Whole Larder Love » Grow. Gather. Hunt. Cook.

From the kitchen she yelled loud with excitement “It’s snowing!”

All of sudden it came down hard and fast, just like the waves of long grass in a windy paddock. Covered up in a warm jacket and wide brim, I let the flakes land delicately over me. How often do we get to really stop and enjoy these moments? Even though this is our five spell of snow here, each time it’s still special. Her giddy smile and childish excitement and my boyish playfulness, all brought about by gently falling flakes of frozen water. Amazing what the weather can do to an adult.

Snow bellowed in like dust storm, the ground was soon covered in white. Everything from discarded kids toys to stacked firewood, all disappeared under the white. The dogs ran about confused while we tried our best to capture the moment for our absent kids. But it was a futile task. Nothing could capture this moment but our ‘memory cams’. We held each other, hoping to hold onto the the moment as long as possible, before we realised we where getting cold. Love was impractical in this blizzard.

After a spell, we headed across the paddocks to return to the old farm house. I stood looking back at our home. Everything was hidden. Everything all looked the same. The white of snow had hidden everything from view.

 

These last few days since the snow fall, I’ve had a burning question in my mind. Why is so much hidden from us? I came up with what might be a silly question. But I’m going to ask it anyway.

My kids go to primary school. Each year they have excursions to places like Science Works the museum or zoo. Great experiences for young minds. Here they learn about history, animals and science stuff. And that’s all good. On these days out the kids are asked to take lunches which is standard practice I believe. In these lunches you’re sure to find the odd ham sandwich, some chicken rolls, I’ve even heard of chicken nuggets and party pies. Now answer me this. If it’s ok for the kids to eat meat that’s come from intensive factory farm, then why don’t we take the kids on an excursion to go visit these farms? Wouldn’t they learn something new there? It’s not like the farms have anything to hide right?

Nah. Lets cover everything in white snow. It looks better.

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  • August 4, 2014 - 10:16 am

    Marcia - When I was a kid, my family lived on a dairy farm in Northern Victoria (near Echuca). I have an older sister & older brother, when they were in years 5 & 6 our primary school participated in a student exchange. “City kids” from Collingwood came up to our country school & spent a weekend with some “farm kids” families.

    We showed them where milk, eggs, beef, lamb & chicken came from.
    It’s something I’ve always taken for granted, knowing the life cycle of our animals & the foods they produce, at the age I was back then (about 8) I just couldn’t believe that these kids didn’t know about those kinds of things.

    In turn, my family got to hear about what it was like to live in a big city, what they ate, what they did for fun & what their families were like. One of the city kids (Coung) was a Vietnamese refugee,(what we would now call boat people)living with his father in a one roomed apartment, while saving their money to bring out the rest of their family.

    We were young and very naive, never really having been exposed to anything like that before it was a real eye opener for both sides. What grew from that experience was a new friend for my brother. Coung went on to join us for many summer holidays, his father always sending a beautiful big tray of fresh mangoes, his way of saying thank-you. Many years have passed & while I am unsure of what happened to Coung, I am so very grateful my family got to experience that cultural exchange.ReplyCancel

  • August 4, 2014 - 11:11 am

    Robin - Imagine how the factory “farms” would scream if kids were exposed to the reality of how their food was raised. They’d never allow it here in the US and I think most of the parents would keep their kids home from school that day.

    I do have a little good news. My daughter is leading the Youth Conservation Corps program at our national wildlife refuge this summer. She has six high school students in her program. They’re bringing healthy lunches and snacks to work with them *every* day. These are young people who have grown up with our Farm To School program through elementary school. They were taught from the start that locally grown is good and healthy, and they’ve stuck with it. It’s good to see change happening.ReplyCancel

  • August 4, 2014 - 3:46 pm

    alan - In the US, a teacher would be prohibited from even photographing over a fence, these industrial “meat” plants – ask me how I know. But I do agree that we will never change the way people eat if they are legally prohibited from learning the truth. In the US most urban people are horrified by us country hunters, but never think about the food factories that even give their kill a fair chance.ReplyCancel

