Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Yeah. I'm sitting around this afternoon making a little cornmeal. It's a bit of a hassel but I can manage. My table is a bit rickity and that doesn't help a damn bit. But I like the cornmeal and the good food it brings. I guess if I get beans too old to cook soft then I can grind them up with cornmeal and make a mush out of them. Vlad sent me that recipe and I have yet to try it. But my beans will still cook soft so there ain't any reason to do it.

You gotta "clean" your corn before you grind it. There are pieces of stem and little bitty pieces of rock in the corn so you don't just toss it in the grinder and let 'er rip. You gotta sort through it and get it right and then you can go to it.

It is a source of satisfaction to me to grind my own corn meal. I enjoy the production of my own food. I can go from the garden to the plate of cornmeal or mush without buying from a store. Pretty neat, huh? Good food and off the system. Don't get any better than that! Being a survivalist and staying out of the system means you have a fighting chance at surviving a severe economic down turn. And if that downturn is coming then you had better prepare for it and get ready to process your own beans and corn. I can get back into the garden tomorrow and I will be planting more of either beans or corn. Easy to store. Easy to handle. And easy to share. Put them up in plastic bags in the right amount for a decent sized meal and you have something you can give to your friends if woe comes upon them. And woe is coming. Believe it.

I like the old ways. I was raised in technology and I have learned technical trades but there is something appealing about the old ways. Like growing non-hybrid crops and saving the seed. Just the way it was intended to be. Natural plants don't have the Terminator gene spliced into them. Anybody with half a brain can see that genetic modification of seed is nothing but a scam, a money maker for a gene lab. You can fool around and save your best stock over a period of years and get a superior seed, a good producer. But hybridization and that sort of stuff leaves me cold. Give me crops that will reproduce themselves.

It's not like I don't admire being able to throw a switch and a dark room becomes well lit. It's pretty nice. The first utterance we have in the record is of God saying "Let there be light." Light is a good thing. And so is that coffee maker that I just touch in the morning and it immediately starts making me a pot of hot coffee. Sure is a nice way to start a day. But there are other ways of getting light in a room and other ways to make coffee. The Old Man taught me how to make Hobo coffee a long time ago. I know how to make the grounds settle to the bottom and all that stuff. You boil the water and when it gets to rolling you take it off the heat and pour in the coffee. Of course this was using an old time coffee pot that had a lid and all that stuff. It even had a handle on the side for pouring! You stirred the coffee in the hot water and let it sit for a minute or three to let is get all that good coffee taste into that water. Stirring don't hurt it a damn bit. After you are sure of your strength of brew, you let it sit a minute and then you pour a cup of cold water into the pot slowly and it will settle the grounds pretty well and you can enjoy the brew. This is not for ladies to sit around sipping in the afternoon enjoying cookies or scones. This is get-to-it real live man's coffee. Guaranteed to get you off to work in a hurry! If you don't like the little bit of grounds in the brew, get a fine wire strainer and pour through it that.

I want to touch on your land you use for your gardens. I have a pretty nice place to plant but it was built up by a man who knew what the hell he was doing. But it won't stay built up if I don't maintain it. I have to get compost to the garden. And I want tons of it. Lots of good compost. And the reason for this is in the event of a fuel crisis in this nation. Commerical compost is going for about $35 a cubic yard these days and the Yuppies of Indiana University at Bloomington are paying it. But there are over 535 of them working at the school who make over $100,000 a year. Nice gig!

And the same applies to you are far as usage of the soil is concerned. You can take from it for a while but sooner or later you have to give back. I have explained that failure to do this will result in decreasing crop production. It will also make your ground harder to work as time goes by. Do not fall into the trap of raping your soil and keep expecting to get away with it. If you build up nicely this year you could maybe get two years out of it if you had to do it. But soil fertility is like a bank account. It is security and it will feed you, but you can't keep spending and not putting more back in or you run out.

A good grower actually grows dirt. Good fertile dirt. The dirt grows the food. You just take care of the dirt. Let the plants do their thing like they know how to do it.


I got in 10 more rows of Horticulture beans today. That makes me 36 rows of beans and 15 rows of corn. There is other stuff but not the main crop like my beans and corn. Wife looked at the Asparagus bed and had me put on the brakes. I have never seen so much of it in my life. What a haul! The wife also got two big bags of nettle leaaves. We'll be having hot greens for supper for a while! Don't forget, Nettle leaves have to be cooked before you can eat them. But they are a free bounty from God and very well loaded with vitamins and minerals. So we had a good day at the garden. Don't know how I am going to get mulch and compost. I'll keep trying!

Stay Alive



Dragon said...

Growing corn is hard on the soil, so rest the ground on a rotational basis.... mulch and compost all you can ,so you can put some of the good back into the soil. Aren't there some grasses to grow that fertilize the soil when turned under? Good post Mike. Every little scrap of info could save someone some day. Dragon

riverwalker said...

I eat more cornbread than regular bread. Just "love" good cornbread(OK, I'll even eat bad cornbread).

Staying Alive said...

To Dragon: I am with you 100%! There is a move afoot to get a compost pile a building! My main problem is I need HUGE pile of the stuff. But all things work out one way or the other.

To Riverwalker: I am with you also! I LOVE cornbread. I also like cornmeal mush. Fattening but delicious.


riverwalker said...

BTW, I read your reply about getting a new bow saw. How'd it work out? After reading your reply, I pulled mine out of the garage(gave the old chainsaw a rest-gotta save fuel what with the higher prices and all)and deciding to work on a tree that needed some pruning. It worked great and I felt really good about what I accomplished. Thankfully, the wife stopped me in time, so I still have some tree left(HaHa).

riverwalker said...

Try compost "tea"! It doesn't take much compost to make it.