A couple weekends ago we celebrated the spring season with Karl’s family. His Grandparents came over to the big city from their small farming town a couple hours away. As usual we had a meal and talked farming with Grandpa. No one can talk farming like an 85-year-old farmer! (That’s him, above in the picture.)
Grandma and Grandpa are in their 80s and still farming. Every building that ever stood and every piece of equipment ever used on their land for the past 100 years is still there today. Their homestead is rich with history, and you can’t help but be reminded of years past when you’re there.
They were real homesteaders; still are.
A piece of flooring is removed in the kitchen to reveal a ladder down the root cellar. Which they still use. It houses the “spuds.” Every year they still plant a huge garden. And they pick acres of rocks by hand ever year.
A wood-burning stove is the heart of the dining room and heats the area where they spend most of their time. They use a hand-pumped kitchen sink. The outhouse is white and unassuming on the outside, painted bubble gum pink on the inside.
Last summer they put a new tin roof on one of the tractor sheds. By themselves. And Grandpa uses homemade ladders that are older than I am! They still do many things the traditional way, “the way that they’ve always been done.”
Some of the hardest working and sweetest people you’ll ever meet.
At the lunch table this past weekend we were talking about some of the foods they used to eat growing up on the farm. I just love hearing about this stuff; farming, pioneering and homesteading history just fascinates me- especially when it has to do with food!
Chopped onions are sautéed in a lot of lard until they are cooked through and nicely browned. Then the lard is set out to cool and solidify again and you’ve got yourself a lard-onion spread. And then, as the name suggests, it is slathered on bread.
Grandma and Grandpa followed the description of lard bread with: “nobody worried about cholesterol back then.”
Ha! My kind of people.
Of course they raised their own pigs and rendered the lard themselves. The bread was made from scratch too… Grandma’s bread from the wood burning oven is to die for.
An old German tradition that immigrated here with their families. I think Grandpa said that his Grandpa’s Grandpa ate this. They didn’t know if this dish had an english name, and they weren’t sure how to spell the German, but they called it “Klebasoup.”
By hand, Grandma mixes together 1/2 cup flour with some cold water until it is crumbly and then slowly adds it, along with a pinch of salt, to 1 cup of boiling water. Stirring nearly the whole time, the mixture is boiled until it thickens. The final touch is to add in some milk (however much you’d like) and serve it topped with a spoonful of sugar.
Traditionally this was served for breakfast, and “sometimes it was all they had.”
Grandpa: it’s good with a little sugar on top.
Grandma: a little?!?
Apparently grandpa likes a fair amount of sugar on his.
He grew up eating this and still eats it today. Grandma turned her nose up when talking about it and all but rolled her eyes at Grandpa’s fondness of boiled flour. But of course, she still fixes it for him anyways.
“We ate what we had,” Grandpa said.
Grandpa also threw in that they: “ate everything but the oink” when they butchered a pig!
I’m sure my ears perk up whenever they talk about the past- what life was like and how things were done on the farm. It captivates me, I think because a part of me longs to live that way.
Their stories are like nuggets of gold, being passed from one homesteader to another.