Saturday, January 31, 2015


In South Texas luffa or loofah is called estrapajo (es-trah-pa-ho).  Estrapajo grows well in warm climates and as such is perfect for the area.  Here at the house we grow estrapajo at the base of a couple of mesquite trees where the vines climb the branches into the upper canopies and when in bloom the trees are studded with bright yellow blossoms.  Over time the vines produce the long corpulent estrapajos we use for washing as has been done for centuries in many places.  The problem however is in harvesting each estrapajo from atop the trees.  This is where a pellet rifle comes in handy.

We’ve got an old .177 caliber pellet rifle here at the house and a couple of tins full of pellets so of course this gave the Old Woods Roamer a chance to hone his shooting skills and collect some estrapajo at the same time.

Each estrapajo dangles about 20 feet overhead and provides a moving target since nothing holds still around here in the persistent wind.  Compounding the problem is that estrapajo vines are fibrous and so when a pellet strikes a dried vine it simply breaks into many dangling fibers that continue to hold each desiccated fruit.  It then becomes a matter of splitting each fiber individually and that requires some precise shooting.

In about 30 minutes and around 50 pellets later I’d collected a couple of estrapajo.

Note the fibers that separate when struck by a pellet.  Each fiber needs to be severed before the fruit falls to the ground.

An estrapajo flower on the vine.

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