Thursday, November 7, 2013

Homesteading: Gathering Wares

     There is a draw- a yearning- that calls me toward old things. Just the nearness of cast iron and flour sack comfort my souls deepest place. It seems I have always had a love for homestead wares which brings us to today's topic- gathering wares.
     On my little homestead few things are as essential to my daily work as a sturdy cast iron pan. There is nothing you can't do with them- and nothing you can do to them. The reality is, those pans will out live me. A heavy chicken fryer with its lid, a griddle or two, and a Dutch oven provide the basic elements for homestead cooking. These three items stay at hand, well seasoned and well used. Some are hand me downs and some were purchased second hand; each a solid investment.
      From the kitchen to the tool shed, again, the oldest items are the best. A sturdy hoe, a walk behind plow, and a traditional metal rake make up the essentials in my garden and barn; daily in hand, well worn and quite handy. Weather and wear do cause need for oiling, sharpening, and the occasional replacement handle- either way, another solid investments.
      No homestead operation is complete without the presence of a worn old truck. Here in we haul feed, hay, rusty parts, and the occasional sick animal. Trees and plants arrive in its bed, and hunting gear travels on long trips. The old truck serves a vital role, offering stability and transport- no home can do without one.
      Then, one that may seem a luxury, is our tractor. Whether mowing, leveling, pulling, or deep tilling, the tractor does some serious heavy work. We made do without one for several years, but when the opportunity arose we jumped on it. These days the farm tractor provides purpose and, occasionally, entertainment. Who doesn't want to visit Aunt and Uncle's house for a tractor ride?
       Since we have electricity, we feel the barn fridge and large freezer are quite vital to the home. Fresh milk, eggs, and meat are kept on hand and ready to go- full year round. It has been a blessing time and time again to have food readily available, and nothing is better for you than what you have raised yourself!
       Farther down on my list are antique linens and quilts, sturdy sewing machines, and the ever loved quilt frame. In my life these items are a comfort, a source of peace, and a way to give of myself. Many a quilt has crossed my hands and graced the table of a celebration. The men would say a shop full of old tools is more vital and important, but I argue- those don't feed you when your hungry or warm you when you're cold. I think they have seen the light:)


Michelle said...

I have my grandmothers old cast iron skillet. It is huge! It takes two hands to get it out of the cabinet,but I love it. I can cook a whole cut up chicken it it at one time. I also have a lot of old kitchen gadgets. One of my favorite is the old whisk. To me, things like these are comforting.

Leigh said...

What a great post. I so agree about the tried and true older tools and gadgets.

I would love to have one of those walk behind plows, but our soil is just too much clay. Maybe someday, once I improve it to a lovely, friable consistency.

Dicky Bird said...

Nothing beats the old stuff. My daughter's are getting married this next year and they both already have some oldies in their hope chests from years of my collecting. Yes, a hope chest...that's an old idea that should come back!