Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ahhhh, Spring Break

And I'm working on a new project. You can see it here. I have always had a testimony of food storage. My testimony of food storage was formed long before I had the added benefit of hearing revelation from a modern day prophet. My testimony of food storage began each year as we drove our cattle to summer pasture so that our hayfields could grow to their full capacity; as I watched the grasses grow taller and taller, as I restricted my travels across our ranch so as not to trample the growing crop, and as I labored in the fields with my family, and other families in the valley, so that we could harvest the hay and make it available to our cattle all winter long. My testimony of food storage began as I pushed heaping shopping carts behind my mother and grandmother during our "stocking up" trips that took place 100 miles from our ranch; as I helped butcher the steer that was to become the little white packages that filled our freezer each year, and as I listened to my dad groan about the bill that came every September when they came to fill our 1000 gallon propane tank. I say I began with these things, because in the early 1980's, our valley was hit with monumental snowfall. That was the year that cemented my testimony of food storage.

That year the snow began early and piled up fast. Soon, we were not able to take hay to the cattle with our tractors. My grandfather went out and removed the hood off an old car, turned the smooth side down, and lashed the makeshift sled to the back of our ancient snowmobile. We couldn't carry many bales at one time this way, so feeding time took up the better part of each day. I thought we had it pretty tough, and then I went to spend the night at my friend Heather's house.

Each day we watched Heather and her brothers ride up to the bus stop with their mom on a sled behind a snowmobile. It looked like a grand adventure to start each day with a ride behind a snowmobile! So after school one day, I got to bundle into the sled with the other children and we started the trek to their home. They only lived about 2 miles from the highway, but their ranch did not have the benefit of the valley's protection. The windswept plain offered no protection from the driving snow, and the snow drifted all the way to the roofs of the barns and houses. Walk ways had been cleared but making your way from the house to the barn required snowshoes if wind blew in the trampled paths. The herd at Heather's house was much larger than ours, and to my delight, four large, black draft horses were employed to drag a huge sled out to the field to feed the cattle each morning; until I found out how that huge sled had to be loaded: one pitchfork (!!!) full at a time.

The ranch house was warm and snug, and it was at Heather's house that I tasted my first bite of homemade wheat bread. It tasted strange and not at all good to my white bread palette. Not even the homemade jam helped it go down. Good thing there was stew that night, because the next morning, there were buckwheat pancakes, and for lunch, wheat biscuits with gravy. By the time it was time to load my overnight bag onto the snowmobile sled and meet my mother at the highway, I was cold, hungry and tireder than I'd ever been before in my young life. I didn't know it then, but I learned a valuable lesson about food storage that day. Store what you eat. It wasn't until years later I first heard the expression to "Store what you eat, eat what you store." And I have to admit that my idea of food storage is much evolved from what I learned as a young girl snowed into a ranch on Wyoming. Even though I've left the ranch, I'm more passionate than ever about food storage. I'd love to get to the point that I don't visit the grocery store on a weekly basis, not only because I don't NEED to but because I won't WANT to. For me growing up, self-reliance was a way of life and I'd like my kids to experience that.

1 comment:

Kacey said...

when my children were young, I stored canned goods against the possibility of a neuclear attack. We had two bathrooms, but only used one tub, so I filled the other with food and pulled the shower curtain to hide it. Then, when Y2K was predicting certain havoc, I stocked up on all sorts of things and had the fun of giving my kids all the stuff I had stored. I love your motto of "Store what you eat and eat what you store". Makes sense to me, but my kids think I am a worry wart.