Orange day lilies are found all over the Ozarks, and I don't know much about the plant, which I am assuming was brought over from some other country many years ago. They are the tall orange flowers you see everywhere in June, growing up about 3 or 4 feet high out of ditches and around older homes. Most people aren't all that happy about having them because once they get started you just can't get rid of them. You have to dig up the bulbs, and you almost never get all of them.
Orange day lilies are found all over the Ozarks, and I don't know much about the plant, which I am assuming was brought over from some other country many years ago. They are the tall orange flowers you see everywhere in June, growing up about 3 or 4 feet high out of ditches and around older homes.
Most people aren't all that happy about having them because once they get started you just can't get rid of them. You have to dig up the bulbs, and you almost never get all of them. I have a bunch of them up here on Lightnin' Ridge, and while they are pretty, they spread out and take over.
Now, I am looking at them a bit differently, thanks to my daughter Christy, who is a science and biology teacher and a summer naturalist for the State Park System. She told me that the buds which are about to become flowers are excellent eating. She told me to cut them just before they bloom, boil them for 3 to 5 minutes, drain the water off them, add butter and salt and pepper and eat them like you would eat asparagus.
I didn't do it, I told her mother to do it. But I picked them. The buds are four or five inches long and they are a yellow-green color. When you boil them for a while, the water turns brown, sort of like tea. I want to make sure everyone understands this...we aren't talking about poke salad or cow pasley. They are delicious folks, better than asparagus. I am mad at my daughter for not telling me this sooner!
But she knew I would write about this, and people would try it and pretty soon there would be a bloomin' day lily blooming in the whole country. I can see what might happen, because you could can them, or freeze them, and eat day-lilies all winter. They are exceptionally tasty.
I told folks about the day-lilies on my radio program Friday morning, which is broadcast over 107.7 f.m. from 8:30 to 9 a.m. from the Stockton Lake area, and many of the readers of this column in west-central Missouri are regular listeners.
A lady called in and said that she also takes the flowers from day lilies, puts them in batter and fries them and they too are delicious. So I guess with this news, I have finally reached a point where this column is of some value. In June, there are enough day lilies to feed a bunch of us grizzled old veteran outdoorsmen, and they will go very well with fried fish. Only thing is, they are bound to be good for you, and most of us aren't use to eating something good for us! But if you think about, they could be rolled in something and fried after they were boiled and that ought to make them even more edible, a little less healthy.
There are lots of good things to eat in the summer up here on Lightnin' Ridge, even though the spring mushroom crop was a bust. Right now there are black raspberries ripening everywhere, and mulberries will come on soon. I can't bring myself to eat the young rabbits which are bringing themselves to eat things out of my garden, but there are young squirrels everywhere. They say that shrimp will get expensive this year because of the oil spill in the gulf, but one of my cousins has been catching crawdads out of the river, and they are even better than shrimp.
Young squirrels are very good cooked over coals on a grill, and big bluegills out of the pond are also excellent eating if you can't afford shrimp. Pan-sized bluegill may not be big, but if you scale and clean them and remove the fins and tail and then cook them whole, you can pull the crispy meat off the bone and it only takes ten or twelve to make you happy. Green sunfish from the creek are similarly and equally good to eat.
It is good to live out in the country and feel so darned independent. If the whole world falls apart and there isn't any electricity or gasoline, what do I care? As long as the masses can't get out of the suburbs to come down here and steal my day lilies and bluegills and squirrels, I'll do just fine!
We Ozarkians sprang from a generation of people who drank spring water, chopped firewood to keep us warm in the winter and knew where to build the outhouse so that you could open the windows on a hot night and not worry about the breeze that blew through the windows. No one ever noticed the heat of July and August because our bodies grew accustomed to it. And that's why old timers on the farm could work in the garden all day long.
Technology came along when I was just a small boy, and my grandpa was ag'in it from the beginning. Grandpa said the time would come where we would run out of gas, sure as the world, and no one would know how to hitch a buggy to a horse. He owned an old pickup that had crank- up windows. I know that when everything else rusted away, those handles still cranked the windows up and down.
Today we have electric windows in cars, and I remember a friend of mine owning a Buick made not more than 6 or 7 years back wherein all the electric window cables broke. To get it fixed he would have had to pay 1200 dollars to replace window motors even though only the cables were broke. Technology made it so that you had to replace the whole darn motor when the dinky little wire cable broke, even if the motors still worked fine. What kind of genius came up with that idea?
My old pickup had a switch key that started the motor and opened the doors and it worked great. You could make a new key for a dollar. Today's new pickups do not have a key. You turn them on with a technological wonder that is plastic, and has a battery in it. If you lose it, it will cost 300 dollars to get a new one. Boy, have we got smarter!!!
We have a mess in the Gulf of Mexico, because of the technology to drill a well a mile beneath the floor of the ocean. We just don't have the technology to stop the catastrophic leak when it breaks. The President, who is awfully upset about it all, has declared an end to drilling for oil down there in that deep water, so the companies that he is punishing will pick up and move to foreign waters, and we will all pay about twice as much for gas, and soon.
I wish grandpa had taught me more about horses and buggies and how to build a really good outhouse. I think a time might come when we need to know more about that kind of technology. Thankfully, I am pretty good at cutting firewood and cooking squirrels.
I hear there are ways to make money out of that gulf oil spill if you can file a legitimate claim. I suspect they are going to have a quite a number of folks trying to get that money who might not deserve it. I am going to give it a try because my magazine may soon lose all its Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama shrimp boat subscribers. Somebody please send me the necessary forms, before a bunch of crooks get all that money.
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and the mailing address is Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613. My website is www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com