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Picking Up Paw Paws

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This is paw paw country, the river bottomlands of southeast Ohio. Tall ironweed and the autumnal haze on the meadows. It's hot, but in the shade it's shivery cool. That's how you know autumn is here.

I am not done with paw paws, my friends. After posting about them, and hoping to someday find some more, the kids and I took off on the Hock Hocking Adena Bicycle Trail, that runs from Athens to Nelsonville, Ohio. It turns out that last time, we had unknowingly turned around and headed home at just about the point on the trail where the paw paw hunting gets crazy. So on a fine Sunday we drove to the point where we'd left off last time, and as luck would have it we saw more and more paw paw trees the farther we rode.

This is prime Southern Ohio paw paw country.
The more we looked, the more we saw--beautiful big green paw paws hanging, big as a newborn kitten, in the long green leaves.
Phoebe and Liam's natural foraging skills kicked in, and they grew adept at spotting the trees and their luscious cargo as we tooled along. We had to give some of them up to unsure footing or patches of defensive poison ivy or stinging nettle, but there were more than enough that we could reach.
I forgot my hastily-shed backpack as I shook trees and clambered around in the bottomland forest just off the trail, so I pressed my Life is Good shirt into service as a paw paw smuggler. No one has ever accused me of being a melon by Phoebe Linnea Thompson.

So. Is this a good look for me? Should I maybe wear them a little higher? Or in rows down my sides, piggy style?

photo by Phoebe Linnea Thompson


Liam found a paw paw hanging all alone and got to shake it down.
Then he called Daddy to tell him all about it. My sweet little paw paw picker, my sweet little guy.With each paw paw he picked, he'd ask, "May I eat this one?" Oh, yes. They're free.In my next installment, I'll tell you what it's like to process paw paws. I'm posting from the biggest Apple store I've ever seen, on the Magnificent Mile along Lake Michigan in Chicago. Cute spiky-haired Genius (why are they all pale brunettes?) just walked up and gave me his blessing to post away. Giving a talk to the DuPage Birding Club tonight. Sun shining, breeze blowing. Life is great.


Papaw loves pawpaws almost as much as Mamaw.

I am enjoying learning about paw paws. Growing up in Africa, we ate fruit that grew and called this fruit paw paw--however, I think they would be called papaya. I just Googled paw paw and learned that paw paws are unrelated to papaya, though the name probably derives from papaya.
How's that for confusing?

Never had one but it's comforting to know both Papaw and Mamaw loves 'em them pawpaws. So, I'd like to taste pawpaw one day.

Your pawpaw loading gear is almost as fashionable as your canoeing pants - you know, the ones too long to be called capris and too short to be called trousers?

My God, you're all too much :o)

I can just hear your kids in 15 years...."whatever happened to that picture of Mom with all those pawpaws inside her shirt?"
I think that's one of your funniest pictures ever and the look on your face is priceless!

Fantastic picture!
Would really love to try these some day. I've read that they're becoming a commercial venture in some places. How sweet to be able to grab some on a bike ride!

Gorgeous scenery and plenty of pawpaws… You wore the right shirt – Life is Good! Now you need to find one that says, “Life is Sweet.”

J., I love the pics. The one of sweet Liam calling his papa brought a tear to my eye. I can remember him at the age of 2 talking to you on the phone when you were off on a birding trip. Now look at him. Although I still see that little babe when I look at him, even with the squishy cheeks all gone. And I think that's the best I've ever seen you, packin' pawpaws. Love it!

I've never heard of paw paws. I'm intrigued.

Love the lumpy shirt!

Great look for you, Julie. Looks like you are about to give birth to a litter of kittens.
I've been looking for pawpaws around here but I think the squirrels beat me to them.

I was interested in paw paw because I did not know what they were and thanks to your post I went to Google and enlightened myself and now I know what you are talking about.

Audubon has a lovely print of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in a Pawpaw tree. Have you seen it? We have a huge grove of pawpaws here in southwestern Ohio on the Creek. I made two pawpaw pies and some custard today and still have plenty of pawpaws left for more baking. I want to do some "art" with the gorgeous seeds and plant another grove.

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