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).