Outsider Art

Texas “Pastry Queen” Rebecca Rather branches out with a holiday tree for the birds.

By Denise Gee

Photography by Robert M. Peacock


the birds and squirrels will love your outside holiday decorations.After the naturally glistening accessories are ready for their close-up, rustic pottery bowls overflowing with them are placed under the tree for easy access.

“What can we put at the top?” Ketchum asks the girls. Their eyes dart about the courtyard frantically until one spots a few lemons by a pitcher of iced tea. “Lemons!” they decree, racing over to procure them. Ketchum then finds a skewer to prepare them for resting atop the tiptop branches.

After the tree is crowned with a trio of the bright yellow fruit, everyone there helps encircle the tree with cranberry garlands before surveying spots for just the right slice or pod of fruit.

The girls direct while the adults smile and follow orders, adding ornaments to the higher reaches and moving a few things here or there for visual balance. Soon, the tour de force is complete.

“There’s such a sense of accomplishment when we all come together to get something fun done,” Rather says. In this case, that something is a new take on tradition, “one that I’ll always love,” she adds. “And one I hope these little girls will never forget.” By the looks of things, no worries there.