Category Archives: Wildlife Walkabout

Persimmons are Sweet & Ripe!

Persimmon trees here in north Missouri are not loaded with fruit by any means, but the soft native fruits are falling and we are gathering them just as quickly due to their delicate nature.  Many people have never eaten persimmon fruit and i think i know why.  It’s a lot of work – not hard, just time-consuming – to process them.

4843fd57-8460-4de2-a4cb-85aeb6e9863a-1121-0000014ddb49bb2b_file

The golf ball sized soft fruits contain 4-7 seeds, which comprises half the weight and volume of the fruit.  Add in that the seeds are slimy and difficult to remove and the effort hardly seems worth it.  But their taste is so smooth and naturally sweet that they don’t need making them into sauce or jam –  the spread is just that tasty.  No sugar added.

Missouri Department of Conservation Field Guide – Persimmon Trees

Missouri Department of Conservation Discover Nature Notes

94ff0e9a-b1ba-46e9-96dc-bf62c61e214e-1283-000001b4d9176794_file
Fruits picked up from the ground are very soft and need to be worked up and frozen immediately.
81f8dd03-39d0-4a3a-b462-ed587fe24bb2-1283-000001b4c042fbd5_file
Never waste anything – these seeds will go to compost.
466e115c-b985-46c1-8def-ad360dce64e0-1283-000001b68982843a_file
I put the ‘meat’ of the fruit into my Ninja thing and whip into this lovely sauce, then freeze it in 2 cup containers for use throughout the fall and winter.  This can be used as a sweet spread just right away.

Bill Smith’s Persimmon Pudding (8-10 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3 cups persimmons
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Whipped cream, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease two 8 ½” diameter by 2” deep cake pans with butter.  Use a food mill, sieve, cone strainer, or by hand remove the seeds from the persimmons and puree the pulp; it will reduce them from 3 cups to 2 cups.  Combine the puree with the buttermilk.  Beat the remaining butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until fluffy.  Add the eggs one by one.  By hand, in a large mixing bowl, stir the persimmons into the butter.

Sift all the dry ingredients together and fold them into the persimmon mixture.  Pour the batter into the baking pans and place the pans in a larger pan filled halfway up with warm water.  Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the pudding is firm at the center, has pulled away from the sides of its pan, and a paring knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean.

Serve hot with fresh whipped cream.  This keeps well in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and reheats beautifully in the oven.

cf3f39db-b47d-405a-b845-363ee5486025-1443-0000022e927cc98e_file
This bark has a yellowish mold on it, but the shape and size of the bark is quite unique to a persimmon tree.

Starry Campion (Silene stellata)

As i was spot spraying woody brush on the road banks the other day, i came upon a tall slender plant with lovely white flowers.  Being morning, it was in full reaching-for-the-sun glory and i realized i had never seen or at least not noticed this beauty before.

The query was posed with a photo on Facebook as to its identity with no correct responses.  Later that evening, i drove back to my farm to spray brush again and pulled up a plant.  I took more photos and sent them to my daughter-in-law who is a top notch plant identifier in addition to her agronomy degree.  Within minutes, she had it nailed.

Starry Campion  is a Missouri native wildflower, but is not limited to Missouri.  It can be white or pink and is a member of the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae ).  Here’s the official description from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Description

A perennial with several stiff stems having short, soft hairs. Flowers in a loose panicle, subtended by a pair of small, leaflike bracts, with a cup-shaped calyx from which 5 white, finely fringed petals protrude. Stamens are long and slender. Blooms June–September. Leaves mostly in whorls of 4, lanceolate to oval-lanceolate, sessile, opposite, to 3 inches long.

Size

Height: usually 2½ feet.

Also called widow’s frill, this plant is a flowering forb but doesn’t seem to be desirable for most grazing mammals.  I don’t know – i’ve never seen it in my pastures!

Seek out beauty!

Cheers

tauna

 

Silene stellata
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
(unranked):
(unranked):
(unranked):
Order:
Family:
Genus:
Species:
S. stellata
Binomial name
Silene stellata

 

IMG-5973IMG-5974IMG-5974 (1)

 

Wildlife Walkabout – Trumpeter Swan

Finally getting back to my idea of posting about area flora and fauna with this week’s contribution being the Trumpeter Swan.  These past several trips to my farm – Tannachton Farm – has been highlighted by these graceful and seldom sighted birds.

