CROTON AND GLUTEN
by: Eddie Trapp
If we ever had a better crop of croton weeds I don’t remember it. These troublesome plants are also known as goat weeds, dove weeds, and skunk weeds. Their seeds are a favorite of doves and quail. After a little research I found that the oil from the pungent leaves is very powerful laxative, with one drop being equal to an ounce of castor oil. Ten drops is enough to kill a dog. If the plants were tastier to cattle many would probably die from poisoning. The leaves contain a milky juice that can cause skin irritation and even blisters. There are also cases of people being poisoned by eating honey produced by croton nectar. Anyone that ever shredded croton probably remembers the strong smell they produce. These greenish gray plants grow from one to four feet tall depending on the weather and soil. The earlier the shredding the better, otherwise you are just scattering the mature seeds. Early shredding though may allow time for the weeds to grow again before fall.
Seems like every few months we are warned about something new in food. Now the hot topic is gluten. Many packages, and even restaurant menus, declare “gluten free.” How have we managed to live so long without worrying about trans-fat, gluten, and the like? I guess we could just make up a word and print on packages that is was, for example, “sambience” free and sales would skyrocket. This reminds me of an old story about two lemonade stands on the same block. Advertising and competition between the two kids became as heated as an Obama – Romney debate. Finally one of the lemonade stand owners put up a sign, “My lemonade has no dead cats in it.” Sales vastly improved.
Gluten comes from the same Latin word that “glue” comes from. It is a protein in wheat, rye, and barley that gives elasticity to dough, causing it to rise and giving it a chewy texture. Apparently the big deal is that between .5% and 1% of the people in the U.S. are subject to Celiac disease, caused by an allergy to gluten. This protein is also found in ketchup, ice cream, beer, and soy sauce. Extra refining of gluten containing dough results in more chewy products like pizza dough and bagels. Less refining produces softer texture such in pastry dough. Hard wheat bread is high in gluten. Does anyone in your neighborhood have Celiac disease?
Remember the saying, “With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good?” That’s the way it was with the name, “Solly Hemus.” Solly was a beloved, hardnosed major league baseball player from 1949 to 1959 with the Cardinals and Phillies. He was known for getting up in the face of opposing players and umpires. Solly played mostly shortstop and was a favorite with many fans. Back then, baseball cards were a big item. They were sold in a small package, usually with a flat piece of bubble gum. No way to know which player’s card was inside. The baseball card companies used Solly’s fame as a marketing tool. Instead of quickly adding one of his cards as his fame increased, they held off a few months while fans bought and bought the cards trying to find one of Solly’s. People just knew they had to get lucky sooner or later but didn’t realize they were being tricked. The cards did eventually come, to fans’ delight. Solly retired to the oil business in Houston.
Cooper Lake provided good fishing again a few days ago. Shad were caught in the Doctors Creek boat ramp cove and I motored southwest, clearing Pelican Point and moving on west. When the lake is three or four feet low you can see a small island about a quarter mile out from where the trees start near Terrapin Point. Not far from the old Liberty Grove Road. I anchored down a hundred yards west of the island and over the next two hours caught fourteen catfish, twelve blues and two channels. Weighed up to eight pounds. Several quarts of fillets. Nice and fresh for supper.
As predicted last week the purple “shell” of the bustin’ heart plant did open and expose bright orange seeds inside. This purple and orange combination is very unusual in nature and very striking. A few years ago we traveled along the ten or twelve mile garage sale in the Birthright community and saw some of the bustin’ hearts in a yard. The lady who lived there gave us a few of the young plants and now some are doing well in our yard south of Charleston.
A man went to shower and his wife hollered, asking if he found the shampoo. He said he found it but wasn’t sure what to do. He had already wet his hair and it said on the bottle “For dry hair.”
A group of women had a “white elephant” party. That’s where you bring something you can’t use but it is too good to throw away. There were nineteen women and eleven of them brought their husbands.
An accountant was having trouble sleeping and the doctor asked him if he had tried counting sheep. He said he had and made a mistake. Spent the next six hours trying to find it.