31 October 2012


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!

26 September 2012

The Big Fall Sale

In an earlier post, I mentioned that the big Fall Sale at Dinky's was coming up.  Well, it's here and I took in some of it yesterday and today.  It has been raining buckets, but as dry as it's been during the past summer, no one is complaining a bit.  We've gotten three or four inches in the last 36 hours, I'd guess, but it's not keeping folks away from the sale.

Not everything went as high as this skillet.  It reportedly sold for $1350.00 !!
A #13 Griswold skillet reportedly sold for a whopping $1350.00 !!  In a nutshell, the Griswold company made many different sizes of skillets.  The #13, being it used the unlucky number 13, was the most UN-popular.  As a result, few are around today and are eagerly sought by collectors.

The inside stuff sold yesterday, and the sale moved outside to the tools and implements today.  Carts, buggies, and wagons were being sold inside.  In all, there were five outside rings, one in the main building, and a harness sale going on in the north barn...all at the same time.  Here is a link to an account of the sale in the local newspaper:  Washington Times Herald

There were many crocks, churns, and jugs to bid on.

To the left of the stoneware in this photo is a second auction ring.  Some buyers were watching both and bidding on two items at the same time!

Here is a nice assortment of lamps.

The 'latest' in wringer washing machines!  All will go at the auction.

A nice bunch of grinding stones.

Some  'water purifiers' sold as well.

I'd never seen one of these...an ice plow or ice saw.  It is pulled behind a horse on an ice-covered lake.  It scores the ice and helps to make it easier to cut.

An nice old sharpener.

Here is a nice old corn sheller, ready to use.

Lard presses.

There were a couple of these nest boxes.  The perches fold down in front of each row of nest openings.

An old cider mill.

A newer version of cider mill.

A variety of butchering kettles.

If you look closely, there are three separate auctions going here.  Each truck has an auctioneer doing his job.

A variety of horse drawn farm implements.

Got a big dog or very active child that you need to put to work?  You can hook this treadmill to a lot of different machines!

More horse drawn implements.

A big old thresher.

I liked this forge and the big swaging block.

Tonight will be the big auction of Standardbred driving horses, and the horse pull will be moved inside due to the torrential rains we've had yesterday and today.  Tomorrow will be more driving horses, then Friday will be the draft horse sale.  Big doings for the area. 

20 September 2012

Working In the Late Garden

I worked in the garden some this afternoon.  I pulled up some of the tomato and pepper plants that were about finished and stored the cages that I put around them.  In a couple of the shots below, you can see some seed that I saved from some peppers.  Once the seeds are dried, I'll put them in envelopes, then into the freezer.

A view of some of the turnips sown back in August.
The sweet bell peppers were all very small, due to the prolonged and extreme heat.  They were very prolific, however, and still taste good!

Red Hot Chili Peppers, well...Jalapenos actually.

I saved some seed from four varieties of peppers.  The top ones are jalapenos.  The rest are different colored varieties of bell peppers.
 My neighbor has some long slender chili peppers in his garden.  I will trade him some jalapenos for some of them to dry and save some seed from.

I also prepared a couple of spots where I planted some late lettuce and spinach.  The coming cooler weather should be good for growing some late salads.  The short row of turnips is also coming along.  None of these plots and plantings would ever grace a magazine cover, but they sure produce good vegetables!

After scratching the straw mulch back, I planted two short rows of spinach.

Soon, I'll remove the most of the remaining tomato plants and keep only a couple to eat off of (until the frost finally gets them).

After removing all the plants, I'll scatter a good load of horse manure over the whole plot.  Then I'll till the garden up and turn all the straw mulch and manure into the soil.  It will continue to decompose over the winter and should make the soil much looser and richer, come spring. 

A few weeks ago, Patti and I went up to the Bloomington Farmers Market.  It was a really good market with a tremendous variety of produce, baked goods, and much more available.  I came across a lady who sells peppers...just peppers...all kinds of peppers!  It happens that I really like the little fiery red Thai peppers, but haven't had any for a few years.  This vendor had several varieties, so Patti and I picked out a couple that we liked the looks of and bought them.  I'll put in a plug for her business here:  The Chile Woman

I have the plants sitting in a south facing window right now and will overwinter them there.  Next spring, I will move each plant into a hanging basket.  In addition, I'll be saving seed from some of the fruits and start more plants from them.

