Good Persimmon Season

Persimmons - Trail of Tears 09-27-2014We made a swing by Trail of Tears State Park to check the status of a persimmon tree next to the lake. That baby was so full of fruit the branches were pulling down. One of the dark orange ones came off the branch easily, but it was still firm enough that I wouldn’t risk biting into it.

A few have started falling

Persimmons - Trail of Tears 09-27-2014I picked up several persimmons that had fallen on the ground, looking for ones that had that “squishy” feel that indicates they might be pucker-proof. Mother is the persimmon expert, so I let her have her pick. She rejected the one plucked from the tree as being “green,” despite its orange color. She tossed out two that were soft, but had worm holes. The last she pronounced as good-tasting but hot from the afternoon sun.

Here’s what the tree looked like last year when the leaves were gone.

Waiting for the first frost

Persimmons - Trail of Tears 09-27-2014Tradition has it that persimmons aren’t good until after the first frost, but we’ve had ripe persimmons in late summer off a tree at Tower Rock, and the one today was sweet. I think the “first frost” rule has more to do with how long the fruit ripens rather than anything the frost has to do with it.

Speaking of tradition, have you ever used the seed to predict what kind of winter you’re going to have? If you cut the seed in half and see a fork, it is said the winter will be mild; a spoon means lots of snow, and a knife means it will be bitterly cold.

Seeds cut by the Farmers’ Almanac’s Persimmon Lady, who lives in North Carolina, came up all spoons this year. She makes it clear that the forecast is only good for the immediate area, but comments from other parts of the country sound like you should make sure you know where your snow shovel is.

I haven’t checked any Cape persimmon seeds. I value my fingertips too much to try to split the seeds, and Mother faints at the sight of blood.

Cape Rock tree is loaded, too

Persimmons - Trail of Tears 09-27-2014There’s a tree next to the railroad tracks in the parking area below Cape Rock that is loaded, but the persimmons are marble-sized, less than a third or half the size of the ones at Trail of Tears. What few persimmons have fallen were small and hard, so we couldn’t do a taste test on them.

M/V Thomas K Off Cape Rock

Cape Rock 05-02-2014No trip to Cape is complete without at least one trip to Cape Rock. I got there just as the M/V Thomas K was pushing a string of barges south. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Thomas K was once Kay A. Eckstein

Cape Rock 05-02-2014Dick’s Towboat Gallery reports that the Thomas K was originally named the Kay A. Eckstein when she was built in 1982. The name was changed in March 1989.

Shipwrecklog reports that the Kay A. Eckstein lost 16 of the 30 barges she was pushing on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg March 23, 2011, when she struck a railroad bridge when the river was flooding. The story is a bit confusing because the first site said the name changed BEFORE 2011.

One Kay A. Eckstein became reef

There may have been more than one Kay A. Eckstein. A report by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks, Inc., said that “On May 23 1999 an engine room fire erupted on the Kay A. Eckstein. The vessel was proceeding upriver in the Mississippi River, near St. Francisville, La., pushing 29 barges. All 10 crewmembers aboard the vessel were safely evacuated. Due to the 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board at the time of the incident, the fire continued for 12 hours, and the vessel sank near the bank of the river as a result of the water burden created during fire-fighting. The vessel was re-floated, and after completing an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fire, Marquette Transportation agreed to fund the expense associated with cleaning and preparing the hull as a reef donation and the cost of transporting the vessel to the deployment site.

On May 20, 2005, the vessel was sunk to become a fishing reef after the wheel house was cut off to keep it from becoming a hazard in the shallow water.