Slow winter living
Since we took on the farm 5 years ago now, the rhythm life has changed. that's not to say that I didn't cook from scratch or bake bread etc before we moved, that is deeply ingrained into my very being. No, what I mean is that we have learned to live more seasonally in food, clothing and in general life.
Living in a farm house that was built in the late 1800's with no central heating definitely is a sharp contrast to living in a modern house with heating and no drafts. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my house, but there is definitely a skill to living this way and I have had my toddler tantrums about being cold and not being able to get the fire to burn properly. After the first year we realised that the little gas fire in the dining room wasn't enough to keep us warm, especially after we had the snow storm dubbed 'the beast from the east'. I can tell you, that was not a fun experience! We saved and bought a gloriously huge log burner to replace the gas fire and my husband set to work knocking out the old fireplace. We soon discovered that the brickwork needed some serious work so we called in Chris dad to help there. After what seemed like an endless list of repairs to the walls, chimney wall and general calamities we finally had our fire and it is the most beautiful thing.
I have come to the realisation, living here, that much of the year is spent preparing for the winter. Its so nice to live like the grasshopper in the summer, enjoying the moment, but when winter comes I'm so grateful that I behaved more like the ants, preparing and preserving food, making a comfortable and cozy nest for my family and living through the winter in comfort.
It's hard to imagine when you're picking fresh fruit from the trees and bushes, but in the back of my mind I'm always thinking "How can I preserve this for winter?"
That isn't to say there aren't seasonal foods that are not just nutritious, but also delicious, but when is dark and cold in the winter months, there's nothing like that explosion of flavour of fruit preserved at its finest.
I try to make sure I can 'shop' on my own pantry to an extent. this means having ready prepared freezer meals in my freezer and canned meals in jars on my shelf. Over the past few years I have researched different methods of preserving and have extended my pantry from being a small under the stairs cupboard to a room about the same size as my kitchen. I stock up on items that I can buy in bulk such as rice and sugar etc and line my shelves with freshly canned food in jars. it is the best feeling to go into your pantry and see the product of all your hard work.
Ok, I think I have rambled on for long enough now. Time to go and pick up the boys from school and make a monstrously huge pile of pancakes for dinner this evening.
Happy Pancake day lovely people of the internet.