Our Food Supply Begins here
As anyone who knows me, knows, I LOVE to can. I love the whole process, from starting a seed in April, to taking my jars out of the canner. It gives me a good feeling, I am proud of doing it. I know many people are afraid of doing it, not enough experience. Or like my friend, Dawna, they take the bull by the horn and take off. She cans a lot and everything she can get her hands on. She is a true homesteader in every sense of the word.
The last step before cooking and eating it!
That said, I recently read some old newsletters that Richard Fahey (of the Christian Homesteading Movement) wrote a few years ago. He didn't like his family canning their foods (Not that HE had to do it). Of course, they didn't have a stove. They use a hearth, and I imagine that would not be easy to do. But they did can pickles and tomatoes. Both are foods that can be done in a water bath canner, so easier on a hearth than a pressure canner.
Buying Potatoes In Bulk to Store
They left much of their root crops in the garden in ditches and covered them with straw or hay. I can't imagine that stuff did not freeze, but he says not. When my husband and I lived in Bainbridge and was in our early stages of homesteading, we lived on an old farm and had the use of one of the barns there. It was metal though, and and had no insulation. We bought a 50 lb. bag of potatoes and a new metal garbage can. We thought we'd store the potatoes out there in the barn, but they froze. We were heartbroken to say the least.
Root Cellar now
Now a root cellar, that is underground is completely different. You can bury a garbage can underground, but make sure it is at least below the frost line, which is 18 inches here. In the cellar of most old houses, you will find an old root cellar that is still usable. Our root cellar never got cold enough in the coldest winters to freeze a canning jar. I kept jars of canned food down there when we first moved here. The root cellar has windows and one of them will be able to opened a crack, to let the night air into the cellar in the warmer weather. In the morning, I close that window and open the pantry door to let that cool air into the pantry. At night I close the pantry door. That is how these house were built to use the natural sources to store your food.
Stairs to pantry have been replaced
Now we are working on it again. My husband rebuilt the stairs so they are safer now. He built a stone bench along the back wall, since the stone was already down there. I am planning on making some wooden boxes with metal screen covers on them so that the critters can't get into them. We are going to put up some kind of shelving but will have to keep the food inside a container of some sort due to mice. No matter how much I try, I cannot eliminate them for good. So to combat them, I am keeping the jars in Rubbermaid containers. The fresh produce that I want so badly to store, will have to be protected. No hanging my cabbage from the rafters. No open baskets of potatoes and other vegetables. Everything has to be protected. Don't tell me to get a cat, I have 4 very good hunters and they get mice almost daily, as do our garter snakes who are in abundant amounts this year.
Making plans is part of homesteading. Planning for the future and your food supply is a major part. Do you have a plan? If not, why not? In any emergency, food is essential, whether you are a homesteader or not. Gardening is the most important thing you can do for your family. Don't let them down!
Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole