When hubby and I first decided to switch direction and move to a more self-sufficient lifestyle in the country, I began searching for other like-minded folks. My search lead me to a blog, written by a woman who lives here in Central Illinois. Immediately, I knew I would enjoy following Cecilia’s blog posts over at The Kitchens Garden. (If you’ve never visited The Kitchens Garden, I encourage you to hop over and follow along.)
I shared our desire to move to the country where we can raise our own food and Cecilia graciously invited us to take advantage of the space she has at her farmy, to begin raising some of our food. The invitation was so very appreciated and the excitement of organic, humanely raised meat one day gracing our table was exciting. We were being given the opportunity to experience just a small piece of the life we hope to one day live and we jumped at the opportunity.
After reading her blog for many, many months and then trading a few emails, we took a drive to meet Cecilia.
Having seen so many pictures of Cecilia’s home on The Kitchens Garden, I was sure I would recognize the house. Then, as we turned off the main road, I saw it. The farmy I had seen so many times in picture, was before my very eyes. I spotted the Barn Across the Way and felt my excitement grow.
As we pulled onto the lane, I was again assured we were at the farmy. Daisy, Queenie, the Bobbies and Marcel were grazing in the pasture. Mama and her crew were enjoying a sunny graze further back in the pasture. The Big Dog and Ton Ton greeted us as we pulled up in front of the house. Boo was by the barn barking excitedly upon our arrival.
Cecilia came to the car to welcome us and she was just as I had expected and more. A lovely woman who made us feel so very welcome at the farmy.
We were introduced to John, affectionately known as “Our John” on her blog and then we were off to meet our pig, Number Three.
We were told that he’s growing fast and is certainly bigger than his pen companion. He was more than happy to come see us and the girls were happy to give him some love and attention. We had brought some food scraps from home for him. It was just a little, but made me happy to know that we contributed just a little bit to his care.
As I expected, Naomi asked what his name was and when she discovered he had no name she promptly called him Sasha. Our attempts at teaching our girls to not name their food has been a complete failure. One day Sasha will grace our dinner plates and my hope is that Naomi will be happy to know that she provided Sasha with some love and attention, which is certain to make the meal even more tasty 🙂
We then moved into the barn to see the Red Pig and just a few steps further were Sheila and Poppy.
Poppy very kindly gave me a muddy smile.
And Sheila waited until we all moved outside before saying “cheese.”
Lili loves animals and seems to have a way with them. Boo absolutely enjoyed some Lili love.
Later Ton Ton got lots of attention and exercise as the girls threw toys and sticks for him to fetch.
Of course the girls fell head-over-hills for Tima. Being such a cute and personable little pig, how could one not love Tima.
We saw the baby chicks and ducks.
And the girls were able to experience their first time holding a baby chick.
We had a delicious lunch of homemade pizza and later Lili and I were able to churn butter!
I really can’t express how thrilled I was about churning butter and Lili, full of concentration, did the majority of the churning.
Cecilia was a wonderful teacher as she walked me thru the final steps.
As I listened and watched intently, I neglected to continue taking pictures of the process, but I’m sure I can remember to strain off the buttermilk (use for pancakes the next day), pour ice-cold water over the butter and using a wooden spatula, carefully push and separate the butter working the remaining buttermilk out of the butter. Continue rinsing with ice-cold water until there is no more creamy white water left. If desired, add a little Kosher salt, mold, wrap and refrigerate.
Now I want a dairy cow, a butter churn, and molds.
The girls collected eggs from the chickens, we met some newer farmy neighbors who stopped by and then met the Matriarch.
Four hours later we said our good-byes. We left with fresh eggs, butter that we churned, new friendships, and wonderful memories. A day that we very much-needed and I thank you Cecilia for your hospitality, the experiences, the wonderful food and the memories. We look forward to our next visit, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. And as Naomi said so eloquently, “Cecilia, your farm is amazing!!”