Tag Archives: pears

The pear man

pears
Actual Hacienda pears. Ugly but tasty … and organic!

WHILE I HEARTILY dislike having a nasty peach tree in the yard, I don’t harbor any ill will toward the pears.

They are perfectly good pears in spite of the fact that I don’t eat them. My child bride, of course, gobbles them down as she does any fruit within her grasp.

And our pears are organic!

I miss a few things from above the Rio Bravo, food-related things. One is Harry & David. They sell great fruit, especially pears, and their pears are prettier than ours. The other thing I miss is the Collin Street Bakery, especially the fruitcake.

Costco in the capital city sometimes sells fruitcake, and I’ve yet to buy one. Perhaps I should. Most fruitcakes are crap. Perhaps you’ve heard there’s actually only one fruitcake in the world, and it gets passed from one gift recipient to another, eternally.

But the Collin Street fruitcake is excellent. It’s that second fruitcake, the one you can eat.

Most of the fruit trees in our yard were here when we purchased the property. There was also an English sheepdog-watchdog that the previous owner tried to give us, but we did not bite, so to speak. We remain dog-free.

I wish we were peach-free. The pears ain’t bad, however, and, as I said, they are organic!

 

Damnable fruit

Green peaches muscling up. This is just one of many sagging branches.

MY CHILD BRIDE and I agree on lots of stuff, but the damnable fruit trees are not in that category.

She loves them. Were I living here solo I would uproot them all. Why? I’m not much of a fruit eater, and these trees, which were here when we purchased the property, toss their wares on the grass en masse, and there they rot.

And who has to clean it up? It ain’t her.

The peach tree, first photo, is unpredictable. Sometimes its bounty is beyond belief. Other years it does very little. Alas, this year is one of the bountifuls.

Pears, not quite so abundant but bigger. And the tree is very tall.

And then there is the pear, the second photo. Its output is always the same, too bountiful for my tastes, but certainly less than the peach. By the way, I’m a Georgia-born boy, and I know peaches. These Mexican peaches are sorry versions.

Throughout the summer, every day I go out and scoop up fruit from the grass, most of which have been pecked by birds or gnawed by God knows what beasts roam by night.

It is not an enviable chore.

I add this last photo, the red-hot pokers, because I love them, and I want to end on a positive note. They offer beauty instead of bother, and that’s what you want in life, especially as you age.

And it’s also why I have a Mexican child bride.

Beauty, not bother. Except for “her” fruit trees.

Red hot pokers. Pretty and peaceful. A summer blessing.

Accidental hippie

pear
Hacienda pear.

I CAME OF age in the 1960s, heyday of the hippies, but I never was a hippie. Didn’t suit my personality.

So it feels strange now that I am harvesting organic pears, tons of them, more pears than we can easily dispose of.

We don’t do anything to make them organic. We don’t fertilize with donkey poop. We don’t light incense. We don’t smudge. We don’t howl at the moon on summer nights.

It’s what we don’t do that makes them organic.

We do nothing.

We have a pear tree that is perhaps 25 feet high in the yard. It was already planted when we purchased the property. We also have a sour orange, a peach and a loquat. But it’s the pear that provides most Hacienda fruit.

Some years the peach gives the pear a run for its money, but the peach is unpredictable. Some years, nada.

The pear is steady, reliable.

We pick up and haul away incredible quantities of pears.  We give them to relatives, amigos and acquaintances.

You will notice two things about our pear:

One, it’s not shaped like a pear. Two, it’s butt-ugly. Of course, being butt-ugly adds to its modish allure. It would likely warrant a high price at Whole Foods.

You’d want to buy brie and skinny crackers.

In spite of its shape and a face like Danny Trejo, it’s quite tasty. I ate the one in the photo after snapping the picture.

Felipe Zapata: organic pear farmer and accidental hippie.

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(Note: Photo is the first here with my Fujifilm Finepix F850exr, a sweetheart of a pocket camera with a 20X zoom.)

Living with fruits

WHEN I LIVED in Puerto Rico a million years ago, there was a lime tree in my yard. Whenever I made a Cuba libre, I had only to step outside to pluck a lime.

I don’t drink Cuba libres anymore — and I cannot fathom why I ever did due to their cloying sweetness — but I still live with fruit trees in my yard.

Some were already here when we purchased the lot almost 14 years ago, and some were gifted to us by a friend who brought them up, unannounced, from the tierra caliente.

We have a loquat, two pears, a peach and a sour orange. There was also a fig when we arrived, but it was removed to add a carport. The biggest bugaboo is the peach, which tosses crap on the grass nonstop in summer.

If I had total say, I’d remove the entire lot of them. I’m not a fruit man, but my child bride is fruit for fruits, so there they stay. I would like an avocado, but we don’t have that.

And we’re not gonna.

