A Squirrel in the Pear Tree: That was then; This is now

Editor’s note: This article was first published in 2013 in the print Kol Emunah. See the update below. 

squirrel eatingHave you noticed the little tree right opposite the pre-school playground?  I finally did late in July [2013] when I saw some brown blobs hanging from its slender, leafy branches. When I examined the tree more closely, I realized that it was a pear tree with small, brownish pears-hard as rocks- hanging from almost every branch.

There were more than twenty of the little brown fruits. From that moment I dreamed pears: pear relish, poached pears, pear pie, sautéed pears, a true Sukkot treat from Shomrei’s very own pear tree. 

A couple of weeks later, the pears were still brown and hard but had grown a little bigger. They were still not super fruit size, but the score of them might at least garnish a Sukkot kiddush.

And then, I saw it…lying on the ground. One of those precious pears, still attached to a bit of branch, was lying defeated, with a big bite taken out of it. I knew that no human had done that. He or she would have been a fool to try to taste that rock hard fruit.

The only culprit could be a fruit tree’s scourge, a resident squirrel. A couple of days later I saw him-it certainly couldn’t be a she, after all the midrash tells us that it was Noah’s wife Na’amah who saved the seeds and replanted the gardens after the Flood. No female squirrel could betray her heritage so brazenly.

And, indeed, as I walked to my car, one early August day, I spotted a squirrel sitting at the base of the little pear tree, looking up at it as if contemplating which fruit to try next. The animal seemed to be challenging any human to prevent him from tasting every pear on that tree…which he did. As of mid August every pear was gone. There was not even one hard, brown fruit left to be the centerpiece on a dessert platter.

So we won’t be having pears for Sukkot.

By the way, have you noticed the grapevines entwined along the metal fence bordering the Red Cross parking lot? Maybe we’ll try for our own grapes…if the birds or squirrels don’t get to them first.

pear treeUpdate August 2021:  The tree is loaded with pears, some ripe enough to fall from the tree. A few have been nibbled on but the squirrels seem to have developed some respect for this now not so little tree.

In fact, the tree is so laden with fruit that the branches are bending.

And just a few feet away is an apple tree with small apples that show no signs of becoming red. They may, indeed, be green apples.

Apple pie, anyone?

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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

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