31 October 2012

Oops!

My wife just let me know that I omitted an ingredient from the Persimmon Pudding recipe I posted some days ago.  I have corrected the recipe by adding '1 tsp. baking soda' .  I apologize for the error and hope I haven't caused any culinary flops. 

27 October 2012

Catching Up

The fall colors have seemed to have peaked.  Some strong winds and rains have brought down many of the leaves and are bringing the first stages of winter drabness to the countryside.  That changing of the seasons is just one of the things that makes living in our part of the country so enjoyable.  The new header picture is one I took along the East Fork of White River in Martin County.  This stretch of stream is one of the best in the Midwest.  It courses through woodlands and fields, river bottoms and rugged bluffs.  It passes landmarks with names like Devil's Elbow, Heathen Bend, Norman Rock, The Old Man's Nose, McBride's Bluff and the Pinnacle.  The shot above was taken at Clark's Ferry.  Great country!!

I helped some friends get in the last of a late hay crop and also helped in getting in some corn. The ear corn was hauled to the stationary sheller that was set up and run through.  Even with the severe drought in our area, this corn made about 90 bushels to the acre or so.

We've been enjoying turnips from the garden and some lettuce and spinach.  The cooler weather has also caused us to keep the soup pot going.  We've picked up a quarter of beef from the processor and stowed it in the freezer.  The beef was part of one that we had purchased from a local raiser.  To this, the boys and I plan to add a deer or two when the season opens.  This is just a great time of year!

A friend just moved in a new kitchen stove into their house.  Actually, his wife had located the stove and bought it a week or so ago.  They moved it this week with the help of a brother and his sons.  It is a Pioneer Princess that is only about three years old.  The Pioneer Maid that it replaced had an oven that was just about baked out, so to speak, and the lady of the house had been on the lookout for a replacement.  As you can see, this one is a dandy.  Not only is this the family's cookstove, it is the source of heat for the winter.
The new Princess
Patti and I made a trip last week to celebrate her birthday.  While exiting one of our favorite eating places, we noticed that trees along the streets in downtown Bloomington are now sporting some hand knitted winter garb.  Life must be good when we can have sweaters for our trees!

A tree sweater in Bloomington, IN
 One of the things I had on my list to do this year was to make a bike ride to a state park we like to visit.  I made the trip a week ago and rode over to Red Hills State Park in Illinois.  Below is a shot of one portion of the ride along U.S. 50.  I enjoyed the fifty mile ride, although I think it cured me of wanting to make a bike trek across the United States!
U.S. 50 in Illinois

18 October 2012

A Couple of Recipes

Since I wrote about persimmons, I've had an inquiry about the recipe we use for persimmon pudding.

Here it is.  In addition, I'm adding a great recipe for chewy persimmon cookies.  Both of these recipes are used by my mother-in-law.  I'm pretty certain that, if you try them, you'll like them too!



Mim’s Persimmon Pudding
2c. persimmon pulp
1 ½ c. sugar
1 ½ c. flour
1 ½ c. milk
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
¼ stick margarine or butter, melted

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the wet ingredients and mix well.  Pour the batter into a buttered 9x13-inch pan.  Bake in a 325o oven for 45 minutes.  Serve with a dollop of ice cream or Cool Whip® on top.

Mim’s Persimmon Cookies
1 c. persimmon pulp
1 c. chopped nuts
1 c. raising
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
½ c. shortening
1 tsp. soda
1 egg
½ tsp. each of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg
dash salt
½ c. flaked coconut
½ c shredded carrots

Mix all the ingredients together well.  Drop the stiff batter by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350o.  Makes about 2-3 dozen.
            Once your friends and family try these, you’ll probably need to double the recipe to allow for ‘take home bags’.

15 October 2012

More Persimmons!

Today was one of those clear blue days that was perfectly accented by the shades of yellow and gold and reds of the fall foliage.  The gum trees are wearing deep crimson, while the persimmon and hickory trees are sporting vibrant golds.  The fall foliage fashion show is at full swing here in southern Indiana!

One of the chores I took care of today was to work a bit in the garden.  I cleaned up the old tomatoes that were left after I pulled the plants and cages a few days ago.  Then, I tilled all the straw mulch into the soil.  Mixing it into the garden soil will help it break down over the winter.  I had to maneuver around the rows of turnips, lettuce, and spinach, but was done in no time.