  • August 4, 2014 - 10:52 pm

    Jessie - We saw the snow here too. Given I have a 6, 4 and 3yo, NONE of whom were interested in the snow falling, I had to stay inside and make sure they didn’t destry the joint rather than enjoying being snowed on. Cold? Yep but it makes you value coming inside to toast ones back up against the wood fire. :)

    We home educate and our kids have also seen all but the ill stroke when we’ve processed our roosters. The lambs we kept them back a bit but our eldest is only 6 after all. They did see the carcasses once they were hanging though and our eldest even helped with the butchering, cutting surpluss fat from some of the cuts. The 4 and 6 year olds both helped with sausage making and watched whilst I rendered down the fat and then made tallow soap too. :) it’s real food for real weather. :) ReplyCancel

  • August 5, 2014 - 10:03 am

    Sue from the Sunshine Coast - Wow, great picture. Beautiful. Isn’t it great to stop,look and feel the might of all things nature tosses our way. To be a part of such weather shifts reminds us we are alive. We were caught up in ex tropical cyclone Oswald here on the sunny coast on Aus Day 2012. We hid under the dining room table, mobile phone without reception in one hand and a glass of red for comfort in the other while 150klm winds bent the gums dangerously close to the house and thrashed rain sideways against the glass. It was terrifying (hence the red) and yet we knew in that 36 hours that we were truly alive. Was it fear or was it invigorating? Probably both. But in those hours we connected with the small tasks of grafting out food and water and repairing our broken camp stove. The small things became huge and after the storm came the calm and sleep. I love snow and rain and wind and storm, it’s hypnotic. thanks for the reminder.ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2014 - 2:37 am

    Alina - Years ago I had the idea to compare, in a ‘bad foodie’ ‘zine, the recipes and machinery required for butter and margarine. I still think that idea has legs.ReplyCancel

  • August 8, 2014 - 12:13 pm

    Kirti - oh lord don’t get me started….ReplyCancel

  • August 12, 2014 - 5:58 am

    Richard davy - From a fellow farmboy and writer, I love the concept you’ve come up with and the style of commentary you provide. You put the point across well. Keep up the good work. RReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2014 - 9:35 pm

    Selby - Snow is some kinda special magic isn’t it?!:)

    I agree if we want to eat meat then part of the responsibility of that is to understand the process & true cost of that decision & as part of that we need to make sure our kids understand too at an age appropriate level of explanation & experience.ReplyCancel

I’ve had a few people ask about the schedule for the weekend workshop in Wandawega, so I got myself organised and put one together. As per usual it’s all subject to confirmation especially in regards to sourcing the materials and livestock needed. It’s a jammed packed weekend of skills sharing. By the end of it I will have shared a great deal of what I apply in my daily life.

I remember once paying a few thousand dollars to learn Photoshop at a two day workshop. This workshop is much cheaper and the skills are real world applicable. And it’s Wandawega dudes. Come on! Have you seen this place?

I have 8 passes remaining. Email me if you have any questions.

Elkhorn, Wisconsin, 23rd-24th August.

DAY ONE – MEAT

The Morning Session
9am – 12pm (with tea break)
RABBIT & POULTRY

1. How to dispatch a chicken
2. Pluck skin and gut technics
3. Butchery, break down of different cuts and cooking techniques for game and home poultry
4. Cooking demo – Spanish Rabbit Slow cook – and Rabbit and Chorizo Burgers

Lunch
12:30 – 2pm
Rabbit and Chorizo Burgers

 

The Afternoon Session
2pm – 4pm (with tea break)
TROUT

1. Trout cleaning and basic filleting
3. Butterfly filleting
4. Preparing trout for cold smoking
5. Cold smoking Vs Hot smoking
6. Curing trout (Gravlax)
7. Lake visit for fly fishing casting
8. Setting yourself up for for fly fishing

