Sunday, 9 November 2014

Back to normal and FOOD!

Our darling grandson, Owen is doing incredibly well!  He had a fabulous check up with the Cardiologist on Friday and we are thrilled to report that he's not due back for 3 whole months.  After 6 months of frequent appointments (and tests) plus a 3 week hospital stay for his open heart surgery, this is VERY good news for our family :)    We are SO relieved that he is doing well and is thriving!

Now that the crisis is over, it's time to get back to normal life.   One never realizes the comfort of the familiar routine until it is gone...  For weeks we were in survival mode, just trying to get through the day with bare essentials done.   The full effect of my attention being elsewhere is evident in my home.   Every room is dirty and unorganized and I'm behind on a LOT of maintenance and food preparation tasks.  It's time to get organized and claim my home!

First order of business was to replace the fridge.  Our old fridge died and was falling apart (the motor literally burned out and many interior components had broken) so the search began to replace her.  In the end, we were able to make some inexpensive modifications to accommodate a larger fridge and I'm so GLAD we were able to do that.  I can't TELL you how much more functional it is to have more space!  When you cook from scratch and garden for food, the inside of your fridge looks very different.  There are many bottles, jars and containers of starters, stock and broth, homemade soup and all kinds of home grown goodness (which all need cold storage).   The freezer in my new fridge is much better organized with several drawer type shelves for various foods instead of a large "pit" like cavity.  

Living without a fridge in the kitchen for 10 days was interesting, but it's certainly a first world problem.  Let's just say that I was acutely aware of how we took refrigeration for granted!  We put 4 coolers outside the back door which served us well in the meantime (and that's much, much more than over half the population of the planet has).   To have a fridge full of healthy food (in my kitchen) is a luxury that I do not take for granted....

The next order of business was to refine my bread recipe to work with the is new batch of Park Wheat from John and Cindy Schneider at Gold Forest Grains.     Since every crop of wheat is a little different given different growing conditions from year to year (weather, precipitation, etc), I needed to "tweak" my bread recipe to suit the wheat.   I was getting the result below with my recipe from last year, but clearly that wasn't working...

After a little tweaking, success! Yesterday, I made 12 loaves for the freezer which made our home smell SO GOOD.   It's so handy to have fresh bread available at a moment's notice (a freezer to put it in is the ultimate in luxury).  The hot oven provided some additional heat for the house which was needed (thanks to a chilly day complete with snow).

On to the produce...   It was time to pick up our bulk storage vegetable order from our favourite organic vegetable grower, Graham Sparrow of Sparrow's Nest Organics.    This is only half of our order ~ the other half is being stored at the farm in commercial coolers until we've eaten through this first half.  Potatoes, onions, carrots, leeks, parsnips, beets, sweet meat pumpkins... all of it fragrant and delicious!

To round out the stockpile, we took delivery of a large order of meat (pastured chickens, turkeys and pork) from Jared and Julia of Serben Free Range.  Our freezers are now full of gorgeous and delicious meat to see us through the winter. 

We are tremendously grateful to all three farms (and the farmers) for providing our family with healthy, local food.  While we endeavour to grow much of our own produce, we also feel that it's VITAL to support local producers.  Each of these three farms is located within one hour from our home - you can't get any better!  Fresh, local, nutrient dense food, grown by farmers we KNOW and can shake hands with (and hug).  


  1. Glad the little one is doing okay. There's nothing more precious in life is there?
    And what a great way to buy all your food! So much better knowing where it all comes from. I need to start making some proper bread with the girls. Ideally I'd like to mill my fathers wheat but I worry people will think I was an extreme prepper and weirdo (or more of one than I already am)

    1. Kev, I mill the wheat that we buy from Gold Forest Grains and I'm not a "prepper" (in the radical sense). I may be weird to some, but I don't much care :) I just like to keep a well stocked pantry and I like to buy in bulk because it saves me a lot of time (and money in some cases). Milling the wheat right before you bake means optimal nutrition in your bread! Wheat keeps indefinitely but freshly milled flour does have a shelf life. It goes rancid because all the oils are left in when you mill entire grain flour.

      If you have a source of wheat I say go for it!

    2. I can have as much wheat as I want as dad crops hundreds of tons of it. What mill do you use? Electric or hand powered?

    3. I have a Nutrimill. It's electric. It would take donkey's ages to hand mill enough flour for our daily usage as I use about 18 cups of flour for 4 loaves. I'd like to have a hand crank for extended power outages, but for now, I think I'll just pre-grind a bunch of flour and freeze it.

  2. You are such an inspiration. I'm so happy to hear things are returning to normal - I know exactly what you mean about survival mode, and it is like a huge exhale when that period has passed. Wishing all the best for your family and sweet little Owen. They are so fortunate to have you there for them.

  3. Does all that fresh produce store well? I guess it's our Aussie climate, but if I were to buy like that it wouldn't last a week. Do you have a cellar? Or is there another way of storing it? Glad to hear your grandson is doing well, what a stressful time. And those loaves of bread look fantastic, I can smell them from here LOL!

    1. Hi Cheryl! Our garage is cold from now until Spring. We have a heater in there (just to keep it from freezing) as hubby works in the garage a lot plus we keep our car and tractor in there. Because it's just above freezing, we can keep potatoes and onions quite successfully for months. As long as they are on the concrete floor under the shelves in the darkest, coldest corner of the garage, they seem to last until about March/April.

      The carrots, parsnips and beets are stored in the basement fridge. As long as we keep the vented bags closed (not leaving the top opening gaping), they last for many months this way.

      Once we eat through this lot, then we'll head back to the farm and pick up the second half of the order (which is in large size commercial cooler).

  4. Thanks, Jaime XOXO Hope you and your little ones are well. I see that you planted garlic! I never get it together to do that before the snow falls *sigh*

  5. Wow - all that bread at once! impressive. You can see it has great structure too from the close-up pics.