What makes good memories? For us it is the time we spend together with family and friends. It isn't the extravagant, well thought out and planned affairs. The most memorable times are the simple times together when things just happen, the ordinary moments.
As a child growing up my fondest memories are of spending time on my grandpa and grandma's farm. It was not a huge farm by any measure. In this day and age it would be called a small homestead. There was no constant running around trying to get too many things accomplished. It was not a vacation for them I am sure, but there was a steady pace to life that allowed them to have a child follow them around while they took care of their daily duties.
Grandpa and Grandma's farm was not a large farm where equipment would be dangerous for little people to be around. It was a human-scaled place. A special place that encouraged a slower, more thoughtful way of life. Their farm was home to cows (both beef and dairy), chickens (laying hens and meat birds), turkeys, pigs and numerous barn cats. There were fruit trees, berry bushes and a huge garden that would provide them with food for the year. This farm was vividly etched into my young heart and mind. It was my happy, safe place.
This was the homestead that I would dream about. I can still see the root cellar in my mind. The homemade shelving loaded down with the colorful jars of food that my grandma so lovingly tended while it was growing in the garden and orchard, then took the time to carefully preserve the bounty to feed her family during the upcoming winter. When the chill of autumn was in the air the bins of root vegetables (carrots, turnips, beets, potatoes) would be filled to overflowing.
The meat chickens and turkeys were a special treat for me to visit. We would always go for a visit to grandpa's when the tiny, fluffy chicks would arrive at the farm. The sweet smell of fresh shavings covering the brooder house floor and all those little fluff balls running around under the heat lamps. Then would come the day when they were old enough to harvest. It was a family affair to get all those birds ready for canning or freezing. As a young child my job was to help pluck the feathers out of them, while the older people would do the rest of the job. After the birds were all cleaned to grandpa and grandma's high standards, grandma would freeze what she wanted and the rest would be cut into pieces and canned to add to the growing collection of food in the cellar.
When late fall rolled around, the beef and the pig that had been growing fat all summer would be processed. The meat would be canned or frozen and the fat would be rendered down to make the tallow and lard that was used in cooking for the rest of the year. Grandma made the most amazing pie crust with her home rendered lard.
And of course there was always the milking to be done. Twice a day grandpa would head out to the big old log barn to milk his cows. Once all the girls were milked he would head to the milk house with those buckets of warm, frothy milk. He would pour it into the cream separator. What anticipation as I would wait for that thick, rich cream to slowly flow down the spout and into those special little glass jars that were reserved especially for cream. The milk would come down the other spout into larger glass jars or into a pail. When all the separating was finished and everything was washed up, we would head to the pigs who were anxiously waiting for their special meal of skimmed milk.
As life goes, I grew up and that special farm was sold. But the dream of that young girl didn't go away. Even when I lived in the city it was always right there, deep down in my heart.
As life unfolded I was blessed to meet a very special man. This year we will be married for thirty-four years. I am so thankful that he has put up with my dreams of a homesteading lifestyle. Over the years we have moved from living in town to creating our own farm. Like my grandparent's farm our farm is home to a multitude of different animals. When you come for a visit we will happily show you our milk and beef cows, the forest raised pigs, the pasture raised sheep, the forest/pasture raised goats, the pastured poultry, the free range ducks and geese, lots of barn cats who love to be snuggled and our hard working border collies and the large livestock guardian dogs.
Now we are the grandpa and grandma with the farm. One of our dreams is that this farm will create fond memories for our grandchildren. We have been blessed to have some of these little people living in the same yard.
These little people are such a special blessing. Last summer we put this little one in the baby Ergo and took her all over the farm with us. She is more mobile this year so she can tag along on her own. She comes with grandpa and grandma to move the cows to fresh pasture, watch us milk the cows, feed the chickens, gather vegetables from the garden and her favorite thing right now, loving the cats.
Pasture-Raised Chickens and Holiday Turkeys
August finds us heading into the harvest of the garden and the animals that will sustain us through the winter.
We have been working hard since spring tending to the animals that will be harvested this fall. The chickens and turkeys have been following the cows all summer, sanitizing the pastures and adding fertility to the soil all the while producing tasty meat for our table and yours.
The pasture-raised chickens are in the freezer and the Thanksgiving turkeys are out on pasture until the beginning of October getting ready to grace family holiday tables in our local area. Be sure to preorder them by dropping us a quick note here. There are a limited quantity and sell out quickly.
We love to hear from you. What makes fond memories for you? Share your special moments so we can encourage each other.
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