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Thread: Andersonville prison camp

  1. #46
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    Default Re: Andersonville prison camp

    I raised Rabbits for about 8 yrs, started as something "fun" for the kids, and went to 24 of the cute little beasties, we raised the fancy sort for show, or pets, the kids would never eat rabbit, even from an outside source. It is a great food, especially suited to those with digestive troubles, or lack a gall bladder as Rabbit has almost no fat. The high nutrient density makes what little meat is on one go a long way, (this is due to the manner in which they eat, they eat their food twice, running it through once, then again to finish stripping everything out of it. ) A commercial Rabbit is best at about 4 lbs, and yields a little over 2 lbs dressed. which is probably why they were sold in braces, to fill out the stew pot or a decent File' Gumbo. Rabbits are also relatively inexpensive to raise, at the time it cost about $2.50 to raise one to 10 weeks of age, and brought $12.50 from the pet shop.
    I'm thinking that for the purposes of providing food for the troops in the field that the rural, and back woods boys probably had the edge over the city boys as they would already be well used to gathering plants, herbs, and knowing how to locate, and take game animals , and how to butcher, and either cook, or preserve them. Such skills at woodcraft might be found more in those from the south than the north, (though this is just a guess really.) Personally, I'm lucky to have a successful expedition to the grocery store...

  2. #47
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    Default Re: Andersonville prison camp

    Quote Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
    I'm thinking that for the purposes of providing food for the troops in the field that the rural, and back woods boys probably had the edge over the city boys as they would already be well used to gathering plants, herbs, and knowing how to locate, and take game animals , and how to butcher, and either cook, or preserve them.
    Had the edge?

    The rural boys would have been streets ahead.

    My background was primarily city, but we had a 320 acre serious working (mostly sheep but a bit of beef) but still hobby farm for about half of my life until I was about 14.

    My city bred father couldn't see a rabbit unless it was in plain sight, nor could I, but our neighbour who was about my father's age tried to teach me to see the rabbits he could see sitting under bracken and various other bits of cover when I couldn't see anything. At best I achieved about 5% of his ability to see rabbits all around me. What worried me was that my ability to see snakes he could see was well below my 5% success rate with rabbits.

    Oddly enough, our neighbour's sons who were about two and six years older than me weren't all that much better than me at seeing rabbits, snakes etc. (The oldest one certainly wasn't, as he stood on a snake which wrapped itself around his leg and on another occasion refused to get out of a truck - which I'd already left - for fear a snake we'd run over had wrapped itself around the tailshaft - yeah, right! - or was otherwise lurking in the bodywork waiting to bite him.) I think this might have been due to their father being among the last generation which was really attuned to the land which had learned to work the land from their fathers with their hands, horses, axes etc during the Depression and WWII before mechanisation took over.

    In the Civil War I'd guess that these skills and being attuned to the land and living off it were even more highly developed among rural soldiers on both sides.

    I'd also guess that the country boys and urban tradesmen adapted better to being in mud up to their arses and eating slop in the Civil and every other war than urban boys who were clerks and the like before joining up.

    I'd also guess that after a while those who survived were all of about equal ability to cope with lousy food and living conditions, as they learned to adapt if they wanted to survive.

    Quote Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
    Such skills at woodcraft might be found more in those from the south than the north, (though this is just a guess really.)
    I'd take a guess that a higher proportion of city boys were in the Union than Confederate forces, just on the basis of the relative urbanisation and industrialisation of each side.


    Quote Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
    Personally, I'm lucky to have a successful expedition to the grocery store...
    Yeah, my idea of perfect fishing is going out on my boat and hauling up filleted fish on those nice little plastic trays they have in supermarkets.

    Beats me how the supermarkets can catch them like that but my fish come up all wriggly and bitey and slimy, without any plastic tray, and I have to get their guts and blood all over the place trying to make them look like their brethren on the plastic trays.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  3. #48
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    Default Re: Andersonville prison camp

    Plastic tray fish are my favorite.. but here you need a special license to go after those wiley critters. Catfish are the favorite hereabouts, people fish for them all the time. I see boats, out in the many finger lakes formed by the Tennessee Valley Authority hydro-electric dams. They sell fishing licenses by the day, or the year, and once you hit 65, its a one time fee of $11.00 to cover the rest of your days. Even the Walmart sells them. I was talking to the walmart guys who run the sporting goods section, and I mentioned this thread, and they all knew about Poke Salad, and had at one time or other eaten it when times were harder. (The telling sounds much better in the local accent) they also mentioned the use of Cattails as food and that most of the plant was useable for some type dish, even the pollen which was good as a type of flour. the flossy parts were good for making textiles from, and the reedy stalk was good part for eating, and part for making rush candles. Soaking the dry, fibery stalk in fat, which would be useful as a sort of candle. The center part of the stalk was useful as a crunchy sort of snack. Though I don't know if any cooking was needed for that.
    I agree that the Rural, and backwoods folks were way ahead of the city slickers in providing for themselves with food, and medicinal herbs for supplements to food, and for remedies like poultices, and teas. It was their everyday activity.
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    Last edited by tankgeezer; 06-16-2013 at 07:07 PM.

