Monday, August 22, 2016

NOT MORE WHEAT - EV Melotte

I skipped the Agora Art Fair this weekend. The weather just looked to poor and after having bad weather the week before I could tell it was goign to be a headache.  With the forecast for rain on and off and particularly during set up it was just too much for me to handle.

Saturday as the day when O I was of course watching the weather every 5 minutes and it would have been half nice and half not.  Then on the 10:00 news there was a piece about the art fair and they showed a small crowd and they interfered the artists that are always right next to us.

DJ says "HEY LOOK IT'S THEM".   Very night artists that we like and they were being interviewed but as they talk they have both hands on their canopy trying to keep it from blowing away.  They even mentioned ME . . .well . . .sort of . . by saying a number of artists did not show up.  LOL

They must have asked about the empty 10x10 space next to them.

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Weather - upper 70's and maybe a low 80 once but for the next 10 days great weather.  Maybe a Thunderstorm Wednesday and Sunday but that is about it.  

As for this winter.  Warmer then average up to December but watch out after December. Below normal temps and above average snow. January through March.

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Wheat - E.V. Melotte

One day, sometime in the middle of the 1930s Pa hitched a ride into Medford in the milk truck to buy supplies. There he found that the government, finding itself with excess wheat on it's hands, was giving it away to farmers to feed to their cattle. Pa must have convinced the officials that he had an enormous herd because he came home with ten 100-pound sacks of food grade wheat.

Saying, "That's too damn good for the cows," he hauled it into the kitchen, along with an ugly but impressive coffee grinder that he'd bought to utilize this new food supply. The grinder was cast iron painted bright red, with six legs that spread over a good eighteen inches, and about twelve inches high. It had a bulbous container squatting on top of the legs, and a hand crank. It looked like a huge red spider. It fascinated me.

Ma wasn't happy, with the wheat or with the grinder, but wheat was good food, and Pa was adamant.

Our every morning oatmeal breakfast was switched to every morning boiled wheat. That was a relief to me as I always had trouble swallowing the slippery texture of oatmeal.

Nobody objected to cracked wheat bread, or to having ground wheat added to the meat loaf or the vegetable soup. We didn't like finding it in the green beans or carrots or applesauce, but we ate it. We children quickly learned to scoop our gravy off the top of the bowl because the wheat particles settled to the bottom, but when Pa realized what we were doing he established a new rule. We had to stir the gravy immediately before taking any.

Pa found a good use for wheat as a coffee substitute. We couldn't afford the luxury of coffee, so Pa was in the habit of having a cup of hot water with his breakfast. He now had Ma keep a shallow pan of wheat in the oven at all times. Since the cook stove fire        was always burning the wheat soon baked to a dark coffee-brown. When it was just short of charring it was taken out, cooled and put through the grinder. It brewed up nicely into a pot of ersatz coffee. It was bitter, but with plenty of cream and a spoonful of molasses it was a lot more satisfying that hot water.

As the family learned to accept it, Ma grew more and more lavish in her uses of that wheat. Looking back from an objective distance of over sixty years I'm certain that Ma was grimly determined to force Pa into saying, "Enough"!"

Pa was a stubborn man.

Ma was a stubborn woman.

We gradually became accustomed to eating crunchy pancakes, flat cakes and chewy tomato soup.

Ma's winning move was a work of genius. Pa liked to finish his breakfast with a big slice of apple pie. That wasn't extravagant, we grew our own apples and rendered our own lard, so every morning he had his piece of pie. One morning he was served a slice of pie with a crust so full of cracked wheat that it looked like aquarium gravel. Pa looked at it for a long time before he tried a bite, and chewed for a long time before he pushed the  rest away.

Nothing was said in front of the children, but from that day on the use of wheat was confined to cereal, coffee, bread and such dishes as wouldn't advertise it's presence.

I don't believe we ever used up that full half-ton. We left the farm in 1939 and we didn't take any wheat with us. Maybe we left it there. Maybe Pa sold it or gave it to a neighbor. Maybe, who knows, he even fed it to the cows.

EV Melotte

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DJ made this awesome cake this weekend.  We took some photos


I said it looks like a giant donut



It was amazingly good.