What you see here looks pretty nice, right? But there's a dark side to this sea of white blossoms under a blue sky. The scene foreshadows a backbreaking chore this summer and fall.
When I took this shot of a flowering pear tree in an Albany yard on March 30, I could not help noticing that among all this springtime beauty, lots of little bees were buzzing around among the blossoms. I'm no botanist, but I assume this means that all these flowers will in time become little pears. And around about August, they will become big fat pears. And then they will, one by one -- SPLAT! -- fall to the ground for weeks on end.
What I have found about these pears is that they are pretty good eating, if you like pears. Trouble is that they are ripe enough to pick and bite into for just about 20 minutes. Before then, they are too hard. After that they have begun to rot, and then they fall down. But not all at once.
So that means bending down and picking up squishy pears, dozens of them, one by one, every day or so for three or four weeks, and putting them out with the yard debris.
Our only hope now -- unlikely to be realized -- is for a couple of nights of killing frost just when the little pears have begun to form. Or a wind storm to knock them down before they become recognizable fruit. (hh)