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Growing up in Bandera

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The early signs are indicating that I might have a good crop of pecans this year.

Last year was so good I had enough on the trees here at my house for both me and the squirrels. I managed to shell enough to stash away a few quarts in the freezer to be used on cake toppings and satisfy my wife’s pecan snack appetite.

When I’m shelling with my inertia nutcracker on the front porch, I have to share with the big dogs too.

Last year we had a bumper crop of peaches on our one lone tree. The number of peaches to come from one tree was almost unbelievable.

It looks like the tree is still tired from all that fruit bearing last season and has decided to take a break this year. Only a pitiful handful are visible.

I have a miniature plum tree that I planted about six or seven years ago, and to date I have only harvested one plum. It blooms early and usually gets frost bit. Sometimes it will form small plums, and the next thing I know, they have all just disappeared.

I would replace it, but it is really a pretty tree. Maybe some day.

We seem to have an abundance of squirrels everywhere this year.

Maybe that is due to the native pecan crop along the river last fall. Of all the varieties of pecans available now, you won’t find one with a better taste.

They are small, but they will always be my favorite. They shell surprisingly easy with a nutcracker.

I usually manage to get a few mustang grapes every year at a place near the river, but due to some tree trimming around utility lines last year, the vine size has been downsized considerably.

The birds, varmints and I usually share the crop, but this year I may have to pass so there is enough to go around.

Dewberries are still plentiful along the Medina River if you know where to go. The few I see around the city park area are easy prey for the ducks and geese, so the ripe ones don’t last very long.

Pear trees seem to do well in this area, and there are a number of trees around town that are loaded every year.

I’m not a big pear fan. As a kid I would eat a green one but never a ripe one - not even the ones my mother canned each year.

Feast or famine has always been a part of growing up in Bandera.

We sometimes have extended periods of dry weather making it hard to grow crops of any kind. Some wet years, the hay crop is plentiful and cheap.

Better to buy it and store it even if it>s not needed. Next year there may not be any.