Monday, November 23, 2009

Gratitude: Harvesting pecans, and a little lesson from the birds

Last week, when we wandered outside looking for material for our Thanksgiving banner, we realized the pecans from my parents' huge tree had all fallen to ground. They were begging to be gathered -- and eaten!

The boys quickly figured out they could crack the shells with a short stomp on the cement.

We brushed aside the fallen leaves to find the nuts, filled our pockets, and emptied them on the patio table. Then we filled our pockets again... and again...

Some of the pecans were still encased in their husks, either green and unripened, or withered, blackened and easy to peel off. Because pecans are "drupes," not true nuts, the husk is the same part of the fruit as the sweet flesh is to a peach. The nut we eat is inside the hard inner shell.

Check out this awesome harvest! (After collecting pecans, we picked the last of the apples and the first of the citrus!)

As we poked our way through the dying leaves on the ground, we found nearly as many half-eaten pecans as whole.

Earlier in the season, we could sit outside and hear the birds cackling as they crunched and munched and dropped their leftovers from high in the pecan tree.

Chatter, crunch, clatter. Chatter, crunch, clatter. What fun they seemed to be having -- and how they seemed to be laughing at us down below!

The birds take what they can, and don't worry about wasting the rest -- it all decomposes to feed the tree again, anyway, right? They enjoyed the feast, and fed God's providence back to the earth -- or whatever ground critter might happen by looking for a morsel.

It made me think... Sometimes I get discouraged because I feel like I'm not "making the most" of the resources and opportunities around me -- there just isn't time or energy.

But that feeling comes from a sense both of inappropriate responsibility and scarcity. The truth is that the reason I can't do it all is because of the abundance of this life!

So, next time I feel guilty because I'm tossing yet another bunch of uneaten organic produce from our Abundant Harvest box, I will remember the birds. And instead think how blessed I am to have more than enough.

And I will plan to get more creative next time. Not out of guilt, but out of gratitude.

"I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly."

Anyone have a good pecan pie recipe? :)


Hannah said...

I love that! We can't keep up with the harvest, because we have been blessed with SO MUCH, what a lovely thought! Thanks for sharing that.

We harvested an amazing crop of pecans from my Grandmother's tree last fall. It was wonderful - we enjoyed them all winter.

Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

Maureen said...

What a great way of turning your thinking around (I'm gonna try it:)

Every year as we harvest pecans it reminds me of the easter egg hunts we had as kids. I take a basket and start looking for nuts, some hidden, some under plants and some in flower pots. And with ours it's not the birds that eat the's our dogs!

mandi said...

oh- this is good. it seems like living thankfully is really just a shift in thought. the circumstances don't always change, but our response can.
thanks for the food for thought...

funny- i'm on the hunt for a good pecan pie recipe too. our whole town is covered in pecans! the feed stores around town buy pecans from people. pecan season is like full contact sports around here!

sarah in the woods said...

Beautiful, encouraging post. I'm enjoying looking through your blog.

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