Missouri Department of Conservation

TRUMPETER SWANS BRING GRACE TO WINTER WATERS

Don’t miss this video from Missouri Department of Conservation:

Voice of the Trumpeter Swan in the Wild

Read up on Trumpeter Swans in this Field Guide published online by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Trumpeter Swans are a protected species and are not to be hunted since efforts are still underway to established greater numbers of this beautiful bird.

IMGP4712IMGP4705IMGP4714

About the Farm this Fall

IMGP4418 (2)
Late afternoon break from work to enjoy my workplace view shed.  Missouri is having splendid fall color this year!
IMGP4421
One of my pretty Corriente cows.
IMGP4408
Bald Eagles seemed skittish this year, thus difficult for casual snapshots.
IMG_4882
Another corral improvement for this year, is that i set up these old panels across the upper part of my round gathering pen.  This way, the calves could be sorted into it as they come by, whilst the cows go on by to another pen.  Worked slick as a whistle.  Someday, though, i’m going to have to get some help, these panels weigh at least 75 lbs a piece and moving them into position to hook together is getting more difficult for me.  However, since it worked, these will stay put now.
IMG_4879
Showing how difficult it is to shift cows from one paddock to another.  HA HA!  Open the gate and get out of the way!

 

IMG_4863 (1)
Buckbrush, as we call it in north Missouri, grew prolifically this year, i guess due to excessive heat and dry weather.  Bonus for the deer and many other wildlife this winter.  
IMG_4848
Improvements to my corral.  Here i’m hanging gates and cutting a hole in my corral to make it easier to sort off animals which need to go back in a pen rather than let loose.

 

IMG_4847
This gate is used to make the runway (race) more narrow for young calves.  Once installed, it reduces the passageway from 28 inches wide (for cows) to 16 inches wide (young calves).  Everything i do, i try to repurpose stuff we have.  Profit margin in cattle is too narrow to spend money unless absolutely necessary.  Here, i’ve added this black plastic taken from a busted feed bunk and drilled it onto my gate.  This way the calves don’t stick their heads between the bars.  It worked!

Have a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

Fairy Rings – for Real?!

When Dallas was younger but old enough to mow June’s lawn, he would invariably NOT mow the fairy rings which grew in her yard during the fall (after all it is dangerous and unlucky!).  Fairy rings grow in wet, humid conditions – not necessarily hot, but certainly not cold.  But what causes these mushrooms to grow in a circular or semi-circular pattern with such consistency?

Tannachton Farm fungi Jun 2013 (1)

Well, beyond the obvious reason that it is caused by fairies and elves dancing in circles, the answer is just as mysterious and inconclusive.  In fact, there seem to be more folklore tales than ‘scientific’ proposals!

The science revolves around “The mycelium of a fungus growing in the ground absorbs nutrients by secretion of enzymes from the tips of the hyphae (threads making up the mycelium).[2]This breaks down larger molecules in the soil into smaller molecules that are then absorbed through the walls of the hyphae near their growing tips.[2] The mycelium will move outward from the center, and when the nutrients in the center are exhausted, the center dies, thereby forming a living ring, from which the fairy ring arises.[2]”

There are two theories regarding the process involved in creating fairy rings. One states that the fairy ring is begun by a spore from the sporocarpus. The underground presence of the fungus can also cause withering or varying colour or growth of the grass above. The second theory, which is presented in the investigations of Japanese scientists on the Tricholoma matsutake species, shows that fairy rings could be established by connecting neighbouring oval genetsof these mushrooms. If they make an arc or a ring, they continuously grow about the centre of this object.

Blah, blah, blah – i’m going with the dancing fairies, elves, and pixies!

He wha tills the fairies’ green
Nae luck again shall hae :
And he wha spills the fairies’ ring
Betide him want and wae.
For weirdless days and weary nights
Are his till his deein’ day.
But he wha gaes by the fairy ring,
Nae dule nor pine shall see,
And he wha cleans the fairy ring
An easy death shall dee.[61]

Robert Chambers, Scottish poet.

Tannachton Farm fungi Jun 2013 (5)IMG-4652 (1)

IMGP4319