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More notes from a country kitchen 9/12/11

Mon, Sep 12th, 2011
Posted in Columnists

I mentioned my dad in my last article and how he worked at the Canton Nursery before he married my mom. Dad had a milk route for many years. He hauled the milk in the old cans and before my folks had us kids mom would ride along on the weekends. Eventually he stopped and got a job with the Canton elevator hauling feed. This he did for as long as I can remember. Dad also did many "odd" jobs during those years. One thing he did a lot of was shearing sheep. Several times I got to go with and help. There wasn't much "inventory" involved. Just an electric shearer with one end that plugged into a socket, a board for tying the wool and some twine. Some of the old barns use to have an electric light bulb that hung from the ceiling with one plug-in attached to it. This is where dad would plug in his shearer. The farmer would bring in the sheep, one at a time, to dad and he would buzz off all the wool. The board was made so that the four sides could be brought together to form a square box. You laced the twine across the boards so that when the four sides were brought up together you could grab the twine and tie the wool into a nice square bale. The job of placing the twine strings across the board was my job. Dad had a huge roll of twine and an old pocket knife for cutting off the lengths. You didn't want the twine strings too short or too long. Too short and you couldn't tie them together and too long was a big waste of twine!

After many bales I got the hang to it just right! Dad would throw all the wool onto the board, I would bring all four sides together and then tie all the twine strings together to form one big knot. Grab the bale, toss it aside and restring the board for the next pile of wool. Sometimes dad got the wool for his pay and sometimes he got cash. If dad didn't get any of the bales he would at least get a big handful to take home. This was saved for when any of us kids got an earache. Dad had an oil that he would drop in our ears and then pack the wool into our ear. This kept the oil warm so it could do its job and also kept any cold air out. This usually worked! We didn't go to the doctor unless we had the earache for more than four or five days. I have to admit that helping dad with the shearing wasn't the worst job I ever did and it was fun watching how fast dad could move that shearer over those sheep! I just felt bad as to how "naked" those poor sheep had to feel when it was all done. Of course, dad said if he didn't remove all that wool those poor sheep would die of heat during the hot summers. Guess this is just another one of those good childhood memories!

This recipe came from my co-worker, Judy. It is a good way to use up those end-of-summer cucumbers.

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