Rita Howell’s column

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 2, 2007

Now for the rest of the persimmon tree story …

Several weeks ago editor Rupert Howell used this space to wax poetic about persimmons. I wish I had a nickel for every person who has told him “I just loved your column about persimmons.”

Apparently, many folks enjoy nibbling on the fruit as it ripens this time of year. Or at least they have charming childhood memories of doing so in some rural autumn setting.

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Let me tell you, there’s nothing charming about cleaning up the mess underneath that tree in our yard.

Yes, I have made persimmon bread from the pulp after Rupert diligently picked up, sorted through, washed, and ground the plump, squishy fruit.

I just can’t keep up with what that tree produces. I’d have to quit my job as news editor and stay home and bake bread for weeks to use up all the persimmons from that one tree.

So, the fruit that goes uneaten by man and beast just lies there on the ground rotting. The yellowjackets, wasps and flies love it.

The dogs and I have taken to avoiding the entire area, as we do every fall when this happens. We have to walk all the way around the house to detour around the glop that accumulates between the back door and the car shed. It’s inconvenient because my car and their dogfood are kept in the car shed.

Last weekend I couldn’t stand it any longer. This also happens every fall.

I gave up and started raking up the mess, at least enough to clear a path for me and the dogs.

Now when you’re stirring up decomposing persimmons, you must be careful about the stinging critters who are quite possessive of their bounty and don’t take kindly to anyone who desires to rearrange it.

I managed to clean up a portion of the yard without being stung.

This is exactly why nobody plants persimmon trees when they are landscaping. And why the trees are only found in rural areas like ours at Eureka, where the birds planted them.

In my freezer is enough pulp to bake four more loaves of persimmon bread.

Still clinging to the tree are enough persimmons to bake a hundred more loaves.

My supply of energy and time can’t keep up with the demands of that tree.