Cooking on the Hearth

Cooking on the Hearth

This week’s topic brings back memories of days gone by and just might stir up the desire in you to cook over an open fire. Well perhaps not you. Maybe someone you know.

In any case, I thank you all for listening and hope you find this information useful. Thank you, thank you to all of you veteran homestead-loving regulars and welcome to all of you new listeners out there. Let me know what you’re interested in and I’ll see if I can come up with some compelling dialogue.

Today’s Show Homestead Life Updates Cooking on the Hearth Mint Sauce (for Lamb Roast) Homestead Life Updates Cows Our newest addition, Butter, had her calf. Butter is a purebred Jersey with certified A2A2 genetics. If you are not familiar with what that means, well that’s a podcast for another time. The health benefits of raw milk from cows with A2A2 genetics are substantial. We have four calves now—with 2 more still to come.

Sheep Finally, the last ewe had her lambs. She has a lovely set of twins. That brings our total lambs this season to 9. All are alive and well. Only one issue. But Lambert is doing well on his bottle. Every morning and afternoon I go out and call “lambikins” and he comes running. As soon as he has finished his bottle, he turns around and trots back to his mom and 2 siblings.

Quail The quail have hatched. We have 24 baby quail in a brooder right now. They peeped a lot when they first hatched, but now they are as quiet as church mice. I’ve spent lots of time just watching them run around pecking here and there. In three weeks’ time they will be fully feathered and ready to move to their quail condo. By 8 weeks, the hens will be laying eggs and I will start the process all over again until we have the number of birds we want for breeding stock. Our goal is to raise all of the eggs we eat. Eggs and coffee are the only items I currently buy from the grocery store. Soon to be only coffee.

Steers We have 3 steers soon to be up for grabs. If you are interested in a ¼, ½ or whole steer, please get on the list quickly. The first one will go to processing in late June and will be available for pickup around mid-July. We are always limited in the amount of grass-fed beef that we have available. Again, please get on the list early.

Garden The tomatoes are in the garden. It was a bigger job than I thought, but I persevered and got them all in the ground. The beans are up. I still need to plant the green beans. And just today we got the sweet potato slips. Once the beans and sweet potatoes go in, I will have planted that entire garden. Oops, I almost forgot. I need to plant the sunflowers between the tomatoes.

I’m amazed at how much I accomplished on my own with this garden. Sure, Scott did a lot of the heavy work with the mulch and initial fertilizer, but the rest was all me. I’ve never done that much on my own before. Diet and exercise is working wonders for me.

Creamery Not much to report on the creamery this week. We’ve been tied up with other tasks and another week has slipped by with only a little progress. Life on the homestead is constantly filled with meaningful, fulfilling tasks. Scott really does have a lot on his plate right now. He’s doing a great job juggling all of his responsibilities. He is so awesome.

Cooking on the Hearth In the Cooking Through the Ages FarmCast I finished up with a recipe for cooking cornbread on the hearth. There have been so many questions about hearthside cooking, I decided to do an episode on the techniques and knowledge that our great-great-great-great grandmothers used to cook meals for their families. When the United States was founded, all cooking was done over a fire. Most often it was done in the fireplace of the home.

Knowledge of fire-building was a part of everyday life. There were specific tools and implements that assisted in the cooking process. I’ll talk about those as well.

Today we see a fireplace is a charming optional feature for a home. In yesterday’s world a fireplace was absolutely essential to living and the virtual center of family life. It was the primary heat source, was a major source of light, and provided the means by which all food was prepared.

We have a wood stove and perhaps you do too. Once the match was invented, fire building became pretty easy. We merely crumble up some newspaper, lay on some wood, then strike the match. Before this modern convenience, coals had to be carefully banked at night to ensure a ready fire was easily built for the next day’s meals. A “cold fire” meant using flint and steel to strike sparks in extremely flammable tinder, skillful application of air and carefully feeding small twigs, then larger and larger sticks into the flame.

Fire Safety Another convenience of today that we may take for granted is our screened fireplaces. Together with normal precautions, fire hazards from sparks and coals hitting the floor are reduced to nearly nothing….

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