Sunday, February 1, 2015

February thoughts

Here's a bit more about my tapestry diary for this year and a preview of the February weekly subject--

Yes, pecans!  Lovely, delicious pecans from the tree in our yard.  About every third year or so the tree produces an exceptionally bountiful crop.  The tree is large and old and gives lots of nuts for the squirrels who busily bury them all over the yard and for the crows who land in droves (murders?) to knock them out of the tree.  We My husband picks them up with one of those nifty nut wizards, all throughout the fall and winter.  They've almost all fallen now and the rain we're having tonight will probably finish the job for this year.

My husband has the processing of this bounty down to a science.  After he collects several boxes full, he washes them and lays them out on paper towels to dry.  Every counter surface in the kitchen is covered in drying pecans at that stage.  The next evening he puts those clean pecans into big stainless steel bowls and starts cracking them, tossing them into another bowl as they're done... that's what you see in the photo above. 

His nut cracker is one that his father "modified" many decades ago to make it more efficient to use.  He added a longer handle, for instance, so that it works more efficiently when cracking hundreds at a time.  Thomas puts it into the sink and has at it.  Placing it lower than the counter top makes it less tiring to use for long periods.  He cranks up his Pandora station full blast, stands and cracks pecans for hours. 

Next he removes the shells.  He sits with a couple of bowls on a tray on his lap, watches TV and carefully takes out the nut.  This continues, off and on, for weeks.  After the nut halves are out, he moves to the next step--what he calls "high grading."  He does that by taking each nut half and using the tip of an Xacto knife to scrape out any of the bitter bits from the interior of the shell.  More days of work.

When he's through with all of that he bags them in quart bags and puts them in the freezer.  And gives them away, bit by bit.  We do use some ourselves--he makes a killer batch of roasted pecans ever so often--but most of them are given away.  That's sort of what he likes to do best... give.

February's tapestry diary is dedicated to Thomas and his pecans this year.  Here are the paintings I've done from assorted pecans so far--along with some of the nuts he's working on:

And the start of the month's diary:

Happy February, Thomas! You nut!!


  1. I think you are both very patient people!
    I wonder how far south you have to be to have a pecan tree. In BC there are walnuts. Fran

  2. It's evident that you love and admire your husband!

    And what a team you make... both of you are givers, eh?

  3. Love this sweet spirit you both have. What patience to work through all of those Pecans.