Monday, January 28, 2008

Life on a Homestead

Many people romanticize "Life on a Homestead". I know that I did. There is a satisfaction that I find from living this sort of life. However, there are all sorts of things that you have to add in to the mix to get a true picture. I would in no way try to talk someone out of homesteading or farming. I would want them to count the cost though.

The above picture shows the bread I made this weekend. I put another loaf's worth of dough in the freezer to make pizza this week. This is probably one of the first areas that we changed in our family. We bought a grain mill and made an investment in some wheat. I was so proud that we ground our own wheat and made our own baked goods. I was not totally conscience of this pride though. I prided myself that I did not buy flour from the store. We made our own granola cereal, why I even used to make our own wheat thins. Little things happened to start showing me my pride. My very darling son pulled a funny one night at a friends house. They were having a hotdog roast at their house. Joshua got one of the buns and in a REALLY LOUD voice that he put all the hick into he could, he announced, "Look Ma.... White bread from town." Everyone cracked up including me. However, there was a little prick down inside somewhere that I was ignoring. The real balloon bursting came when I got bacterial meningitis in August of 2005. Before that, we would almost go without bread before I would buy a store bought loaf. After that... well let's just say that making the bread out of freshly ground wheat is NOT the norm. I am trying to get back to making it more often but also trying to keep my pride in check. God really does have a sense of humor. Someone wrote into the a list I am on that only uses real foods. They said they had a DLX (a mixer - the one I have) and they did not like it. They wanted to buy another brand...a Bosch. They told how the dough hook did not work and how it walked off their counter and it threw dough at her. I did not state this to her, but I was sure wondering what her problem was and what she was doing with her DLX. Those things had NEVER happened to me. I did write a sweet little plastic note asking questions about how she used it as I had one and had never had those problems. I had been using mine for around 10 years. Guess what happened after sending that email? Yep... The dough hook would no longer knead my bread, the DLX was flinging dough left and right and at me, and it starting walking on the counter. Sigh..... You would think I would learn. I also have a confession to make... OK, all of you who know me in real life skip over to the next paragraph. Ok, now that they are gone I want to tell you about a wonderful biscuit recipe I read about. The person said there is a big difference in flours. They bought White Lily (yes, white flour from town) and they thought it worked better than anything else they used. One of my cyber friends used the recipe and posted a picture of her biscuit. It was gorgeous. It was like a biscuit I only dream of making. By the way, she gives the recipe in the post above the picture and also gives credit for where the recipe came from. I was in the grocery store with my husband this past Saturday. We were in the baking aisle. I had shown him the post. I asked him what the name of the flour was. He looked at me with a look of "WHO ARE YOU" and asked if I was going to buy white flour. I hurredly assured him I was not. We found some White Lily flour. I think we both were seeing visions of biscuits in our head. He looked at me and grinned and told me to buy it. Lord, it was that husband you gave me!!! =) Since I am to obey my husband.. (Kym, I told you to skip to the next paragraph... quit rolling your eyes and groaning). Anyway, I glanced around to make sure there was no one I knew in the area and put it in my cart and then covered it with other items. So, there you have it. I have white flour from town in my pantry. Don't tell anyone... OK?

Another area of homesteading is a milking animal. I wanted goats in a bad way. We got goats and I loved them. We got rid of them last year and I still miss them. We also got a milk cow. When you have a milking animal, you HAVE to milk every day or usually twice a day. Someone calls and says there is a big family ball game going to start down at the local ball park. You are invited. Well, you can go and leave early to milk or you can wait and milk and go late. Animals do best on a set schedule. If it is thundering and lightening to beat the band, you still have to milk. If it is 5 degrees or lower, you still have to milk. If you are sick, you still have to milk. Milking a couple of goats took me a bit of time. I have never totally milked out a cow by myself. I am not sure I or the cow would endure to the end. You have to wash the udder and teats off. Goats are fairly clean. Cows love to lay in warm brown gooey mud and manure. Sometimes a full bath is needed. OK, now picture that full bath and it is 32 degrees. You get very wet when bathing a cow. Have you ever been swatted in the face with a tail that was a bit wet with manure flecks or a full blown manure tail in the spring when the green grass has just started in good?

Another area to consider is how willing are you to do medical type procedures on your animal? I have become an animal midwife. I did not choose this profession, but when no one else is here, I am it. I have had to put my arm places that I never imagined. One of our milk cows bloated. We tried the normal things and it got worse. We had to stab and puncture her. The junk started coming out and then sealed up. She ended up having to be stabbed 3 times before she was saved. She is still a sweet gentle cow that gives us wonderful raw, grass fed, jersey milk. Our animals always seem to get their worse at 6PM on a Saturday or Sunday when no vets are available or very hard to get ahold of. Have you ever given a shot? Do you know what IM, SubQ or IV means? We didn't until we had animals. Have you ever trimmed a hoof? What do you do if you make them bleed? What if an animal that has manure that is in berries all of a sudden starts giving clumps, large clumps?

I will continue this post later. I want you to see a side of this life that most people don't see or hear about. I still would choose this life though..... Until later.


Unknown said...

uhhhh, thanks. thanks a lot.


Unknown said...

GASP! White flour!


I don't know if we can still be friends... sigh. Why do these things always have to happen to me?!?!

I suppose I can overlook it, but...

;-) LOL! I have white flour, too! ROFLOL! Will you ever forgive me? heehee snort

Jthemilker said...

Gotta love that life! I love it too, although I only dabble in it on occasion now days. I love to milk cows... and will never forget giving my first shot. I had to stick her three times before I got it thru the hide. She wasn't too happy!

LadySnow said...

You are too funny! Your not the only one that has white flour hiding in the cupboard.... :)

Anonymous said...

YOU HAVE WHITE FLOUR ON YOUR SHELF??? Don't you know white flour is supposed to be in a 5 gallon bucket??? At least that's where we keep ours....right below the pop tarts (organic of course) Smile....The Neighbor

Mary said...


I have put my hand and in fact the entire arm in places I'd rather not mention here, just to help a cow birth. When the calf was born, it is one of the most miraculous things on earth - or any other animal for that matter.

I have been sprayed with dung when a cow who had just been put out to pasture in the spring got the trots.

I've also had multiple other experiences while growing up on a farm that some people would think horrible. However, these are part of farm life and there's no place I'd rather be. You can take the girl from the farm, but never the farm from the girl.


Unknown said...

You can wash the farm off the girl, though. LOL!

Reviekat said...

Thanks for a bit of reality! Even though we are not on a farm yet we've had our share of learning that all is not a rose garden in the world of homesteading - like what to do with wet clothes on a wet day!

I loved your white flour story - we've sunk to white flour for special things like scones. LOL.

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

I loved this post.....Although I don't make homemade bread as often as I used to and I buy the flour (yes, white included) from the store!

I do know what IM, SubQ and IV mean...didn't until we had cows and pigs though!

Even having to put up with manure, flies, dirt, bad weather, sick animals, is such a rewarding life!

Sharri said...

That was such a great post.

I laughed right out loud at Joshua and his hick "Look Ma.."
What a hoot!

I have always wanted to live on a farm...but don't know how well I would hold up under some of those tough circumstances.
I'm definately a romantic! :0)