Tuesday, 31 July 2012


I just wanted to get up a few photos of my family's "old-time harvest days". My Dad has kept a 100 year old threshing machine in running condition, and this summer, with all his grandchildren home at the same time, he showed us all how harvesting was done in the good ole days! I'll have a full post later, but here are just a few photos to show what I mean. Just like in the old days, we harvested when the grain was ready, and that just happened to be on the hottest days of the summer. I don't know what was worse, stacking up all the tied sheaves on the field, or throwing those sheaves into the threshing machine, that threw dust and chaff everywhere! A shower has never felt so good!


So, it's been nearly 8 weeks since we bought our grain mill, and I can honestly say that I have only bought one loaf of store bread, and one package of hamburger buns. I have been making all our own breads and buns, alternating my recipes, looking for that one great recipe that we all love. I've made 100% whole wheat, 100% whole mixed grains, 50/50 whole wheat, 40% whole rye, white bread, mashed potato buns, a wheat/oat mix, and more. We absolutely LOVE the grain we bought from Deruyck's Top of the Hill Farm!  So far, the winner has been the 50/50 whole wheat bread recipe. We use it for sandwich bread, buns, and pizza crust. The rye bread was a close second.  I have even been testing out a 2-day version that uses a pre-soaker to let enzymes develop.

 Here are a couple of photos of my bread-making trials. The last photo is of our grain-mill being used with oats. I've been asked if milling our own grain is hard, or messy, and I can honestly say that it is not. It' is actually very easy, just turn the machine on, pour in the grain, and wait for it to finish milling. The mill we chose is not messy at all either. I process enough flour to last us for 2-3 weeks at a time. I find that baking the bread is getting to be easier too. The actual mixing/kneading is only a 15 minute job, while the remaining time is "resting/rising" time. I bake bread in the evening, after dinner. (enough to last for 5-7 days at a time too)

Beans, Beets, Herbs,Pickles and Relish

The last 2 weeks have been full of harvesting green beans, beets, making pickles, drying herbs and preserving relish! It's alot of work, but oh so very worth it when you can eat home grown vegetables in the middle of our Manitoba winter. Here are some photos of what we've been up to. The beans and cucumbers are needing attention every 3 days right now. The herbs have been harvested 3 times so far. Our pantry and deep-freezer are looking more and more full every passing week. I love harvest time. (watch here for our old-time harvest story, with a 100 year old threshing machine and very itchy grain...coming soon)

Monday, 23 July 2012


We have really been enjoying receiving our weekly vegetable delivery from our local Organic Farm. Here is a recent selection that we received: new red potatoes, radishes, two types of peas, red lettuce, kale, green onions, cabbage and strawberries. We ate most of it over 7 days. Everything was so good. This is the first time we have ordered a vegetable delivery, and it is definately something we will do again next year.

Monday, 2 July 2012


We've harvested all sorts of goodness from our garden over the past month. Spinach, lettuce, mixed greens, herbs, radishes, beets, green onions, celery, carrots and strawberries have all made their way into our family dinners all month long. The recent hot weather has made our spinach bolt to seed very quickly, so I guess we will wait for the swiss chard to get a bit bigger. We have also been getting a farm basket from our local organic farm every week too. (that will be another post later this month)

We've also been making good use of all the grains we bought from Top of the Hill Farm earlier this summer. Below is a Cheddar and Whole Wheat bread that was so incredibly good. I've become a bit obsessed with finding the best whole grain recipes I can find.  We haven't bought a loaf of bread in nearly 6 weeks, and I think that the kids don't even miss it. In the past week, we ate 4 meals that consisted of ALL local fresh ingredients.
Our family attended the Food Label workshop at Vita Health this month too. Lots of great information was provided.  I've also found a great website called Fooducate, that has so much information about everything in industrialized/processed foods.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


May has been such a wonderful month. The garden is starting to produce. Today we ate fresh spinach (from thinning the rows) and green onions that we grew ourselves...local and organic. It doesn't get any better than this. The spinach made it's way into green smoothies and a little salad. The green onions were salad fixings, and in soup and on top of baked potatos.
We have just found a local organic farm very near our place that sells produce, chicken, and eggs. I'm looking forward to going there for a visit to see what they are all about. On my bookshelf for the past two weeks, I've read the Ominvore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Both great reads with lots of ideas and opinions about the industrial food system.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


We picked and dehydrated all the chives that were ready this week. I tried to dry them two different ways. First, in whole sprigs...just put into the dehydrator, and let it do it's work. Then, I decided to try cutting the chives into small bits, and place them onto some parchment paper (with holes poked thru it) one one rack of the dehydrator. This is the way I will do all the remaining chives. They dried quicker, and more evenly than leaving them whole.  I started this process indoors, but the onion aroma quickly changed my mind, and I moved the dehydrator outside.
When everything was dried, I put the chives into my small food processor, with just a sprinkle of coarse sea salt, and pulsed it into coarse "powder".  I'll be using this in egg dishes, mixed into sour cream, mashed potatos, meats, or anywhere I want a light onion flavor. We ended up with the two small jars in the last photo. I plan on using the dehydrator a lot more this summer. Upcoming uses will be for dill, oregano, thyme, basil, strawberries, carrot slices, and more.