Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Ogg Farm and Old Nell, plow horse extraordinaire!

The Ogg Farm……
I was going through some family photos the other day and saw some 50 plus year old pictures taken at the farm….there were my aunts and uncles standing outside the side door of the farm house. It was probably on a Sunday afternoon after consuming a huge lunch….everyone looks a little out of it! Anyway, among the photos were pictures of my 2 uncles, Clarence and Russell Ogg.
Uncle Clarence was accepted and enrolled at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, but at the last minute decided he didn’t need to go, he just wanted to be a farmer! He figured he didn’t need that degree to be a farmer, A farmer he became, complete with farmer’s tan.
Uncle Russell, on the other hand, became a nationally known photographer who lived in BelAir and Palm Springs, California after leaving the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri.
The sons of Clyde and Florence Ogg were as different as night and day!
When they were just young boys, my Granddad, William Clyde Ogg, informed them one morning that the three of them were going to replace the fence that surrounded the entire farm. They started by scouring the woods on the farm for appropriate fence post material. They finally had enough cut to start the actual re-fencing, which ended up taking every Saturday for many months. I understand Russell, who loved to read, stuffed his bib overalls full of books, just in case he got a break!
Now, come back to the early 1990s. After my Aunt Zelma died, I would drive to Richmond, Missouri to visit Uncle Clarence. He would put me in his car and we would drive by the long section of fence along the embankment above the gravel road. It wasn’t until I was a 50 year old woman that my uncle told me about the “fence story”. I discovered the fence I had seen for many years was the same one Grandad, Clarence and Russell spent the summer building. Those posts, which always seemed so flimsy to me, had three rows of barbed wire strung between them and the overall impression I had was a small calf or a 25 mile an hour wind could have taken the entire fence down. I suppose that idea was one of a city girl! The fence had remained just the same, same posts, same wire for over 70 years! I would imagine if I drove down there today, it would still be wrapped around the “old Ogg homestead”. I have a photograph taken in the 50s that shows part of the fence surrounding the horse pasture, and there stands old Nell in her retirement. She had pulled a plow and my Granddad around the farm for years.
My Uncle Russell was the 4th of the Ogg siblings, my Mom being the 5th. She and Russell were a handful, I’m thinking. I’ve heard her tell the story of the two of them making doughnuts. They covered the entire farmhouse with a heavy dusting of flour by the time they had a plateful of rock hard doughnuts!
When my Grandmother made them, they were heavenly, as was everything she made. Her homemade noodles that she fixed with chicken were amazing. The slick texture, or I suppose the “no texture”, on today’s packaged noodles is so
disgusting! They are maybe 1/3rd the thickness of homemade and have a pale, sickly color to them….now Minnie Florence’s noodles were an experience to remember!
To make the best homemade noodles, go find yourself a country stand where they are selling fresh farm eggs. They will be the most glorious colors from blue to brown, with an occasional ivory colored one mixed in. The exciting thing about farm eggs is the yolk…like looking at a beautifully polished orb of gold. If you crack open a farm egg on to a flat surface, then crack a store egg next to it, you can immediately tell the difference. The yolk on the store egg is flat and pale yellow in color. Now, get down eye level with the eggs and you can see the farm yolk standing up tall and mighty, while next to it lies the poor, pathetic, wimpy store yolk.
So, you ask, what is the difference when you use them in pasta dough? Just try to picture chicken and noodles made with each….pale white chicken meat, pale white noodles made with wimpy pale eggs, or, glorious golden noodles wrapping themselves delicately about the perfectly cooked, succulent chicken, all snuggled in a rich, naturally thickened gravy. See what I mean? Food you can get excited about! I know you are going to make homemade noodles soon!

Minnie Florence Ogg’s Homemade Egg Noodles
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 egg yolks

1. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add egg yolks and mix until dry ingredients are moistened.

2. Press into a ball and cut in quarters. Roll out on floured surface 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick; cut to desired width and length. Lay on linen dish towel or wooden dowel to dry.
Add to broth such as chicken or turkey and cook until done.

So, are you wondering what ever happened to Uncle Russell? As I said he graduated from MU, married a girl from Trenton, Missouri who he met in the Journalism school. Her name was Norma Lee Browning. You can Google both names and up will pop some pretty impressive information on them.
They traveled the world, she wrote about it, he photographed it.
After many years of being diabetic, Russell finally lost his eyesight. That is a terrible thing to happen to anyone, but when you are a photographer….
There is a book written about his experience as he lost his vision, written by my Aunt Norma. The title is “He Saw a Hummingbird”. It is an amazing and inspirational story.
Of course, I think the Ogg Farm Fence story is pretty amazing!

Things are looking bad….the sales are up on Ramen Noodles by 12 to 15%. A cup of Ramen Noodles will cost you about 50 cents.
That’s pretty cheap eating…..and what college student, past and present, doesn’t know about Ramen! I bet they aren’t as good as my Grandmother’s!

It has been 2 days since Pig 101….buying pork tomorrow!

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