason I never even thought of jumping in piles of leaves. I see many cartoons of kids and dogs having fun in leaves, but we were working. And I would never consider scattering them and having to rake them up again.

After cleaning the yard dad would take a long pole and knock remaining pecans to the ground. Sometimes I would climb the trees as high as possible and shake the smaller limbs to do the same thing.

We had three kinds of pecans, but I never knew the names. One tree had what we called “papershell” pecans, big nuts with very thin shells. But we did not get to eat them, they brought the highest price, so we sold them.

Another tree, the one past mom’s flower garden, had “peewees,” very small nuts. They were not worth much but we sold them, too, since they were such a pain to crack and open for little meat.

The other three trees were just regular pecans and we ate many of them. There were always bags of them in the den, where we sat at night watching TV and cracking them and picking out the meat. Some went into our mouths, but most went into the freezer for toppings for mom’s cakes and pies. We often roasted a pan while cracking them and also later when they went from the freezer to the oven.

I miss eating those nuts but not the raking leaves!Raknig

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