The Barn Door: The Focus of Fall

Fall. I love those moments when I can turn off my head and just be in the moment, aware of the changing season around me, breathing in the chill, crisp air. I must practice doing that more often, and for longer periods of time.

I myself welcome a reminder that autumn isn’t about what we do during it. Fall just is. It is as natural and inevitable as the rise and setting of the sun. Let’s all just take the time to be still and look and listen as it spreads its beautiful season across the land and skies. Breathe in the whiff of burning leaves. Rustle through a pile of harvested corn stalks. Feast your eyes on the colors of the trees as they sway in the wind.

via The Barn Door: The Focus of Fall.

 

The Barn Door: I Miss Cows

cowI hope I don’t offend any animal lovers with this recent post from The Barn Door about my early days as a farmer. Just keeping it real. Click to read the whole post to get my drift.

I wish all humans and all animals could live together without fighting and strife and, you know, eating each other. Until that happens, though, I admit that I’m glad the sirloin and ground chuck and ribs I pick up at the supermarket are strangers to me now. And while my mother might think it was heartless to butcher and baste Big Brown, he does have a fond place in my memories.

via The Barn Door: I Miss Cows.

 

This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes…

How many recipe books do you know that also include directions for how to wash your clothes? Well, the Young Housekeeper’s Friend does that, and even tells you how to make your own washtub:

Noe_washing_toolsA large painted wash tub is expensive, and it may be convenient for some persons to know that a very good rinsing tub can be made of a flour barrel. Take one that is clean and well made; have the upper part sawed off about nine inches. See that there are no nails sticking through. Make three holes large enough to admit the fingers, in two opposite staves, to serve for handles. If there are cracks, caulk them, and fill the tub with water.The water will soon swell the staves so as to close the cracks;  and when it has once done leaking,keep it always turned down in the cellar when not in use.

Building A Home, Not Just a House

What a beautiful transformation! Follow the building of Vastrap Farm to see the rewards that are possible with hard work, imagination, and love.

What made building a bit more difficult was the fact that we used 13 inch sandstone blocks in the alterations to match the existing house. Large sandstone blocks are typical of the old buildings in our area, but these days people tend to build with smaller blocks almost the size of bricks. We decided to stay true to the original since there were still 13 inch blocks strewn around the mountain behind our house left over from when my father-in-law employed a full-time stone mason in the 1960s. The blocks were carved out of big chunks of sandstone fallen from the cliffs above. He must have been a very productive guy because he carved all the blocks for the renovations that Bill and Karine did in the 1960s (including the building of a squash court) with more than enough left over for us!

via Memories of the Vastrap renovation | Vastrap Farm.

Remembering My Butchering Days

Butchering

via The Farmhouse Table | Chickens in the Road.

We never raised sheep like they’re doing above on the Chickens in the Road site, but I do remember butchering many a deer, hog or cow on the farm.  We always waited for cold weather, then would shut all the inside doors to the kitchen so the heat from the wood burning stove wouldn’t warm the room up too much and the cold seeping in from the open back door wouldn’t freeze up the rest of the house.

It was lots of work and not for most people, probably, but it did produce the best meat I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Fascinating Fungi

I remember hunting morels in the spring forests near our small farm. My neighbor was the Morel King–I swear he could sniff them out like a truffle hog.

–Deb

TwistedSifter

 

A fungus is a member of a large group of organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and moulds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria. The discipline of biology devoted to the study of fungi is known as mycology. Mycology has often been regarded as a branch of botany, even though it is a separate kingdom in biological taxonomy. Genetic studies have shown that fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants. [Source]

Abundant worldwide, Fungi perform an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter and have fundamental roles in nutrient cycling and exchange. They have long been used as a direct source of food, such as mushrooms and truffles, as a leavening agent for bread, and in fermentation of various food products, such as…

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