Standing on this small table I was able to reach most of the mid-level pears -- enough to fill a small picnic basket. Aside from some leaves and twigs in my hair and a little bit of bark grit in my eyes (Note to self: wear wraparound sunglasses to pick pears!) it was easily accomplished.
There are plenty left in the upper reaches of the tree so it seems that using a ladder is unavoidable. We will have to borrow one.
Here is yesterday's batch set up in the garage for slow ripening. According to the information from the California Pear Advisory Board, ripening should happen at room temperature. It probably gets hotter than that in the garage, which is a simple, uninsulated, redwood shed with a cracked cement floor. It's going to go up to around 85 degrees today and more hot days are expected this week.
But this is just an experiment to see if we can rescue a few more pears than in previous years. I'll also put some in the refrigerator to see if that halts the ripening process for a while.