The sole plus to this plethora of fruit is that if you squeeze sour orange over a bowl of pineapple, yum!New Image

And there’s the organic element. Our fruit is organic, which is to say we do nothing to them one way or the other. It makes me feel like a freaking hippie.

Winter cut & sweep

stone

I’VE ALWAYS loved stone, and now I live with it. Loved mountains too, and now I live among them. Don’t forget cool weather, and here I am in eternal cool. It’s a perfect world.*

Normally, the yard doesn’t need a cut in January. Usually, we stop in November, or rather Abel the Deadpan Yardman loses his summer gig in November. I quit mowing years ago.

But we’ve had the occasional unseasonable rain of late, and the lawn gobbled it up, deciding it was summer, and grew a bit, mostly around edges. The lawnmower wouldn’t crank, so I turned to the weed eater.

(Aside:  I saw someone with a grass blower the other day, and it was strange. Though Mexicans are always noisily blowing everything above the Rio Bravo — or did when I  lived there — a blower here is rarely seen.)

Out to the yard I went. The sidewalk is stone, and so is the Alamo Wall. The mountains soared in the near distance, and the sun was shining sweetly through the 70-degree air. I sighed. It was Heaven, honey.

But there was work to do, so I started the edging. The weed eater is electric, so no physical effort is required. Since most of the high grass was around edges, it didn’t take long. Down the sidewalk, around the property wall, under the bougainvilleas and fan palm and other stuff. Then a good sweep with an old broom.

The first winter cut and, with good fortune, the last.

A month ago, I posted First fire, last rose in which I imagined the sole rose out in yard was the last of the season. Boy, was I mistaken. After a couple of near freezes in December, the climate has returned to November’s style, and it’s wonderful. We have a number of new roses and golden datura.

And more fires have been ignited, the last being on Thursday, dead leaves from the loquat and pear trees. Fires provide the aroma of Autumn, and that’s real nice.

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Once a year I climb the circular stairs to the roof to sweep. But that only puts me atop the second story, which covers most of the house. The kitchen area is just one story, so that requires hauling a ladder to the service patio out back to ascend to that part, which is the part that most needs a sweep.

roofThis is the kitchen roof, swept pretty clean, that you see in the foreground. The tile roof farther on, left side, is the roof of the Garden Patio. Roofs of red clay tile don’t get swept. After some decades, it’s a good idea to remove them for a good shake and brushing, however. God knows what you might find. Bats probably.

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* Most of my life was spent in South Georgia, North Florida, South Louisiana and East Texas, places notable for lack of stones and mountains and an excess of sweltering heat. I’ve done a 180. Praise be, brother!

Peaches and the slow life

peaches
These are the actual peaches on the Hacienda tree.

THIS DAY dawned perfectly — cool, almost completely blue above, and stunning sunshine. This being the rainy season, we often do not dawn sunny, but today we did.

You’ve heard of slow cooking. Well, one of us (not the other) lives a slow life here at the Hacienda. This means nothing much gets done most days, and life tastes better for it. Some people thrive on activity. I am married to one of those people. Others thrive on the slow life. That’s the one she is married to.

But let’s move on to peaches. The peach tree in the yard is loaded. They are starting to drop on the grass, which I do not appreciate because it requires action, the antithesis of the slow life. If anyone in the area wants to pass by the Hacienda, you may have as many peaches as you can tote. Free.

I have a ladder. No charge for its use.

Have to contact me first because we do not answer the bell if we’re not expecting someone. Since the front gate is almost a block from the house, you can see how knee-jerk responding to a doorbell is also the antithesis of the slow life. Be warned, however, that these are not nice Georgia peaches.

To me, they are crappy peaches. They are to nice Georgia peaches what my bananas are to a fine crop from a banana republic. Poor excuses. But they are free. My child bride eats them and declares them passable. She has also eaten grasshopper tacos. Just so you know. Maybe you could make a peach pie.

There is also a pear tree, which is full, and the pears are pretty good. Take a few. The sour orange bush is loaded, and sour oranges serve some purpose, I am told. Take a few of them too.

Now pardon me. It’s time for a nap.

Christmas wish list

fruitcake

1. World peace (fat chance).

2. Libertarian U.S. president. House and Senate too (in my dreams).

3. Fruitcake from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas.

4. Royal Riviera pears from Harry & David. Actually, just about anything from Harry & David would be fine, like the Hearthside Gift Basket Super Grand Deluxe, just $500.

If you’re gonna wish, wish large.

However, living south of the Rio Bravo makes Wishes 3 and 4 mostly impossible.*

Harry & David ships to Macau and Bhutan, but not to Mexico. The Collin Street Bakery ignores the foreign market completely. Rank discrimination, I say.

There are many advantages to Mexican living, but it’s not perfect — not just yet.

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* No. 1 is impossible due to human nature. No. 2 will be impossible until they send all us Mexicans back where we came from. Give each a fruitcake at the border.