Saturday, October 04, 2008

Farm Home Conveniences

It's hard to imagine living in a situation where this "convenience" would markedly improve the quality of food storage. We're so used to easy availability of appliances or at least ice, for keeping food cold. I hope we never end up relying on this kind of "technology" but in the spirit of "hope for the best, plan for the worst" here are instructions on making and using your very own Iceless Refrigerator.
Notice the assumption that everyone knows how to do basic carpentry and has the tools and materials at hand for small projects...
I could see a little "fridge" like this sitting on our porch to keep fruit or baked goodies cool. When I bought my c.1930 house in Seattle, there was a pie safe and metal-lined bin on the back porch, plus one set of upper cabinets (on the north wall) had small screened vents, top & bottom. This was used as a cool cupboard, for foods that were less perishable but still benefitted from being kept cooler than indoor temperature. We often ponder having vents put into our pantry wall (also on the north side) but it's rather drastic to poke two holes into an otherwise perfectly sound wall. Later I'll post a nifty cool cupboard idea from this same pamphlet, which would work great if you have an easy-to-open window on your north wall.
Notice the need for sewing skills and equipment in making the refrigerator cover! No wonder farms worked best when one person could stay home all day. You need that much time just to work on all these projects.
Also relating to farm home conveniences, and after much consideration, we've decided to sell Stella and Ryder. The logistics involved just with getting Bob up here to rebreed Stella got us pondering the logistics of the whole cattle breeding empire in general. As rewarding as the experience has been, most of our resources have been focused on cattle needs and infrastructure, with the result that all our other plans have been pinched, poked and shoved aside more than we like.
Another factor in our decision is that we've found a dairy, 3 miles away, that produces milk we really like. It's not raw, and it's not organic, but the owners take good care of their cows and are very willing to share information about their operation. We've sampled milk from every dairy in our county, raw, cooked, conventional, organic, and Breckenridge Dairy produces milk that is the next best tasting to Stella's, for $3 a gallon. They also make their own cream, half & half and butter.
So we'll keep Doug for the freezer, and when Stella & Ryder are gone, we'll probably buy an auction steer to raise for beef each year. One cow and one pony, plus our laying flock, should be a great balance of critters to eat our grass, without having to break the bank bringing in hay each year.

1 comment:

Saara said...

Another great low-tech system is the pot-in-pot cooler (zeer pot). Here's one in California and another article with even more ideas