FIRST THINGS


| September 2004



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Jason B. HarmonJason B. Harmon

Believe it or not, I haven't always sat in the editor's desk, pen in hand, frantically scribbling stories about vintage farm equipment. In fact, Keith Kinney's tale on page 46 about restoring a Meadows Mill Co. gristmill brought back sweet memories of my days grinding grain at the old mill.

It's not work that many folks in 21st-century America experience, especially those too young to recall the important role the local gristmill once played in a community.

Yet, I wouldn't trade my days spent at War Eagle Mill in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas for anything.

Working beside my uncle Joe, I learned some of the miller's arcane arts.

For example, I learned how to set the grinding stones to the perfect width so the delicate cornmeal wouldn't burn, nor would it be too coarse for baking good cornbread.

I learned that French-granite grindstones imported in the early 1800s must be 'dressed' (akin to sharpened) so the grain is properly ground as it passes between the stones.