Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Pie from the Sky

Freeman House is situated on the side of a road - an old, forgotten highway-turned-street - and is tucked between one Cottonwood and two Pecan trees. She's a pier and beam house, meaning the back of her sits almost 6 feet off the ground. Looking out of the windows of some rooms is almost like looking out from inside a glassed-in tree house. It's lovely.

I'm smitten with this place. Perhaps it's partly because I'm blessed with a love of all things pecans. I'm a Texan through and through. The pecan is our state tree, after all.

Growing up, I thought pecans were the most miraculous thing in the world. Pie from the sky is how I saw it. My mother would bundle us up and drive us down hilly, tree-lined roads until we reached the turn off to O'Farrell Road and my Papa and Granny's house. They had pecan trees, too - hundreds of them, it seemed - and we were their official pecan picker-uppers.

It was wonderful. As the fall wind blew, we'd scour the leaf and pecan littered land for hours, kicking aside leaves and hopping over tree roots and filling our buckets with fat pecans. Plunk-plunk-plunk. When it began to grow dark, our mother would wave us back to the house and we'd meet underneath the porch light to line up our pecan pails. After dinner and homemade pecan pie, we'd sit on the quilt-lined porch swing and listen to our family talk as they shelled and sorted pecans. When our eyelids grew heavy it was back to the car, back down the hilly, tree-lined roads, and into a warm bath and bed.

They sell pecan picker-uppers now, I suppose because mothers have stopped bundling up their children and forcing them to pick up pecans. I bought a pecan picker last year and promptly gave it away. Maybe I'll buy another one when I get old, but for now, I like to hear that metallic plunk as the pecans - my very own pecans - fill my buckets.

(Aren't they beautiful? Miraculous, even?)

Of course, I also like being in the kitchen when fall/pecan time rolls around. I make a mean Bourbon Pecan Pie. Since they're local, readily-available (i.e. sitting in my yard) and delicious, I also use pecans for everything from Banana Nut Bread and Pecan Crusted Chicken to Pecan Pralines and Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes. And I'm dying to try these.

It is amazing, isn't it? From the time the tree buds in spring until the last pecan drops in fall, I'm in awe of the rhythm and beauty and abundance of this place. I thrill at the idea of a pie from the sky....

So welcome, autumn. Welcome, pecans. We've already made room in our kitchens - and our hearts - for you. Thanks for dropping in.


Unknown said...

lovely pictures - here in Britain we get pecans in little plastic packets - I've never seen the beautiful shells before.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Brin, you are so fortunate to have all those pecans at your fingertips. They are SO expensive to buy these days. My parents always bought bushels of them growing up & we'd shell our own. No such luck now. Here's another recipe if you'd like another pecan variation: Pecan Pie Mini-muffins...they are superb, I promise! Sorry, you'll have to cut & paste to get to it on my blog.


Cheers! Rhoda

Unknown said...

They do look good and are so expensive here too! Enjoy! Is your killer pecan pie recipe in your new book? :)

Deb said...

Freeman House sounds absolutely wonderful! How lucky to have your own Pecan trees to make such yummy treats. Happy baking Brin.

Lallee said...

We lived in a rental house in Georgia through the fall one year while we were building a home. There was a huge pecan tree in a pasture in the back. We took all the boys out with bowls and buckets to pick up the nuts. It was like an Easter egg hunt, well except for dodging the cow patties ;-) We had the best time. I wanted a pecan tree after we moved in the worst way. I love pecans in just about anything!!! Your pictures make it hard to wait for a fresh batch this year. I have an order coming in a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother's little cottage is surrounded by several pecan trees. When my great-grandmother owned the place we picked pecans for hours, had them cracked, and she would sit and shell them. Gave her something to do and she felt so important because we used them for so many recipes. She could still be involved in all the cooking and baking that went on. Now she's gone, we pick them up and have to shell them ourselves. When the ground is covered with pecans, I miss her most. Our little cottage has 3 pecan trees. Soon as the first hard freeze hits, you know where I'll be heading, bucket in hand!

Elenka said...

I live in the Northeast. I always thought of Texas as being hot and dry and dusty. I've read through some of your older blog entries and find that you actually have the four seasons where you live! Do you get snow?? At one time you mentioned ice..... How chilly does it get and how long does it last?? Are the summers unbearable? Do you have airconditioning? It seems so lovely where you live. The pictures of the Inn where you have stayed before look so unlike what I picture Texas to be. Have never been there, but you make it sound so nice.

Anonymous said...

I would enjoy picking pecans by hand too I think...although I have never had that pleasure!
I love pecan pie...let's make that anything pecan!! I am so envious that you have not one but two pecan trees..ahhh Brin,(sighing here)
Recipes are welcome..hmmm.. pecans would do too. lol

BellaColle said...

Oh yes, pecans are awesome! nothing says 'Thanksgiving' like a pecan pie...yummy

ancient one said...

Yum, Yum, pecan pie. I do love pie!!

And chocolate fudge with peacans.

And brownies with pecans.

And pecans toasted.

And pecans straight out of the shell!

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, my grandmother (who once lived within four miles of Freeman House) had four different varieties of pecan trees around the house and farm. Softshell, hardshell, tiny ones, large ones...I wish I knew the proper names. We had so much fun picking them up and picking them out of their shells on cold winter nights in front of the fire. Thanks for bringing back the memories!