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Pecan Picking

December 28, 2008

Christmas day, following the exchange of gifts over morning coffee and tea,  Leslie and her mother began to prepare the big meal of the day.  My father-in-law, Garry and I drove into town to check on other family and confirm their invitation to the mid-day feast.

There was a large pecan tree in the backyard of one of the homes, and Garry suggested we might want to collect some of the nuts.  Being a newbie, I took the 5 gallon plastic pail and began dutifully picking up the nuts.   Garry chuckled, and reaching into the back seat of the truck, produced two of these pecan pickers.

pecan picker

pecan picker

I’d never seen one of these gadgets before, and was impressed with just how well it worked.   The device was a galvanized steel, spring loaded clam-shell with some wire “fingers” strung across the open mouth.  All one had to do was walk along and stab at the ground where the pecans lay.  The pecans would pass through the steel wires – momentarily deflecting them out of the way, and then would remain trapped in the device until it was positioned over the pail and the two semi-circular tabs seen on the left side of the device were pressed against the top of the pail, causing the  clam-shell to open and the pecans to fall out.

In 15 mins time, we filled the pail about 2/3 full and decided we had enough.  Returning home,   I entertained myself  shelling some of them and trying to perfect my technique so that I didn’t crush the meat of the nut along with the shell.

Pecan sheller
Pecan sheller

As I shelled the pecans and carefully separated out the meat, I took note of how the nuts were structured inside.  I reflected a bit on the wonder of nature – the mechanism that converts minerals, water, and CO2 into something alive made out of wood, which in turn, makes something edible like the pecan.   No technology, just life. 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. David Churbuck permalink
    January 7, 2009 1:51 pm

    I like the mechanism that converts pecans into pecan pies — the only food known to go directly to one’s butt, making it larger.

  2. Sara Escobar permalink
    February 5, 2009 1:57 pm

    I would like to have information on where to purchase the pecan picker. Thanks

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