  4. #49
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    Default Re: Andersonville prison camp

    Quote Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
    I agree that the Rural, and backwoods folks were way ahead of the city slickers in providing for themselves with food, and medicinal herbs for supplements to food, and for remedies like poultices, and teas. It was their everyday activity.
    Like Granny's poultice in the greatest film ever made, whch brings us back to the Civil War, or its immediate aftermath. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkfgOHmNZss
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  5. #50
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    Default Re: Andersonville prison camp

    My favoritest Clint Eastwood movie. There was always a Granny, or Mother somebody who knew Herblore, and made medicines. when I was a young boy, I had the memorable experience of a mustard plaster. It smelled as bad as it felt, but it did clear ones airways pretty well. Chickweed was always good if the mosquitoes got to you, took the itch away almost immediately. Then there was the aforementioned Cod liver, and Castor oil, which even after so many years gets me to cringe a bit. Tea made with Cherries is really good for Arthritis pain, with Catnip, good for mellowing after a tough day . (but a good Whisky can also do most of those things.)

  6. #51
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    Default Re: Andersonville prison camp

    A lot of farmers, from ancient Egypt on, might argue with any suggestion that locusts were, in any way, a desirable species to have around. As for undesirable species, I suppose it would be nice if we could find a way to persuade people to eat things like hobo spiders. Wouldn't care to try to farm the things, though - nasty.

    They say that many kids in the West do not connect farm animals with food, and think that the ultimate source of chicken is the supermarket. In my day, the little chisslers had no option about making such a connection. Most of the butchers ran their own slaughterhouses, often on the same premises as their retail business. Blood flowed under gates, and trucks loaded with reeking sheep skins were a common sight on Dublin's streets. Of course, the pesky European Union did away with all that long ago. I suppose it is an improvement but, sometimes, I think that our lives have become a bit too sanitised, at the expense of our connection with common reality. Best regards, JR.

  7. #52
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    Default Re: Andersonville prison camp

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    They say that many kids in the West do not connect farm animals with food, and think that the ultimate source of chicken is the supermarket. In my day, the little chisslers had no option about making such a connection. Most of the butchers ran their own slaughterhouses, often on the same premises as their retail business. Blood flowed under gates, and trucks loaded with reeking sheep skins were a common sight on Dublin's streets. Of course, the pesky European Union did away with all that long ago. I suppose it is an improvement but, sometimes, I think that our lives have become a bit too sanitised, at the expense of our connection with common reality. Best regards, JR.
    In the 1950s and early 1960s I grew up about a quarter of a mile from a suburban smallgoods factory that killed its own animals, mostly cattle, with bolt guns and then converted them into smallgoods (sausages etc). The workers, often a typical Aussie bloke of the period with a *** [edit: I love American prudery - the concealed word is gaf spelt backwards which is long standing Australian slang for a cigarette - does anyone seriously think that even the most brutalised abattoir worker would have a poofter hanging out of his mouth?) hanging out of his mouth, had no objection to us kids watching the animals being killed, which we thought was pretty interesting. It was also common for people to have a few chooks out the back in our suburb and to chop their heads off and pluck them, sometimes in semi-public sight. A lot of blokes of my age still remember the frantic chase to catch a chook so we could offer it up to the chopping block. It was part of life. Nowadays, most parents would probably go ballistic if their little darlings were confronted with such terrible sights.

    Much the same as we've been removed from the death of people. In the same era I could see animals killed in the smallgoods factory, it wasn't uncommon for people to die at home instead of in hospital and for the priest to come to give extreme unction shortly before death and for the body to remain for a while while the priest came again and prayers were said, as happened with my grandmother, and even for people to come to pay their respects, and sometimes for the body to be viewed in the coffin at home rather than in the funeral director's premises.

    Another aspect of modern sanitising is the obsession with germicidal kitchen wipes and the like, which don't rid us of much that really matters but ensure that resistance is not acquired to common bugs.

    Meanwhile, personal and public behaviour which would have been universally condemned or not publicly discussed in that era is now condoned or even encouraged, often to no good purpose that I can see. The topics covered and the conduct condoned as usual in prime time popular television shows watched by the children of parents who'd go ballistic if their kids saw an animal killed worry me more than a kid seeing an animal killed. At least there is a point to killing an animal for food. I have yet to work out any point to idiotic shows such as Two and Half Men, although I'm not well qualified to comment on it as I only chance on very brief periods of it while channel hopping or waiting for another show to come on.

    It seems to me that as a Western culture we've been very successful in protecting our children from the realities which are the necessary basis of life while exposing them to unrealities which are the unnecessary basis of expressing contempt for and violence towards people.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 06-17-2013 at 10:26 AM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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