Tag Archives: farm

Making Lefse

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For those of you who do not know what Lefse (lef-suh) is, let me educate you…it’s basically a Norwegian tortilla, but that’s really blasphemy.  I’m not Norwegian by blood, but by love, so when I visit my family in Wisconsin, I get the full-on Norwegian heritage experience.  I love that about my life.

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There are several variations of a Lefse recipe.  Me:  What’s in this?  Just potatoes and flour?  The women:  Yes.  Later…

One of the women:  I like the Lefse made with cream.  Me:  It has cream?  Along with potato and flour?  Them:  Yes.    Still later…

One of the women:  It tastes better when we make it with butter, too.  Me:  Butter?  And cream, potatoes, and flour?  Them:  Yes.  And then I found out…all of the recipes consist of potato (real mashed, powdered, or flakes), flour, a shortening of some sort (lard, butter, Crisco-type), a liquid (cream, milk, or water), and salt.  A smidge of sugar is optional.  I guess I just needed to read a recipe.

The potatoes are made the day before.   They sit in the refrigerator to cool for at least 24 hours.  The dough is mixed by hand, adding flour to make it the correct consistency, and it is rolled really, really, really thinly on a round cloth, covered Bethany board.  A special thinly-ridged rolling pin is used, and that is covered with a sock thingie.  Then long flat sticks, sometimes decorated on one end, are used to lift the circle of Lefse, which is brought to the hot, Heritage Griddle, carefully laid across, and then cooked until it bubbles on one side, is flipped, and cooked briefly on the other.  The flat is lifted off with the Lefse turner, and laid on a cloth.  Many circles of Lefse are piled up, and later, when properly cooled, the Lefse are folded in fourths, and packed in baggies.

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Lefse is a tradition.  Like Krumkake, around here, Lefse is a taste of the past.  People eat it with butter and sugar, or jam, or just plain.  Saturday, I went to the church with my sister to make Lefse.  There were eight of us…one mixer, four rollers, and three turners.  I, as a rookie, was assigned to be a turner

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People will come to special church sales just to buy the Lefse.  And women in churches all over the northern midwest are gathering to make the Lefse to sell.  Some have a personal business, selling Lefse for at least $4-$6 a folded over piece.  It is a big money-maker for the churches, and a bargain for the buyers who get a baggie of 9 pieces for $15.  All aspects of the experience are bonding events for the Lefse-making women and the Lefse-buying folks.

America is a melting pot.  We are people from all the lands on earth.  We embrace our past, share our traditions, and look to a better future for all our humans.  It’s a better world with Lefse making women, or any other food-making tradition that’s practiced.  My take-away lesson?  It’s all about teamwork.  If only we could have an overflow of this practice in the real life world-at-large.

 

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On Weeding…

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Call me crazy, but I like to weed.  On my own terms, but still…

A fine crop of weeds had grown up thanks to a fair amount of rain while I was in Wisconsin.  So the other evening, I pulled my camp stool out from under the house, and I got my weed digging tool, and I started in on the weeds that I had actually mowed earlier in the day.  They were thriving between the flagstones of my front path.

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Okay, so perfect weeding conditions:  clear and sunny, a nice breeze, temps hovering mid-seventies, ground nice and soaked, but not muddy.  I had nearly all of those requirements met, and I got going.

Weeding is a mindless task.  It is quiet, except for the sounds of Mother Nature, and maybe a car or two passing by.  It is a job that demonstrates clearly the worker’s  accomplishment. 

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It is an accomplishment that lasts, unlike dusting or making a meal.  The dust reappears almost within minutes.   The meal that took an hour or more to make is gone in twenty minutes, with a pile of dishes, pots and pans, and utensils left to be dealt with.  Weeding lasts, well, at least a week.

I like to think when I weed.  I think of all kinds of things…what materials to use with my tutoring kid, what my folks at the farm might be doing at that moment, upcoming visits from friends, what to wear tomorrow, what to eat for supper.

I weeded my front flagstone path.  I had most of my perfect conditions.  I could see clear results.  Call me crazy, but I like to weed.

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(The green that remains is actually sedum, which I WANT to grow between the flags.)

Good morning, Farm…

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My folks and some siblings live in a square mile of each other right in the midst of southern Wisconsin farm country.  It is beautiful here, and each time I visit, I feel like I have come home.  It hasn’t always been my “home,” but like all homes, it is the people, not the place.  So when one of my sisters drives all the way to NC to pick me and my little dog, Hattie, up, and bring us for our yearly visit, I am literally transported.

People ask me, “What do you do in Wisconsin for seven weeks?”  Well, I just live.  And try to make up for lost time.  The time lost was the years of childhood I missed with these people, but that doesn’t matter anymore.  It is the time I was isolated from them by a husband that was jealous of my love for my sisters and brothers here, the fear he had that I would leave him to come live with them, and the idea that they were more than he was.  Mostly he was on to something, but that doesn’t matter anymore, either.  We have now.

This is what we do…roam thrift shops, consignment stores, auctions, and Antique Malls looking for the perfect bargain; go to farmer’s markets; get our toes done; rake hay for the new cows that were not here last year; play flower shop; drink wine; solve the problems of the world; laugh hysterically; eat Dad’s cooking; worship together; weed; plant flowers and vegetables; go to movies; dog train; have Saturday evening get togethers with Margaritas and cheese and crackers; sew some project or several;  squeeze in on a sofa to watch Dancing With and Batchelor-whatever; talk non-stop; organize and reorganize cupboards and closets, and maybe this year a section of an attic;  plant geraniums at the cemetery; go rummaging around a barn;maybe go shooting; and pretty much, laugh a lot.

I am lucky enough to have several homes…the ones with the people I left back in AZ, my tiny house in my darling neighborhood in NC with my family there, and the Farm.  No matter where I am, what I do is just live.  It’s a lot of living.