How?

We’ve always prided ourselves as being farmers. People of the land. If we can grow it or kill it, we’ll eat it!

Who knew there was so much to learn about basic food! As with anything important, the more you learn about it, the less you realize you know! The problem with what the knowledge we’re seeking, is the experts on the subject are long gone and didn’t leave much of a paper trail. Our neighbour Jim is in his 80’s, lived on the farm all his life, remembers his parents making cheese, wine, etc; but doesn’t know for sure how. Nor does anyone else I’ve talked to. They all had the same response, they remember eating it and seeing their parents do it but don’t know exactly how.  As Jim said,”It was probably so simple they didn’t bother to write it down.” The other response I’ve heard from the elderly is,”Why would you want to make that?!? Just buy it at the store!”

Such a practical generation.

So far we’ve gotten a Jersey milk cow named Belle; skimmed the cream; made butter; learned how to make sourdough from wild yeast; figured out what clabbered milk is and how to make a crude au natural cheese from it (which needs a lot more work); and have begun to ferment raspberries, sugar and water for a bit of farm hooch, an upscale version of the Orange Is The New Black variety. (I do promise to blog on all these subjects as I go)

Our grand plan was to begin August 1st with living off the land. Thinking we’d be totally prepared and well educated in all things “old-school-food-production” and thinking it’d be best to start before our big RGE RD dinner in the pasture August 15th, and thinking the garden would be serving up it’s bounty by the bushel, we set the date. All those “thinking” things didn’t amount to a hill of beans, and nor did the garden bounty!

The crazy dry weather here has slowed the production of our garden to weeks behind normal. We’re already in a cooler micro climate then our Edmonton friends.  Just as their lilacs are fading in the early summer, ours are finally opening! As they “Insta-brag” about their backyard veg and fruits, we stare at green plants flower buds not yet opened. So as July came to a close and not a zucchini was in site, I was… let’s say….concerned.

I don’t normally pay attention to the exact time our garden’s harvestable. I only watch that there’s enough edible, and usually it’s tiny, for our RGE RD dinner every August. Normally, I don’t really care.

Clearly, this isn’t a “normal” year.

We planned our kick off party anyway.

Then my grandpa passed away. Of course I was going to go to the funeral, so I prepared to fly out.

I realized I couldn’t leave Danny face this huge undertaking alone! To bake sourdough, make butter, and cook everything straight from the garden,  plus deal with the kids, plus the regular twice a day chores of milking the cow, and dealing with the cattle, pigs, and chickens, plus work full time (he’s a full time farrier {shoes and trims horse hooves} and is completely swamped all summer working  on average, 15 hours per day). He’d lose his marbles trying to keep up with it all! Quite honestly there’s not enough time in the day with two people trying to get it all done, let alone him on this own!

We also discussed our up coming dinner and the chefs that will be in and out of here in the next week as they prepare for it. Quite honestly we love them to bits but don’t want to share our food with them! We don’t know exactly how much we’ll need for the year but we don’t want to risk not having enough!

I got back late last night. This morning I watered my veg beds and walked the garden to check my green babies. In the last week or so everything has popped like crazy! Peas need to be picked, beans are hanging in clusters, zucchini is the perfect size, swiss chard and kale, ready long ago , glare at me, reminding me they won’t last forever! Flowers top the potato plants, my broccoli raab has it’s bright yellow flowers opened as a bit of a kick in the pa-tookas for not getting to them before I left. It’s lovely! It’s bountiful! And we still don’t want to share.

We will begin August 16th. The day after our dinner.

3 thoughts on “How?

  1. I would like to at least be able to supply my family with enough food to beat “the cost of living”. Been reading a lot as to “how”?. Wife’s side are farmers. I’m not, but would like to try. Reading about someone else taking this step is encouraging. All the best!

    James

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I admire you for taking on such a huge task. I would fail miserably – my garden is pathetic this year; not even zucchini is growing! I will be following with great interest.

    Like

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