The Fred Tree
This Crismon Family story begins with Ollie Howard. In her late eighties, Ollie went to work most days with her daughter, Betty. Ollie's job was to baby-sit two grandchildren, Maisey age 3 and Zack age 2 in the office day care room. The highlight of Ollie's and the children's day was a short jaunt up the street to a convenience store. The reward was a lolly pop for each kid. Of course, they got to choose the color. Now these two kids were like most others - they wanted anything and everything candy in the store other than a lolly pop. Stern "Granny" was a good teacher. First, the little ones had to wait outside the door until given permission to go inside. Then, Maisey must hold the door open for little brother. Once inside, little brother must stand aside and let older sister lead the way. No running - and no picking up any item other than the chosen lolly pop. Learning self control is a tough chore for all small children - but a necessary character trait to learn that is self evident in these two children today.
Zack refused to be potty trained. Grandma and Granny tried all the known approaches - including Zack running around the office naked. (Business visitors are probably still talking about it!) None of the approaches worked. One day Grandma said to Zack, "We don't know what will teach you." Bright little Maisey offered, "I know how - tell him if he messes in this pants he can't go with us to get a lolly pop!" Sure enough, it took only one missed visit to the lolly pop store and Zack was forever cured.
Outside the lolly pop store was a desert mesquite tree. One day Ollie picked up a fallen bean pod and decided to grow a tree. First she removed the bean from the pod. Then she scratched the bean outside cover skin, scoring it a bit. After several days in a water glass, the bean began to sprout through the break in the seed cover. In a short period of time and after several larger pot transplants, Ollie had a tree. We planted the tree just West of the Strawbale House and named it "The Fred Tree." As the tree grew it was only appropriate to NOT ever prune the tree. As with Fred, let it do its thing - whatever. Notice how The Fred Tree has muscled its way into dominance of the 100 plus year old Saguaro cactus and the adjacent native Palo Verde tree. The Fred Tree's natural overhang is a favorite refuge during the heat of the day for rabbits, rock squirrels, quail, dove and an assortment of other desert critters. They all seem to co-exist in the cool shade.
Several years ago Brother Bill harvested a bean from The Fred Tree and after following Ollie's planting method, has a fine Fred Tree growing at his home in Texas. The next time you visit the Strawbale House, pick up a few beans yourself and start your own Fred Tree. Or, send us an email and we will be happy to mail you some Fred Tree beans.