#11  
Old 11-11-2008, 04:33 AM
sarah h's Avatar
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Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

Elizabeth, it's taken me a while (hard to get to the computer these days ) but I wanted to say thanks for posting this article on sustainable farming - sounds like a great project they've got going there!
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  #12  
Old 11-28-2008, 07:58 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: VA
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

I love the way so many of these posts are so timely when it comes to what I'm doing. My husband is the one with the green thumb and strong back when it comes to gardening. His dream is for us to live off everything he grows. So far he gardens about an acre of land. 2 summers ago he harvested the winter wheat (by hand and sickle) that he had planted as a cover crop the previous fall. It has sat in 5 five gallon buckets since then. I finally decided it was time to do something with it and figured out how to thresh and clean it. I've done one bucket so far. It's a lot of work because I don't have the equipment to do it properly. First I dump it in a bed sheet and stomp on it to separate the wheat from the chaff. Then I soak it in a large cooler so all the hulls come to the top and the seeds fall to the bottom. I remove the hulls then dry it on our large countertop outdoors or in our food dehydrator and then sift it again to get these little black things out of it. Those little black things were in my first attempt at bread and it was gritty. I grind it into flour in my little coffee grinder. Yesterday's bread was great. It seems like so many steps to clean it and it's very time consuming but very gratifying at the same time. Here are some pictures of the wheat before and after. As you can see in the after picture there are still some hulls on some of the seeds. I'm wondering how long the seed will keep and if it should be frozen or something.

Here's another thing I'm wondering, my freezer is packed with homegrown vegetables as are my cupboards with canned ones (enough tomatoes for pizza more than once a week), nearby hunters give us venison, we buy our beef and lamb from local farmers and we bake our own bread, why are my grocery bills still near $200.00 every week?
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  #13  
Old 11-28-2008, 08:34 AM
egalecki's Avatar
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

The wheat looks really good. I'm sorry it's a pain to get to the end product, but it sounds as though it's worth it. The color of the wheat berries is beautiful. I don't know about storage. I know whole wheat flour goes off, but I don't know about the intact berries. Did one bucket make the container of berries, or is there more from that bucket?

I don't know about your grocery trips, but mine are always a lot more expensive when I don't use a list... but here, at least, the bills are waaay down with only 1 kid left. Even the toilet paper consumption is way down!

top things costing me money these days (at a guess, not sure): junk food, soft drinks, dog food, cheese, coffee, chicken and fish, and lunch meat for my sandwich dependent husband. Oh, and wine. But I don't usually buy that at the grocery store. I don't eat much junk food, but dh eats some. He's one of those people who can eat a salad and lose 5 pounds. I'm not. Oh well.
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:56 AM
sarah h's Avatar
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

Wow, those berries are great and I commend your efforts to turn them into flour and make bread - there must have been a huge sense of satisfaction when you bit into a slice of that bread!
I would love to be far more involved in the process of getting my food from field to table; I think we've become way too removed from it over the last century, and we're the losers for it.
But there does seem to be a bit of a pendulum-swing back to a more hands-on connection with our food - we oven builders are a part of it.

Grocery bills?! I'm not even going there!! Of course, it doesn't help that our grocery stores now sell wine, furniture, pharmacy fare, housewares, TV's, etc. ...
We often detour now, on our way home from work, to a very small grocery store that is way more user-friendly and mostly just stocks food. They don't always have everything I want but I'm not enticed by things I don't need, the staff are way more friendly and helpful and I can get in & out of there in a quarter of the time I would spend in the Superstore (yes, that's its actual name!). It's also open 24-7 .

Sarah
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:09 AM
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

I cleaned more wheat this weekend. Now we have about 16 lbs of berries. It's kind of fun actually. After seeing me clean it my husband decided maybe he should plant a lot more next year.

I was watching Oprah the other day (I'm always embarassed to admit that) and they were talking about Blue Zones, places where where people live the longest. What the areas all had in common was that they got lots of exercise, mostly by growing their own food or tending their land. They also ate food grown locally. None of them mentioned gym memberships. Sardinia was one of the blue zones. A centenarian credited eating bread, cheese and red wine to his longevity. I like that. All these areas were rural. I made my husband watch this (I recorded Oprah) and it just convinced him we need to work harder in the garden.

I also shop at a superstore where I end up buying more than I need. I should try going to a small grocery where I'm not tempted to buy stuff that's not necessary. I live in a rural area though and the nearby grocery stores (if you can call them that) sell Boones Farm so I can't get wine, olives, good cheese................. They do have good meats and local produce though but I don't really need that. What would be nice would be if many of us on the forum lived near each other and could trade and barter more. Or could have a community garden/farm. Elizabeth, I know and hour and 20 minutes is a long way to drive to garden but if you wanted to use some of our land to plant a crop that doesn't need a lot of care you're certainly welcome to do that. We have lots of open land that gets lots of sunshine.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:51 AM
egalecki's Avatar
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

Wow, what a generous offer. I'll give it some thought, but off the top of my head I can't think of a viable way to take advantage of it. Thank you so much.

We're trying to do more of the "eat local, shop local" too. I tend to avoid the big superstore for the most part. I dislike the long lines, the "shopping distractions", and really, the business model in general. There's a truly local grocer here, and I shop there as well as at Kroger. What I can't get at one, I can get at the other. We don't have a good farmer's market here, but in the next town over they have a very good one.

I canned and froze much more this year than I have since my kids were very small. Back then I made grape juice, lots of jam, and generally had enough tomatoes and tomato products to keep me in them all year. I had so many tomatoes one year I actually made ketchup. (I don't recommend it. While it uses a lot of tomatoes, it doesn't taste right!!) I'll probably do even more next year- I plan on doing a lot more with trellises to gain vertical space.

I also think I'll be trying to do a winter garden next year- I wanted to this year but time got away from me and winter is VERY early this year. I want to grow a lot of salad type greens under cover next winter. I may still try to do some this year, I might get some things to germinate if I can get the cover on and warm up the ground some..
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