20130814-122337.jpg

Eight years ago a friend gave me a tiny pear tree to plant in the yard of my new house. Its trunk was not much thicker than my thumb and it stood about 5′ tall. We planted this twig of a tree on the NW corner of my house.

Within the first year it was producing huge, green, Bartlett pears, much too large for its small size. Branches drooped and sagged under the weight. I picked dozens early, trying to ease the weight.

It survived years of my being on location with random renters/housesitters forgetting to water it. It made it through a house renovation, standing like a small tree island in the middle of a yard of trenches. And it continued to produce bushels of pears.

Yesterday, upon returning from a quick trip to LA, I looked at and realized how attached I am to this tree. I worry about it when I’m away and call neighbors to check on it. It makes me happy to leave bags of pears on their doorsteps afterwards.

Initially pears confused me. Never ripening on the tree, I wasn’t sure when to pick them. Finally I realized that it was simple, all I had to do was put my hand around one and it would either come off easily or not. Then into a paper bag they went, ripening within a week. Cut up with some cheese or baked in a tart, there’s really nothing better than the perfect pear.