Monday February 17,2014 Sleep Inn Suite 230 Abilene, Texas 6:12 PM CST
A short blog today since basically we drove back to San Saba and visited the San Saba River Pecan Company. As we drove out of Early I decided to call them to make sure they were open today, since it is President’s Day and banks and Post Offices are closed. The lady said yes they were and when I told her we’d stopped yesterday and continued to Early and were headed back down and then proceeding to Abilene which is Northwest of Early she was amazed. She said that there is a store in Early which carries some of their products but I said, no, I’d like to come to the store and she said they’d be happy to have us.
After I hung up, Bill said it doesn’t matter but if we shop in Early we can then visit the train depot which has one of the Harvey restaurants restored in it. I’ve always wanted to visit the depot and this is the second time we’ve been in Early without stopping. I especially want to see it now that I’ve read the book The Harvey Girls. BUT, my sister wants a particular item and I wasn’t sure they’d have it locally and the shipping and handling is so much to order online. He laughed and said yup, it is so much cheaper to drive two hours out of our way to get it. Let my sister-in-law do it—lol. Another lesson in math and practicality. But he really didn’t care—it was a glorious day today and we really don’t have any special destination on any particular day—at least not a time when we need to be anywhere. Since this was a repeat performance I didn’t take any pictures on the way.
Once there I only took shots of the orchard, the orchard store which was open and the adorable red truck filled with burlap bags, most likely not containing pecans since the harvest was over in January. As a matter of fact, had we come during harvest we could have caned the trees for our own nuts. The store did not have all of the items on the website but I imagine during harvest it does, when there are many visitors. Even so, I managed to find plenty of jam to buy as well as a bottle of Annie Oakley perfume. I have a small amount of Annie perfume by them which I bought in the Mercantile in Virginia City,Mt the same year I bought my fringed red leather gloves. How long ago was that? This time I bought the musk—a little bit goes a very long way—I think the spray on my wrist will probably last til Easter! LOL
While there we asked about pecan trees—how long before a tree is mature enough to bear nuts—can be up to 15 years—so, we were told, it is better to buy a mature orchard than to start from scratch. Or, as Bill says, ask your kid when its about ten if it would like to go into the pecan business and then plant if the answer is yes. By the time the kid is ready to go, so will the trees. We also asked about the orchard up by the Colorado River—many dead trees—the Colorado was dry during drought and the trees died. The San Saba River along which this orchard lies is spring fed and continued to support their trees. The other outfit lost about 2000 trees!
The discussion of drought brought me to ask about the goat market—it appears there is a real demand for the meat around here. Of course, as I mentioned that over the years we’ve seen a decline in cattle and an increase in goats, she pointed out the fact that goats eat less, require less water and aren’t as fussy as cattle. The drought caused a lot of sell outs of the herds and now the cost of rebuilding them is prohibitive for many former ranchers. Many have turned to goats or other stock. In Brady there is a weekly goat sale and in San Saba a weekly cattle sale. She said that while the cities create some markets for goat cheese and goat milk they aren’t really a big source of income. Locally, the cheese isn’t well liked—I surely understand that –it smells like goat and tastes just as it smells—gross. Betsy likes goat cheese which doesn’t surprise me since she loves Cabot’s Hunters’ Cheese. I’ve never tasted the milk but know that some children who have allergies to cow milk are able to tolerate goat milk and she agreed that there is some of that locally, too.
If you are interested in the products from this company—here is the link:
I tasted almost all the jams and each one is more delicious than the last—although I’m not in love with the peach, pecan and amoretto. They didn’t have any baked goods but Bill had a turtle and said it was wonderful. I bought a pecan log but haven’t tasted it yet. As for the toppings—I only use pure Vt maple syrup on pancakes, waffles, bacon and ham—have no interest in broadening my horizons there.
We decided to head to Abilene without going through Early and since the terrain was pretty uniform the whole way, I didn’t take many pictures there either. Noted as we passed through Coleman I noted a very large billboard announcing the 46th annual goat BBQ cook – off but Bill was driving too fast for me to catch the dates so I guess goat BBQ is not on my immediate menu.
One thing we came across were some “ mountains “ through which was a cut we could see from a long way off. Bill said I bet that pass is going to have a historical sign and sure enough, at the top, there it was. As we drove over the pass and onward across the plains it was not difficult to imagine huge herds of cattle being driven to railheads and markets in the Midwest. In our fast moving, air conditioned car it really brought home what a long, hot,dusty ordeal a cattle drive must have been. Brownsville, Tx is as far down the Gulf coast as you can go without being in Mexico—thousands of miles from Kansas City. Not too much water along the way that we could see, either. I would not have wanted to walk a mile today in 73 degree heat—on horseback for hours in considerably hotter weather. No wonder those guys wanted some whiskey, and a bath among other things when they arrived to the end of the drive and their paychecks! As for those beef steer they must have been tough as leather to eat. Skinny, too, though I’m sure they were fattened up in feed yards at the end of it all. Still, what a grueling experience for men and beasts.
Arrived in Abilene around 3 –unloaded some stuff and headed out to Logans for some steak, cole slaw and broccoli and some Dos Equis. Think I’ll watch Downton from last night and then the ice dancing—unfortunately, I already know who won gold—darn MSN newsfeed. Got to get rid of it as homepage.
Sweet Dreams! KandB