Old World Oxen camp comes to Pateros School

Cricket soup and mosquito bread

Students whipped cream and churn butter at one of the work tables.

Saul, the smallest of the Sheryl Curtis oxen tipping the scales at nearly 2,770 pounds, stands calmly as sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hixon, and students Elpidio Pamatz and Ishmael Mireles brush his side.

Students prepare apples for drying.

A tasty-looking kettle of cricket soup (those are the critters floating on top) appeared to go unsampled by Pateros students.

Some creative tents were erected from students’ efforts.
“Sometimes the mosquitoes were so thick that they would turn the bread dough black,” said Curtis. “There was nothing that could be done about it.”

PATEROS – Students at Pateros school experienced – and could even taste -  a part of early western history during a day-long visit by Riverside resident Sheryl Curtis and her Old World Oxen Living History Display last Tuesday, Oct. 17.
Curtis, with her two oxen, Saul and Noah, in tow brought her interactive camp to the Pateros football field where alternating classes of students had the opportunity to prepare, mix, cook and sample everything from breakfast eggs over an open campfire to cricket soup.
Surprisingly, an entire pot of cricket soup remained unsampled. Perhaps they did not add enough rice and beans.
Curtis explained that crickets were among the fallback staples the traveling pioneers sometimes used when other food became scarce. Smoked mice and other goodies were used as well. Curtis said old diary accounts wrote of adding the crickets to a soup stock along with rice, beans and whatever else might be at hand to make a meal.
Another cooking adventure that Curtis related on the pioneer trail was preparing bread dough.
“Sometimes the mosquitoes were so thick that they would turn the bread dough black,” said Curtis. “There was nothing that could be done about it.”
Unfortunately, the students were unable to replicate those results. But they did learn how to erect a tent, churn butter, prepare fruit for drying, cook over an open fire, wash camp dishes and get their hands involved in a variety of other activities.
Curtis’s two ton-plus oxen, 2,770-pound Saul and his larger span mate Noah, weighing 2,940 pounds stood calmly as sixth grade students Elpidio Pamatz and Ishmael Mireles brushed their sides. The oxen were a principal source of transport for westward pioneers in the 19th century.
Curtis last set up her camp on the ground at the 70th Okanogan County Fair in September.

User menu

NCW Media Newspapers