It’s that time of year in north Missouri to start collecting and storing seeds. If i see a flower or plant along the road banks i like, i stop and collect as many seeds as possible. Lay them out to dry, then store in a dry place and start them early in the spring. I direct sow where i want the plants – transplanting just doesn’t seem to work for me.
Ivis and I enjoyed our weekly hike on gentle trails at nearby Pershing State Park – a bit cool and very breezy, but good to spend time together. Although, the calendar says we are 3 weeks into spring, there is only the tiniest bits of evidence.
We are so muddy in north central Missouri, and perhaps all over the Midwest, but i only know about my little piece the world that i cannot even drive into the pasture with a Gator. Back to walking and wearing my tall rubber boots to ford the running water. The 19th of March is supposed to be spring, but the typical telltale signs are far from sight.
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.
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.
Bill Smith’s Persimmon Pudding (8-10 servings)
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Rain is finally coming along nicely, but it’s too cold for grass, trees, and plants to really come on like usual making grazing challenging at best. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the stalwart efforts of springtime colors!
Ongoing cold, snow, and ice in the United States is exhausting and a break would be most welcome. Yet after a slight warm up today and tomorrow, temperatures drop once again for the foreseeable future.