Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Pear Tree in Winter

It's the holiday season, with parties aplenty and shopping to do and hot toddies to sip — busy, busy, busy! — but we are in a relatively relaxed phase of the gardening cycle.
Oh, I know some of you are hauling in the autumn produce and almost ready to start seedlings for spring.
And I do have a few winter crops in the ground. For the moment, they are care-free, thank goodness.
Around here, we are just grateful to be free of the tyranny of pears and tomatoes. They gushed in all summer. If you think zucchini jokes are funny, I'll have to work on some pear jokes.
"Hey. Want a pear? Want a whole bagful? Ha ha!"
No. Not funny. Though it was loads of fun to have a gang over for vittles and tipples, while they stripped the tree in late August. Must plan for that next summer.
The tomatoes I could deal with on my own. Lots of frozen tomato sauce in the freezer.
But the pears daunted me, taunted me.
And then, finally, silence. Calm. Beauty.
Being a first-time pear tree owner, I didn't know it would have deciduous leaves. A week or so ago, the leaves started turning a most amazing, well, peachy color. And then they started to drop off, little by little.
The tree is still mostly foliaged (I made up that word), but all around its trunk there is a gorgeous pile of salmon, tangerine, peach, loquat-colored leaves.
I thought I ought to run out there in the rain today to get a picture of what's still left on the branches, before they all take a nose dive.
I looked closely at the photo, and up in those two twigs at the top... You can see new buds forming.
Good lord.
Where's that damn partridge?


Dagny said...

More pears! Yay!!!

And of course, the minute I saw the photo of the pear tree, I had that partridge line on a loop in my head. It's still there. I hope it leaves soon.

And that reminds me. I need to open up my wonderful pear jam from The Wild Pear.

cookiecrumb said...

Dags: Sorry about the partridge loop! Hee hee.
Think Steely Dan or Charlie Parker or something.

Mimi said...

I have one phrase for you that I want you to read and memorize for next year: Pears in brandy. They are delicious on their own, over ice cream and cooked with meaty things. The leftover liquid (if you can stop yourself from pouring over things) is wonderful to sip.
They look great in glass jars. All of your friends will love and envy you.

Anna Haight said...

Pear nectar, pear smoothies, pear honey .. all yum! Pretty foliage!

Zoomie said...

I second Mimi's suggestion - my grandmother "put up" pears in brandy and we found some still in her cellar after she went to heaven and we _caroused_ on her drunken pears! Gorgeous picture, by the way! And they say California doesn't have colorful autumns...pah!

Linda said...

I have 6 fruit trees, but no pear. They are babies so last year I only got 6 cherries, 3 apples, 1 fig and I think there were a few peaches and apricots but the birds got those.

ChrisB said...

What did you think of the pear sorbet?

peter said...

We still have my Grandfather's "plum crazy" (plums & vodka in big mason jars) and he left us 12 years ago. Your heirs will thank you...

Liz said...

Never fear... some of those buds are for more leaves. :)

It's possible that your tree bears heavily on alternate years. Some varieties don't fruit annually, but it all depends. At least you have a good while to plan!

Monkey Wrangler said...

I ate a dab of pear chutney on toast right before reading this.......

And you won't hear the little wobba-da-ba or coooing of the dove until the 14th.

Catch you soon. Think naan.

cookiecrumb said...

Mimi: Friends of ours did make pears in brandy, from our pears. It was soft and warm and subtle. So, yes, indeed. I will memorize that.

Anna: How do you make pear honey? Sounds good.

Zoomie: Your grandmother! That's very cute. And a second endorsement for pear brandy.

Linda: That's a lot of trees (and a lot of variety). Didn't you think it was funny to find 6 cherries?

Chris: Ah, the pear sorbet. Marvelous! Like *concentrated* pears. Sweet, lingering. (Thanks, Sam.)

Peter: Plum Crazy. What a great name! Mason jars. Yeah, I think I can do that.

Liz: I'm actually hoping the tree takes a year off. It was intense. We were even giving bags of pears away at the farmers market. (Secretly.)

MR: Hope you liked it. We stirred a small dab into sauerkraut, and it was awesome.
See you soon!

peter said...

Pears steeped indefinitely in neutral booze: "Pear o'Keats." (Much better than hemlock.)

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: You're killin' me! In a hemlocky way.
(You worked on that one. I appreciate it. Not gonna try to outdo you.)

peter said...

Beaded bubbles winking at the brim, baby ;)

Cyndi said...

I'm envious that you can grow vegetables and fruits - I live at too high an elevation (6,000') to grow much of anything. Besides, I'm always gone for the summer, so if I had a garden or trees, I wouldn't be able to take care of it! BTW, those peppers look good, too.

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: Wink, wink!

Cyndi: Where the hell ya been? I thought you were doing the full-time RV thing by now. I've lost track of your blog, but will click through. :)

FaustianBargain said...


if you have the time..(1-2 be completely honest, its a *lot* of free time you could be doing something else!), you can make candied fruit. basically, you will be 'bathing' your fruits(whole, sliced or diced...whole fruits are prettier but will take longer) in a sugar syrup and you have to keep increasing the strength of your sugar syrup..until all the moisture of the fruit is replaced by the sugar syrup. there is a patisserie in the south of france where they candy whole fruits(fruit confits) corsican melons and pineapples which take several weeks...but hey! they make money out of it!

Passionate Eater said...

Although this post probably wasn't supposed to make me hungry, it did. Especially this delicious line, "all around its trunk there is a gorgeous pile of salmon, tangerine, peach, loquat-colored leaves." I want your green thumb Cookie!

kudzu said...

The pear and two cherries that hang over my fence from the neighbors' yard have been glowingly beautiful -- but the last couple of days' worth of rain has finally all but denuded them. Everything seems to be sleeping in the garden now. Nice last glimpse of your productive pear tree.
PS Speaking of loquats, that tree is beginning to bloom.

Emily said...

Is there a charity around you that takes backyard fruit? They're becoming more common, and what a great way to give a gift of fruit and use your pears without any work on your part! Do a search on "backyard fruit donate" and you might find a group of folks who will even pick the fruit for you!

cookiecrumb said...

Faustianbargain: Well, you happen to be talking to somebody who would love to make pear candy! Wow, thanks for the great suggestion.

PE: I didn't grow the tree! It was "here." I am pleased with myself that it hasn't died under my care. :D

Kudzu: Good thing I took that picture when I did, because the next morning the leaves had seriously blown off!
Now, who do I know who has a loquat tree?

Emily: Fantastic idea. Thank you. I will definitely research that, because the pears are *good* and I'd love to share them. xx

FaustianBargain said...

here it is

cookiecrumb said...

FaustianBargain: Yay! Thank you! Pear candy.