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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. The Flour Mill at Blue Rapids, Kansas

The Flour Mill at Blue Rapids, Kansas. Chuck's father saved some of the wheat they grew and took it to the mill to become Hinman flour.
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - First Impressions

By Chuck Hinman

The Flour Mill at Blue Rapids, Kansas

I have written many stories of my childhood. But one that frequently comes to mind when I am brainstorming for something to write is this one. It happened so long ago that some of the interesting detail may be missing. But if this story is anything like my others, I can count on a few of my faithful readers to fill in what I left out.

In the harsh economic times when I was growing up on a farm near Wymore, Nebraska, my parents, Arley and Merle (Mouser) Hinman, became very skilled in 'making do' with what they had. I have written many of my 200 some stories about those times.

Hinmans always had food but wheat had to be milled

Farm families such as the Hinmans were fortunate in many ways. We didn't have much money and many years, not much more than the interest was paid on the loan on our farm. We always had food, most of which we raised.

One thing we did not have was flour. And of course that is a staple in any household.

Own wheat taken to be ground into flour

This story is how Dad and Mom took care of that need. In some of the worst years we always managed to harvest some wheat. Most of the wheat was sold to the elevator company in Liberty, Nebraska. But Dad saved some of the wheat in the granary to be ground into flour for our table use. Once a year and quite a while after the harvest, Dad loaded a farm trailer with our own wheat and hauled it to Blue Rapids, Kansas, where there was a flour mill. As a youngster I remember riding with my brother Bob in the trailer escorted by our dog. He barked at everything and wet on every other fence post both coming and going. Surely he was dehydrated.

I don't remember the tractor but I suspect it was a Fordson. I would believe that we went in a horse drawn wagon except for the distance. I doubt if we could have made the 80 plus miles round trip with horse-drawn equipment.

Storing the flour in the closet off the bedroom

I remember the building where they ground our wheat into Hinman flour and then when we got home storing the bags of flour in the closet off Dad and Mom's bedroom. It took both Bob and me to carry one bag. Did they weigh 48 lbs? Mom kept a large container of flour for her daily use in the pantry.

And of course I could write stories of the many uses of the empty flour sacks, most of which were bleached and became gleaming white dish towels in Mom's kitchen. I would give anything to know what happened to the Blue Rapids, Kansas flour mill.

It was part of my happy life growing up on a Nebraska farm.

Written by Chuck Hinman, 5 November 2007.

This story was posted on 2014-10-12 05:26:56
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