Dinner
6:30pm
Spanish Rabbit Slow cook with matched wine

 

DAY TWO – BREAD, PASTA AND SALUMI

The Morning Session
9am – 12pm (with tea break)
FLOUR

1. Make your own sourdough starter
2. Get to know your starter. Its alive. How to keep it alive.
3. How to make a no-kneed sourdough loaf.
4. How to make Farfalle, Ravioli, Spaghetti, Fettichini to Paperdelle
5. How to make a pizza dough

Lunch
12:30 – 2pm
PIZZA & BEER with locally sourced ingredients

2pm – 4pm (with tea break)
SALUMI

1. How to cure a panchetta, roll it, rope it for dry cure
2. How to make your own Bacon
3. How to make chorizo
4. How to cure a leg of pork (Jamon/prosciutto)

Dinner
6:30pm
THE FINAL FEAST

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  • July 28, 2014 - 10:22 am

    Jeff - I think you may need an assistant for the fly casting. Good rates, very friendly.ReplyCancel

  • July 29, 2014 - 12:37 am

    Steal Away North - Hope you have someone shooting video.ReplyCancel

It’s something I would have only imagined in a dream. But it’s really happening.

A weekend of my workshops held at the magical place that is Camp Wandawega, Wisconsin. I’ve been wanting to organise a weekend workshop stateside for a while now but nothing seemed to come together until now. This time though everything is falling into place, thanks to Max Wastler and David and Tereasa from Camp Wandawega.

So here it is. A weekend of sharing a bunch of skills I use in my daily life, along with good food, great company and poking campfires. It’s a skill based weekend and they may be skills you want to introduce into your own daily life, or it may just be the experience you’re after. Either way, events like this don’t come up very often. A weekend at Camp Wandawega alone is worth it. The place is a magical fairyland of awesomeness.

So what will we be doing on this rad weekend?

Over the course of the weekend I will teach you how to :

Dispatch a rabbit or chicken (depends on what I can get my hands on)
Pluck, gut, skin and butcher small game
How to prepare trout for smoking and curing, fillet and de-bone
Cure pork; make bacon, prosciutto, pancetta and chorizo sausage
Secrets of sourdough bread, pasta’s and pizza bases

Accommodation at the Camp and all food is included.

Tickets are limited. First in best dressed.

Book Here

 

 

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  • July 15, 2014 - 5:22 am

    Michelle - Holy cow! That camp is freakin’ amazing! I love it! I”m moving in!

    What a great event.ReplyCancel

  • July 15, 2014 - 11:47 am

    Brenda - oh my that living room with those comfy chairs, fire and deer heads…I’m moving in! Looks amazing!!! Well done Ro! Your workshop in Aus were amazing….you’ll amaze the pants off our american counterparts for sure xReplyCancel

  • July 16, 2014 - 12:45 am

    James / 10E - A few hours drive from Chi-town. Hope some of your readers can make it. JReplyCancel

  • July 17, 2014 - 12:50 am

    meghanssj - Woah! This is exciting!! I live in Minnesota, and this sounds like a wonderful experience. I just sent a couple of questions through your website, but when I hit send, it said it was to the store. I just want to make sure they reach you. The midwest is wonderful, I’m glad you are coming here, and I am interested to take part!ReplyCancel

  • July 17, 2014 - 2:42 am

    Dad Berry - “Hello muddah, hello faddah
    Here I am at Camp Wandawega.”ReplyCancel

  • July 21, 2014 - 10:29 am

    Maurice - That workshop sounds excellent. My better half and I would be interested in the next local Victorian one with a similar agenda….
    Cheers, Maurice.ReplyCancel

  • July 26, 2014 - 9:54 am

    Dec - Hey Ro,

    I’d love to come along. If I do can we recreate the scene from my girl on the pier over the lake? I’ll be Macaulay Culkin

    DecReplyCancel

  • August 4, 2014 - 2:03 pm

    Whole Larder Love: Practiculture - […] is excited for Camp Wandawega […]ReplyCancel