Here is an interesting sight:  We have irises blooming!  I guess this goes right along with the apple blossoms I reported seeing on one of our trees a couple of weeks ago.  Unusual, but nice.  You can even see a small beetle chomping away on one of the petals.
This iris is blooming in our yard.  Odd for mid-October.
Later, I made a run over to our hill ground to replace the batteries in the trail cam.  The deer are moving and we like to see what all is running around on the place.  My boys and I are not really trophy hunters; I've told them that antlers make pretty thin soup.  However, we do like to put a couple or three deer in the freezer each year and use the cameras to get a sneak peak at our potential crop of whitetails.  We always see a lot of other interesting critters as well--bobcats, coyotes, and recently, a shot of three young gray foxes running together.  And one reason for the battery replacement detail was one very photogenic and active fox squirrel--dozens of shots of him!

Yesterday, Patti and I made another trip to the place to gather persimmons.  This time, as we put them through the Nor-Pro strainer shown below, I figured out why there seemed to be bits of dark persimmon peel in the finished pulp.  The Nor-Pro strainer pan is actually two pieces.  That is, it has interchangeable strainer screens that have different hole sizes.  When the strainer is in use, bits of peeling actually got forced around the edge of the strainer plate and into the pulp.
This Nor-Pro strainer has a two-piece pan and allowed persimmon peel to get into the 'squoze' pulp.

So, this morning, I went over to the local flea market where we'd seen a couple of the good old Foley Food Mills.  I purchased the best one of the ones available and we used it to process the rest of these persimmons.  There was a big difference in the pulp...no dark bits of peeling.  Patti was happy, so I am happy.  The pulp was put into zip bags and into the freezer.
Here is a shot of the Foley Food Mill, an old standby brand of strainer.  It worked better for us than the Nor-Pro.

06 October 2012

Persimmon Time!

A rainy cold front moved through yesterday and last night.  With the wind, rain, and cooler temperatures has come the urge to pick up some persimmons.  This afternoon was crisp and cool and sunny.  Patti and I headed over to Martin County and went up on our hill there to a couple of dependable persimmon trees.

We gathered a gallon or so of the squishy fruits and brought them home to run through the strainer.  One important note to prospective persimmon pluckers--be sure to pick up only the ones that have fallen to the ground.  They are ripe and ready to use.  The ones on the trees aren't ready!  Try one and you'll see what I mean! 

The trees on our place are fairly loaded with persimmons this year.  We'll be going back every day or so to pick up a mess of them.  Late afternoon is a good time to pick them up, as they have had all day to fall, and the night crew of deer, foxes, raccoons, possums, and other critters hasn't had their turn at them.  Overnight, most of the persimmons on the ground will disappear as the animals load up on them.  The nutritious fruits help the various wild animals lay on their important layer of fat for the winter.  Just about every wild animal and bird will eat persimmons.

The pulpy fruits were squishy ripe.
This tree is loaded with persimmons.  One major caveat,  don't eat the persimmons off the tree!
Here we're running the persimmons through the strainer.
 After picking through the fruits and removing the big pieces of debris, leaves, calyxes, etc., we ran them through the strainer.  It is a messy, but rewarding job.
Each bag has 2 cups of pulp, just right for a big pudding.
The finished product.  Persimmon pudding is simply incomparable!
For those of you who do not live in an area of the country where you can find persimmons, you are missing a treat.  There is simply no dessert that can quite compare to a persimmon pudding, especially when it's topped with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream!  If, by some remote chance, one might become tired of persimmon pudding, then they can also be made into chewy persimmon cookies or loaves of persimmon bread!

Life is good!

02 October 2012

A New Granddaughter!

I don't want to brag, but here is a picture of the perfect newborn!!  My third grandchild.  God is good.

30 September 2012

September Blossoms!

I'm not sure of the cause, but I have some trees that are confused.  We have three ornamental pear trees that line our drive.  One of them is in full bloom!

I also noticed some blossoms on one of my apple trees.  We have had a bit of a cool snap with maybe one light frost, but I simply don't know what would cause these trees to bloom on the last day of September!


Apple blossoms on 30 September!