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1920 Markovec – The White Mill

17. 12. 2012

Povezava na slovensko verzijo članka.

Beli malen, Markovec

Mrs. Milena Truden continues her story about corn  from about 1950.

In the evening, we stripped the leaves of the corn and the next day, the adults tie them together two or four corncobs and stack them on a wire making a thick plait. These were then hung under the eaves to dry. We didn’t have ‘kozolce’ to hang on the corn, the way farmers had in the village.

Corn Rubbing

The corn was left to dry like that in the air for two months. Well dried, were then removed.  This was one of the jobs children could do. Again, we were called to help my grandmother.

A heap of corn was waiting for us on the kitchen floor. We collected a piece of thick wood in the wood shed and sat next to the pile. First we watched our grandmother how skilfully she removed the kernels. She held two corncobs in her hand and quickly rubbed them together. The kernels just poured down in a sack. Our hands were smaller, and could hardly hold the corncobs and then we had to rub them together. We had a home-made tool for rubbing, which was just a small piece of wood with nails.

We worked into the night and had to persevere until all was done and sacks were full. Those were ready to take to a mill.

To the Mill

Usually it was my aunt’s job to take the corn kernels to the mill. I was always with her. We grow up together. Before that, her brothers or sisters had to do it. There were eight in the family, my mother was the eldest.

We loaded full sacks on a two-wheeler carriage and pulled it or I would push it from behind. Hot and sweaty we arrived to the Markovec mill. We heard the fast running water in the distance and a huge wooden wheel turning and scooping water with little boards attached to the wheel. We entered the mill inquisitively and into white fog. I loved the smell of flour. The white flour dust lingered in the air, making our hair and eye brows white. A miller appeared out of fog, all white and gave us a freight.

“Kaj imate? (What do you have?) he asked.

“Corn “, my ount answered.

“How fine flour do you want?”

My aunt quickly replied, “Za žgance”(for polenta).

“Dobro” (good) he said and grabbed the first bag and swang it on his shoulder.

We went outside to have a better look at the wheel turning in the fast running stream. We were fascinated how the wheel outside was turned the heavy stone one inside? It was turning sideways going round and round on a flat stone, crunching the kernels on the way.

Our corn was done in an hour, now the maize flour. Good for cooking or baking. We had to pay, but had no money.  So the miller took some of our flour back.

We returned home with somewhat lighter carriage.

We know nothing about creation of this photo. It is a modern copy of an older photo. We found it in a heap of photos we had got it from Župnišče (rectory) Stari trg.

Probably we will never know how the original photo looked like and who was the photographer. The original photo  can have more information we guess from technology, apperance and the back side. There is nothing written on the back side of this copy.

Written by: Emilia Truden, Melbourne

Location: Markovec
Photo date: Unknown
Photographer: Unknown
Collection: Župnišče Stari trg
Scanned: 29. 7. 2012
Format: copy of a photo

One Comment leave one →
  1. 17. 12. 2012 10:37

    MIlena, another endearing story from a child’s point of view.

    I giggled about the ‘ghost’ miller coming out of the fog and scaring the kids.

    And how did you eat the polenta ? With milk ? Goulash ?

    Maria (Perth WA)

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