Don't let their diminutive size fool you...these rascals will hurt you!
These interesting Ordono peppers are from Mexico and range from orange, red to purple.

09 September 2012

Recent Events

It seems that busy-ness has been getting in the way of posting here, so here is an attempt to catch up somewhat.

First, I'm happy to report that we have been getting some sorely needed rain.  After Hurricane Isaac became Tropical Storm Isaac, then moved inland and up the Mississippi Valley to become big, bad storm Isaac, we got the first significant rainfall in months.  In a few days, we got nearly three inches of rain.  Then, just over the past day or so, we got another two inches!  That is more rainfall than we've had all summer!!  Behind this last front came some really nice weather, so we've been enjoying blue skies and clouds and temps in the 70-degree range...outstanding!

I recently visited the weekly Friday night sale at Dinky's, over north of Cannelburg.  I took some friends over for the evening and we saw all kinds of stuff selling in the six auction rings going at one time.  I usually just go for the social event that it is, but I couldn't pass up bidding on the items in the picture below.  I scored the like-new Coleman campstove for $7.50 and the big canner for $3.00!  I was tickled with the buys.

On Saturday morning, Patti and I headed to the White River Valley Antique Association's 28th Annual Show, in Elnora.  I didn't take a lot of photos there, but the place was packed.  Hundreds of vintage tractors of every make, along with the old village and demonstrations of sorghum pressing and cooking, steam threshing and other old time activities were seen.  Below are just a couple of shots of the flea market area.

This lady had all kinds of old jugs and crocks for sale.

In the center of this photo, you can see a long line of butter churns for sale.
Below is a video of some folks cooking down apple butter.  I actually shot this at last year's show, but they were back and doing their thing again on Saturday.  The kettle is about two and a half feet across.  The stirring paddle is powered by a small engine in back. 

29 August 2012

Some Big Events!

On September 6-9, the White River Valley Antique Association will host its 28th Annual Show in Elnora, Indiana.  If you have any interest at all in historical and old-timey agriculture and machinery, then this show is one you should attend.  I've been going for many years, and rarely miss it.  There is lots of steam power, wood power, and horse power demonstrations.  You'll see threshing, sorghum pressing and molasses making, a steam powered machine shop, a country school, and too much more to list.  Below is an aerial view of a recent show.  It gives you an idea of the size of this event.

Here is a snippet from their website:  "The White River Valley Antique Association (WRVAA) Show takes a step back in time for both farmers and city folk and draws over 17,000 guests each year. This year’s show will have trucks, steam engines, horse demonstrations, field demonstrations, hay press, machine shop, threshing, hand dipped candles, sawmill, flea market items and much more. There are many activities planned and this is an event that you will not want to miss."

I will add that the Kettle Corn and Elephant Ears only add to the attraction of the event!  The flea market is huge.  If you come, be sure to wear your walking shoes!

Here is a link to the show flyer: http://www.wrvaa.org/show-flyer

In addition to the Antique Tractor Show, this weekend is also the time for the Montgomery Turkey Trot.  This festival is celebrated each year and is put on by the Montgomery Ruritan Club.  There are horse pulls, tractor pulls, mud volleyball, a cornhole tourney, pig wrestling, a demolition derby and concerts.  Of course, it also has a genuine turkey trot, where contestants race their birds for the grand prize!  It is another well-attended event in the area.

Here is a link:  http://montgomeryruritanclub.com/TurkeyTrot.htm

Finally, is one of my favorite events: the Fall Antique and Horse Sale, held every September at Dinky's, north of Cannelburg, IN.  Dinky's is the local sale barn and has big weekly sales.  Twice yearly, they host a four day sale for old farm machinery, antiques, wagons, harness, horses, etc.  This year's event is 25-28 September.  It draws folks from 30 states and half a dozen Canadian provinces!  If you can't find something here you 'need', then you just need to look closer!  It is a great time.

This year, the machinery, carriages, and antiques will sell on 25 and 26 September.  the Standardbred horse auction begins at 5:00pm on 26 September.  The big horse and colt auction is on 27 September, and Knepp's horse and colt sale is on 28 September.

Need some copper 'utensils'?
Everyone needs a church bell, right?
Cider presses, crocks, lard presses and other homestead items.
There is lots of old farm machinery available at the sale.
Tools and machinery
This is a view of one of the several auction rings going at the same time at the event!