Monday, November 15, 2010

Last Monday in Idaho (for awhile)

Are Mondays better in other parts of the world?  We shall soon find out as next Monday will be in Arizona.
At least this Monday isn't going to be as frenzied as it could have been.  Luckily for us, we get an extra day to prep for the trip.  The storm tomorrow did us a favor.  We realized yesterday there's no way we could get it all wrapped up by Monday evening.  Funny how things work out like that.

We don't have much to write about this morning.  I mean we've already written way too much about leaves and packing and so forth.  How low can we go, anyway?

So, this morning we're going to write about two totally unrelated things--deer-car collisions and mesquite beans.

Some of our readers know we have a pronounced paranoid attitude about the mere possibility of hitting a deer.  We often won't even travel during what's we call "Deer Prime Time."  However, it's always on our minds when we travel south to Arizona.  Why's that?  Well, the stretch between Panguitch to Page is infested with deer and we generally show up right on cue just before Deer Prime Time.  Did you know there REALLY IS Deer Prime Time?  Yep, it's between 6-9 pm.

Through the magic of Twitter this morning, we discovered a mother lode of deer collision facts and statistics courtesy of State Farm Insurance.  Here are a few memorable factoids:

1) There were 2.3 MILLION deer-car collisions in just a 2-year period between 7/1/08 and 6/30/10!

2) About 200 people die each year in a deer-car collision.

3) The average damage cost of a deer-car collision is over $3,000.

4) The last three months of the year are the worst time for deer-car collisions, especially between 6-9 pm.

Now do you know why we are raving paranoids about this possibility?

Click here for the article--it's really worth reading if you drive during Deer Prime Time.

Our next topic is about mesquite milling.  This morning The Goatherder knocked our virtual socks off when he sent a link to photos of mesquite milling taking place right smack dab in Cornville's Windmill Park along Oak Creek.  He didn't know about it and, obviously, neither did we.  The newspaper printed gobs of photos of the event and it was clearly well attended.  Click here to see the pictures.

Well, naturally, that really perked up my curiosity so I spend quite a bit of time roaming around reading about mesquite milling.  Mesquites are technically a tree but they are basically a giant woody weed.  The only way you can kill them is with a backhoe and sometimes that doesn't even work.  Mesquites know more about desert survival skills that any other living organism.  And when conditions are right (or ripe, as the case may be) mesquites produce truly prolific quantities of beans.  Some years their bean production defies the imagination.  If mesquites could figure out how to take over the world, I am sure they wouldn't hesitate to do so.  Mesquites have always been one giant pantry for desert dwelling Native Americans and Mexicans. 

As chance would have it, the sustainable foods movement has rekindled human interest in mesquite beans as food by bringing a mesquite milling operation out to where the beans are.  The machine shown in the photos is operated by Prescott College.  They've had this unit for a couple of years.  You can get the entire low down on how this unit operates by clicking here for a similar operation in Southern Arizona.  From what we can tell, Prescott College got their machine from these people.

When I moved from Indiana to Tucson in 1979, one of the very first things I did was attend a "Native Foods" workshop by the now-famous Carolyn Niethammer.  We baked mesquite bread that day.  It was wonderful.
If memory serves me right, The Goatherder once brought back mesquite flour from Sonora, Mexico, and we even toyed with the idea of marketing it in Arizona.  It's really incredible that Prescott College is helping revive culinary interest in the mesquite bean.  Even though we bear many real physical scars from battling our Arizona mesquites, we love those trees dearly.  It's great to see them once again getting a modicum of respect!

1 comment:

The Goatherder said...

We were way ahead of the curve on the mesquite flour deal. I'd first heard about it from my friend Carlos Nagel, and his group Pronatura. That's where we got the flour we ordered and experimented with. It was crazy expensive then. Now you can buy it fairly easily, but since we know we've got a hammer mill available, the goats are gonna have to share next year.