Build a Grist Mill
I was reading an article the other day about Artisanal Wheat becoming more popular and it got me to thinking. We have talked about the loss of knowledge and we could be in real trouble. I love bread and can not imagine a day when the staff of life will not be available if needed.
The growth in the local food market ensures that grain will be grown in places it was long ago abandoned. What infrastructure is in place to handle the grain? Once upon a time in rural areas a Grist Mill was ubiquitous as McDonalds. In the 1840 census there were over 65,000 water powered mills in the Eastern United States.
The mills in the old days enabled local people to get there wheat ground into flour. This would have also been the place to get your corn meal. There are still some remaining mills that do it the same way today. If wheat is going to be grown in any quantities in old locations the processing needs to be considered.
The actual harvesting of grain on a smaller scale usually depends on cutting the stalks with something like a scythe. The grain is then tied up in what is referred to as a rick to dry. Once they have dried sufficiently it is then threshed and now it is ready to grind.
The huge potential to wheat is that it can be stored for thousands of years. Once it is ground up then it begins to deteriorate. If you are looking for a business to set up if the trucks stop running then a grist mill may be the way to go. The small home grain mills will be favored by those that have access to them, but large scale grinding will be done at a grist mill just like it was in the past.
In the old days when they build a grist mill they would have a small channel of water that turns a wheel. That wheel would be connected via a band or chain and that would turn a stone wheel that grinds the wheat against another stone and the flour comes out.
I imagine that to build a grist mill in today’s time is not going to be much different. Utilizing Occam’s Razor we should choose a water based mechanism to turn the wheels. We know that as long as we divert the water and have it go downhill we will turn the wheels. There needs to be some forethought to how much to divert, but it is hard to mess up the power of water.
If something happens in this world and the trucks stop running we will already be in a state of shock. The unrest will be troubling and it will be important to maintain some form of commerce.
I hope this process will cause you to evaluate where and how to build a grist mill. Sometimes the mental exercise can give you peace.