Last week a cold front blew across South Carolina, and we had winds that gusted up to 40 miles per hour at Windham's Crossroads. I knew I was going to have to pick up limbs out of the yard because our house is surrounded by pecan trees. The good news is that along with the limbs, a bumper crop of pecans fell.
While we were picking up the pecans, I told Jane the history of the trees. There are 5 trees out of the original 9 that were planted by my father and my grandfather when my father was a young boy. Since my father was 86 when he passed away, and that was 14 years ago, I have deducted that the pecan trees are almost 100 years old. And yes, they still produce pecans, and this year there are plenty.
I can't begin to tell you how many times I've climbed to the top of this tree when I was young; barefooted, wearing shorts and no shirt. Don't think I'll try that today!
When Jane and I first moved to the Crossroads, there was a possum living in this tree. He's since moved on.
Although I hated the job of picking up pecans when I was young, it was how I made my Christmas spending money. I can't remember how many I picked up or how much they were per pound, but I do remember that I had about $50 to spend at Christmas. That was a lot of money in the early 1960s.
So last Friday, Jane and I picked 3 five gallon buckets of pecans.
I didn't have this little tool when I was a kid, but it sure saves my back now.
How is this for luck? Jay's Trading Post, which is located across the street, just bought the equipment to shell pecans.
So across the street we went, along with my brother Jim, Jean, Christal, and Jackson. You really didn't think that we were going to sit down and crack all those nuts, did you?
So not to confuse your nuts with someone else's nuts, you get your own numbered bucket.
There is a 3 step process to shelling pecans. First they are poured into the top of this nut cracking machine.
Then they come out of the bottom and are then poured into another machine that separates the shells from the meat.
Here's Jay holding up Jackson to watch the process.
Notice how we put Jackson to work when he hangs out at the Crossroads!
The third and final step is the shaking and hand picking to remove any remaining shells.
Then the shelled pecans are placed in a bag ready to be picked up.
Coming soon, Jane will post my mother's recipe for cooking pecans that's become a holiday tradition for the family at the Cottage at the Crossroads. And no, it's not a recipe for pecan pie.
Wow that is a cool way to shell the pecans!
I've learned so much from this post.
Thanks for taking the time and posting these wonderful pictures. I'm a true city girl and have never seen a pecan tree. I do love pecan pie though. 🙂
What a wonderful story. It brings back memories for me too. My childhood home was set among peacan trees. No air-conditioning in the summer and we were cool anyway in the shade of the big trees. They were wonderful for sack swings and building a tree house. Today living near Jesup, Ga. in south Georgia, there is a bumper crop of nuts here too. Wonder why some years they bear heavily and others almost none at all? My husband loves his pick up tool. It surely saves the back.
Thanks for sharing a wonderful story.
How lucky you all are to have these trees! We had one in the yard in my birth home, and the last time I looked, it was still there. I'd give anything to have it back, but that cannot happen. Pecans are so expensive now! The progress in the cracking and shelling is wonderful isn't it? We used to sit around our fireplace doing it on cold winter nights. I think we ate about as many as we shelled.
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I used to live in south Georgia with a pecan tree in the yard! Love those fresh pecans...but not the gunk on the cars! lol Hope you are having a great week!...hugs...Debbie
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SOOO interesting. I had some pecan shortbread cookies at a party over the weekend and I cannot get them out of my head. Very fun post.
How nice it have your own pecan supply. They are so expensive in the stores. My sister in law's neighbor's pecan tree drops tons of pecans in her yard over her fence so she usually gives us a big bag of them. Thanks for sharing the history of the trees.
I totally loved reading this post! Thanks for sharing the history of the trees!
So interesting...I loved this post!
This was really fascinating. I've not seen pecans harvested before. This is my first visit to your site, so I took some extra time to browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. You've created a great spot for your readers to enjoy and I really enjoyed the time I spent here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary
This post just made my day!! My Mother is 87 years old and was raised on a small farm outside of Hazelhurst Ga. .... She too planted several pecan trees in their back yard when she was a little girl....Those beautiful trees are still there and those pecans are still "DELICIOUS"... You and your family are very blessed... Thank you so much for sharing your "Crossroads" journey with allllll of us!!!! Have a wonderful "fall" kind of week!!! Terri 🙂
Our pecans are on the ground too, another chore to be completed. Pecans are smaller this year, but tasty.
Picking up pecans was how I made Christmas money too!
Thanks so much for sharing the gorgeous picks of you picking up your pecans and the whole process. I'm in Texas and don't think we'll have a very good crop because of the drought. Love pecans but can't keep them in the freezer for cooking because my husband sneaks in there and eats them! Thanks for coming by my blog and leaving kind words on my post.
I am so happy you have lots of pecans. I hope we get a bag or two for Christmas. Nothing better than the recipe Mother would fix every year for us all to eat. What fun and delicious for everyone. I hope you do make a pecan pie for the holidays too. Thanks Jane and Leo for your continued care of the Crossroads. It sure makes us proud. Jean
Gracias, Leo y Jane, por enseñarnos este proceso de las nueces, además de bonito, yo no conocía el árbol, es maravilloso un gran tesoro tienen ahí ustedes. Saludos.
Very interesting post. I love pecans! My grandparents had a pecan tree and a black walnut tree. I never thought it was much fun to crack and shell them, but loved to eat them. Glad Jackson was there to help, learn the history, and have the memories to pass along!
Only thing you left out - do you say "pee-cahns" or "pee-cans" I grew up in Alabama and we say "pee-cahns!" Can't believe Paula Deen (in GA) says "pee-cans!" LOL!
I love this! Since I now know you are right down the road from me, I have a convenient pecan sheller nearby!
Great post I have never seen the pecans still in the shells. I love that there is machine close by to help get the pecans out of the shell. When I was younger we had a walnut tree and I would shell them with my father. It took forever and for years I hated the smell of walnuts and taste. Now I am just starting to like Walnuts.
There is nothing like southern pecans. I don't think there will be a big crop here this year due to the drought. But of course that is why you gather extra and freeze in the good years, because about every two or three years there is a bad year. Looking forward to Jane's recipe.
What a great post Leo! I've never seen a pecan tree before or known anything about pecans (other than I like to eat them) so this was all very new to me. Thanks for sharing a wonderful story.
What a fun post! Thanks Leo for the lesson on pecans! I would imagine that you must've picked a LOT of pecans to make $50 back in the 60's!
We live right by a mountain range and the winds can blow like crazy. Unfortunately, we don't have pecans to look forward to when the winds do blow. 🙂
Have a great day!
I enjoyed reading this post so much! Thanks so much for sharing. Years ago I lived in a house way out in the country. We had a huge magnolia tree and a pecan tree too. We also lived across from two cotton fields. I didn't realize how much I missed that old house until I read your post! Take care Leo! Looking forward to Jane's recipe!