Sunday, October 7, 2007

Old MacDonald's Farm

Day 10
Weight: 215 lbs.
Food Intake:
Breakfast: small cup of banana juice
chunk of hot homemade barley bread
a banana
Lunch: stewed squash seasoned with sea salt (3 young summer squashes)
half an avocado
thin slice of barley bread
Dinner: small cup of mango juice
small avocado on barley sandwich (mashed avocado spread between two thin layers of barley bread
stewed squash seasoned with sea salt (3 young summer squashes)

Early this morning while scouting up the river for firewood, I saw the first evidence of other humans on this land. A small abandoned farm which looked to have been washed out in a flood. There were a few mud brick out buildings which had survived, but none of them looked habitable. I began looking around the farm for things I might be able to use and found a field of barley. It was unkempt but plenty. Barley ... what could I make with barley? Beer came to mind, but I really don't like the taste of beer. This was a grain. I needed to find a way to use it.

As I was walking through the field I saw a large animal. At first I thought it was a water buffalo, but then I realized it was a milk cow eating the barley. A milk cow! Maybe it was a lost calf left behind when the previous owner abandoned the farm. Judging from the state of the ruins, it may have been several generations of cows since this place was washed out. But there it was. Milk ... butter ... cheese ... I must have this cow. It likes the barley and there is plenty enough here for me to feed it.

I didn't want to chance losing that cow, so I looked around for some rope in one of the out buildings. Sure enough, there was enough for a lasso. With a bit of chasing I soon had the cow bellowing and following me to camp. There must not be dangerous animals around here for this cow to have survived. On the way back to camp, I spotted a grove of banana trees. What a lucky day! I picked some of the ripest ones and carried them to camp.

I tied the cow to a tree and just sat and looked at it while trying to figure out the best way to use the barley. What I really wanted was bread. For that, I'd need to find eggs and maybe honey. With all the fruit on the island, there are probably plenty of beehives in the forest. I wondered if that farmer had chickens.

Back to the farm I went and searched for anything that looked like a hen house. I didn't find a hen house or any chickens, but I did find two brown eggs under a bush. I quickly snatched these up and harvested as much barley as I could carry. Then I ventured into the forest with a smoking torch to find a hollow tree. Before long I found what I was looking for. I had learned from my grandpa that if you "smoke" a beehive, the bees will think the hive is on fire and will all start to eat the honey, rather than defend it, so they could survive the journey to a new home. I put my smoking torch at the bottom of the hollow tree and then reached up and cut away a good sized chunk of the honeycomb. I only got 3-4 stings. Well worth it for this delicacy.

Back at camp, I took a few well-shaped stones and began pounding the barley into flour, separating the inedible parts from the good stuff. After a bit of work I had about 3 cups of barley flour. I mixed this with some milk from the cow, the eggs, some of the honey and sea salt and made a messy ball of dough. This ball of dough soon became a loaf of barley bread in my clamshell oven. I then enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of hot barley bread with banana. Barley bread tastes like a brand muffin with a "meaty" flavor to it. There is enough barley bread in this loaf to last me several days I think.

I spent the rest of the day working on a fence, water and feeding trough for the milk cow. For lunch I stewed some more squash and ate that with half an avocado and a thin slice of barley bread. For dinner, mango juice, an avocado and barley bread sandwich (mashed avocado spread between two 2x3 inch thin slices of barley bread), and a banana.

For some reason I've been feeling very weak for the past two days. Maybe something important is missing from my diet. With the luck I'm having lately, I can only hope I'll find and fill that missing piece soon.

1 comment:

peggy at the lake said...

Hey---finding the old farm is a huge stroke of luck, & more food too!!
You are so lucky--right, and finding the
Cow to boot---Heaven is certainly
smiling down on you!! Love your
neat & interesting blog!!!