Sunday Morning on the Farm

We need to bring in more wood.  I shall find some more kindling.  Empty the ash into the compost.   A wood fire is far more warming than the furnace.  And delightful as well.

The grandfather clock chimes and the morning is still.  Blue jays call in the distance.  Steam rises from my coffee cup as my husband sips his beside me.  A quiet Sunday morning save for sounds of the homestead.

Blur….upp, the sound the honey wine makes while fermenting.

The busy whir of the sewing machine as I work on Yuletide gifts.

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Gentle snoring from the farm dog who reclines comfortably on the sofa after a cool night outdoors keeping watch over the urban farm.  He loves his work and does it well, coming in to rest then opting to go outside again late morning.

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This life, this home, it balms, sweetens, and simplifies.  This homestead life.

Root vegetables- sunchokes, parsnips, and potatoes- harvested from the garden beds will be roasted for brunch alongside fresh eggs from the coop.

The chickens dig around in the leaves and the golden light of autumn cascades over the sleeping beds.  I jot down ideas for a preservation garden.  I will need more fencing.

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Dreams, and the gentle lilt of every day life pervades me and I smile, and take another sip.

Homesteading Oven

“MOM!”  Summoned, I went into the kitchen where Emily, Shyanne, and Shyanne’s boyfriend, Dillon stood fanning the stove after shutting it promptly off.  Shyanne was trying to bake a cake.  I had to admit I noticed something was wrong prior to this with the gas stove but sometimes ignorance is bliss.  It doesn’t light….until four minutes later when it explodes.  It can certainly freak you out if you have watched any daytime television show where the people were burned when the stove actually blew up.  I admit, I have watched such show.  A long time ago, but it still haunts me.  So, the stove is permanently out of use.  I can use the cooktop, but after asking around and trouble shooting, the old oven is kaput.

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Simple, buy a new stove, right?  Wrong.  We are in our lean months.  Oh, and I mean lean!  No farmer’s markets until mid-May.  Reserves are slight and there is no shiny new gas stove in my near future.  Our landlords cannot afford one either so there we go.  Ask and you shall receive, I am a pioneer!  With a gas stove top.

It was quite the adventure menu planning and making the grocery list.  I could not choose anything that had to go in the oven.  No casseroles, no bread, no broiling, no baking.  I managed a two week menu plan using only the cooktop.

I remember the days of my youth when I was new to the outside world, fresh out of my parent’s house with no stove.  I was so thrilled with my new independence and plug in coffee maker, I didn’t seem to care.  But, now, Italian bread calls my name as well as enchiladas.

solar oven

I have been looking at solar ovens for years.  They run around $350.  Not tremendously less than a regular stove.  My friend loaned me a book last week on building my own.  Ironic.  That was before my stove died.  I grew up in a household where women did the housework, cooked, sewed, tended to the children, and the garden.  The men worked, took the trash out, mowed the lawn, and fixed stuff.  I do not know how to build a birdhouse, let alone a solar oven.  Unfortunately, Doug grew up in a household where they called somebody.  We have work to do on that end of our homesteading journey.

We could build a solar oven, or buy one, but will it bake?  I have read that they work great.  That in an hour you can have fresh bread.  Just set it out facing the sun and wallah.  What if it is cloudy?  Or below zero?  Or if chickens perch on it?  I think I will open up the book Sandy loaned me and see what it would take to build one.

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Could I put a bunch of cinder blocks together with a hole in the middle and set fire to it and heat it up then sweep the ashes out then stick a ball of dough in there and then bake it?  Much like a horno that we admire in New Mexico?  Could I put mud over it and make it look adobe….or I guess it would be adobe at that point.  It would need a door.  Hmmm.  What about during our fire bans every year?  Back to the solar oven.

I have cast iron pans.  I have a stove top.  I can make tortillas, flat breads, and dumplings.  I can make soup, sauté, heat up in a sauce pan.  I can make two weeks of meals with no oven while I figure out how to build a contraption that looks like a space ship.  It may raise a few eyebrows around us.  That’s okay, the neighbors already think we are little special.  I can already smell the fresh bread.