Fall Beauty

These fall days, the air is crisp, the color is rich, and the beauty is full of God’s great creativity.  As Mark started cleaning up the homestead after a very brushy start, it revealed all kinds of treasures.  We discovered several Shagbark Trees and Wild Persimmon Trees.  The ground was just gleaming with orange balls of sweet persimmon fruits that dropped days before.  The Shagbark left us the spoils of hundreds of hickory nuts as well.  We felt we found nature’s treasure, indeed.


The Shagbark tree has a very shaggy looking, rough bark and can grow very tall.  It is a native to North America.  The leafs come in clusters of five leaves that have a toothed edge.  The nut is inside a round hull.


The children have been collecting these wonderful Hickory Nuts in basket loads.  They crack the hulls to reveal the delicious nuts by cracking them with a hammer on our brick hearth by the old wood stove that crackles with its dance of flames.  There is just something about a wood stove on a cool fall day.  It is not only warm, but the scent of wood burning and the sound of crackling is a comfort to my soul.  We will soak and roast these wonderful Hickory nuts and make some cakes and tarts with them.  What a treat!  The Native Americans were said to have discovered these nuts and ground them up and mixed the nut meat with boiling water to make “hickory milk” which was a flour like mixture that was made into cakes.  Most people today, prize the Hickory nut for it’s sweetness.  My Grandfather was part Native American, and he taught his own children to go on their annual Hickory nut treasure hunt in the woods of Wisconsin.  My parents later took my brother and I on the same hunt.  Now my family is enjoying the bounty of the Shagbark Tree.  And what a blessing to have so many growing in our pasture!

The newest two wild fruits we have experienced in Tennessee is the Persimmon and the Muskenine.  The first time I tried a persimmon, I made a big mistake.  I ate the fruit when it was green!  It has a certain reaction in your mouth that makes you feel like you bit into a chunk of bitter tasting wax.  It was dreadful!  My face began to pucker and all I could think about was “how long will I feel like my mouth is stuck?”.  Next, I thought I would secretly get the rest of the family to experience this odd sensation.  One by one each of the children began to pucker and reach for water until I realized another mistake.  Never trick the kids when it comes to trying new food.  They will never again trust your advice on what is good to eat.  They think twice before they think about trying it.  BUT, when I tried a very ripe, brightly colored orange persimmon, it was fantastic.  It is even delightfully sweet with no bitter, waxy aftertaste!  None of the children would believe me.  Oh well, more for me!!!!


They have several pretty large seeds in them, so you have to squish the lovely fruit in your mouth and spit out the seeds.  Not too hard!  We probably have 4 large persimmon trees out on the edge of the pasture, loaded with fruit that is ripe unto the harvest and free for the taking!  You just never know what treasures are hiding in your backyard!

A neighbor gave me a bowl full of Muscadines which look like very large grapes.  You eat them much like you would a grape and they are very sweet.  I whipped up a batch of jelly from the berries and it was just so good.  They simmered all day over the stove and the smell of them was enough to make you drool.  That evening, the girls and I made a big batch of biscuits with some vegetable soup.  On the fresh biscuits went the butter and the muscadine jelly!  Wow!  That was so good.  I had a pretty good turn out of four, 1/2 pints of jelly! Now I am thinking about making some persimmon jelly!


The views this fall are spectacular.  I just can not believe how blessed we are.  Every window out the front give a generous view and now that we have the property groomed (a big thanks to my husband and the boys:), you can walk up to the back pasture and see the entire valley below.  The colors just gleam richly.  We sat up on top our mountainside, drinking in the view, dreaming of a log cabin that we could build there one day.  My husband, a man of his craft, working the land, making it yield up its first fruits.  We snapped a photo of our view of the homestead below and the valley round about.  It does not pale compare to the real thing.  If only the camera could be as accurate as the human eye in taking in color.  It is amazing how you can appreciate the things God has created.


All in all, life has many treasures that are rich and beautiful.  They are sometimes hidden beyond the stubble, but as you sift through and clear out the distractions, you can behold such beauty.  And it was always there, you just needed to unveil it, discover it, and drink it in.

0 thoughts on “Fall Beauty

  1. You have a lovely place to live! We would love to visit my husband’s nephew Marlin and Rachel Zimmerman who live around there.

  2. Great post! Your posts always make me feel warm and cozy ♥ You have a gift for writing. I have a question about the hickory nuts; do you have to soak and roast them to store? And if so, how do you do this?

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