The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "Cold Weather's A Come'n" "Things About Our Ancestors"

Greetings to ever one in western Illinois and all readers of The Quill. Cold weather has been around long enough for ever one ta either be adjusted to it or at least resolved there's noth'n ya can do about it, "Global warm'n" aside.

Cold weather Is Come'n

Usually we expect good farm'n weather until at least Thanksgive'n holiday, the fourth Thursday in November. It's been nearly 30 years since we've had it this cold, this early.

Ya could shore see farmer's a putt'n, "hustle ta the muscle" once they learned what was ahead fer the weather this past week. Some made it and some didn't, on what they wanted ta accomplish. That included not only harvest but also fall tillage and fertilizer applications.

With snow a fresh fer now, harvest is hindered by its presence, fouling up the cleaning shoes on the combines. Hopefully, the snow will evaporate, blow off the crop or melt soon ta allow farmers ta finish their harvest.

As freezing weather continued night after night, farmers ran longer hours way into the late hours hustl'in ta get nitrogen on and tillage, as needed, complete. Some fellers got by with only 2 ta 3 hours sleep before they went back ta the fields. Quitt'n around midnight they was back on their tractors seats and in the field by 3 a.m. Now those fellers were dedicated to gett'n their work done with stubborn determination.

The first job, betwixt NH3 application and tillage, ta be stopped short by frost in the ground was NH3. Late Thursday and into Friday, knives on the equipment would break and then shanks. Those with heavier equipment and/or springs on their shanks were able ta run well into Friday night and a few into Saturday.

Chisel plowing continued into Saturday night, even though it snowed some in various parts of western Illinois. By Sunday I observed no field work be'n done fer the most part.

Well it was over fer those fellers had worked long and hard and needed rest f'n fer noth'n else than fer safeties sake. Maybe the weather will moderate soon and let those who need to, get back at their work in the fields. Let's hope so.

As fer those fellers with livestock, their work is now compounded by the weather. Keep'n livestock healthy with cold weather and snow is a chore in and of itself. But, fer those remain'n farmers with livestock, it can be a labor of love.

Gross Things Our Ancestors Ate

I was a read'n recently what one source called, "Gross Things Our Ancestors Ate". That source way probably a pampered "city slicker" or an over-weight fast food "whipper snapper" who never knew hard times.

On that list of "bizarre or gross foods" as they were referred to, was squirrel, tongue, calf's head soup, cattle brain, Rocky Mountain oysters and Eagle. The list left off some of the earlier times better dishes such as Ground Hog, Raccoon, "Possum, and Dandelion! When ya is hungry enough, ya is capable of eat'n about anything, even the rear end of a grizzy bear.

Includ'n squirrel on that list surprised me, as did Rocky Mountain oysters. The thought was they was ate by folks in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some even ate them, because of the availability, into the "Great Depression" of the 30's, it was noted. Golly, I hadn't realized they were no longer be'n eat'n today?

I know of one feller who served his family fresh cut, "Rocky Mountain oysters" but because his daughter was finicky on the matter, called them tenderized rabbit. The meal was enjoyed by all at the time and deemed delicious even by the daughter.

Later she inadvertently found out what she had ate and was not pleased. Pappa was in big trouble!

My wife served me tongue when we were first married, over five decades ago, as that was her families custom along with scrambled calf brain. She forgot ta skin the tongue at the time. I reckon if'n I live long enough and gets a bad case of dementia, I might try it again once. In the meantime I's a long time ago resolved ta hold off on them two specialties!

Calves head soup, clabber and scrapple aren't eat'n much these days either. Calves head soup was mashed thoroughly and boiled until the meat fell off.

Scrapple took pork scraps and chopped them into mush. That mess was then formed into patties and fried or grilled. Clabber was new milk left to curdle and sour at room temperature. It was eaten like yogurt today and used in baking before the advent of baking powder.

When times is hard and money scarce as hen's teeth, a feller can improvise ta survive. In 1937, James L. Kraft introduced the Kraft Dinner ("KD") in a mostly yellow box. A meal for four could be ready in nine minutes - all fer 19 cents. Macaroni and cheese is still popular today, but not for 19 cents fer a family of four.

Victory Gardens produced as much as 40 percent of the produce consumed near the end of World War II, it is claimed. Obesity was reduced at the time along with type 2 diabetes.

As fer "Eagle" I just put that in there ta see if'n ya was read'n careful.

Nobody would ever eat Eagle as long as there was plenty of owl and chicken hawk to nibble on back in them days. Eagle was too scarce and hard ta find and eat'n em was soon ta be outlawed. As fer most folk they preferred ground hog or coon over them 3 birds, and was more plentiful anyhow.

Me and the boy's is a hope'n Curt Eisenmayer is a gett'n better, wish'n him well, and remember'n him in our prayers.

Hope'n ta see you'ns in church this week. Where ever ya is, what ever ya be a do'n, "BE A GOOD ONE!"

Keep on Smile'n

Catch ya later