Friday, April 2, 2021

A Memory from Long, Long Ago

This morning I read the recent blog post of tpals, a blogger I enjoy reading.  Within the post were included a few pictures, one showing her wood stove and some surrounding buckets of water.

Memories of buckets of water next to our wood stove when we first moved up here to northern Minnesota sprang to mind.
For several years, we lived in an old tin can of a mobile home that had minimal to non-existent insulation, and we came close (I'm sure) to freezing in the winter time.
At the time we had more animals than we had sense.  Three horses, a donkey, two dairy goats, a buck, a flock of chickens, one huge Bouvier dog and one very old Cocker Spaniel comprised our menagerie.
We had no running water or electricity.
Our water came from a hand dug well that dated from the time the land was first settled in the early 1900s.  And, boy howdy, was that water cold.  We boiled it before using it for our household water and in the winter time brought buckets of water inside to be placed by the wood stove in the hopes of warming it a bit before giving it to the animals.
One day I had the usual umpteen buckets on the floor next to the stove and had put two loaves of bread to rise balanced rather precariously on a stool also next to the stove.
Something shifted and one of the pans of bread did a header smack into one of the buckets of livestock water.
Without a moment's hesitation, I snatched that pan of bread with the loaf still in it out of the pail of water, tipped it so the water ran out while holding the loaf of dough securely in the pan so it stayed put.
You can bet that after I had rescued and resuscitated that drowning loaf, I gave serious thought as to whether it would still be fit to eat.  But, I reasoned, I had just that morning scrubbed out all the animals' water buckets and the water in them looked sparkling clean.  Frigidly cold, but clean. 
So I set the pan of bread back in its place (a bit more securely) where it could finish rising.
Funny how I can still remember, all these forty-some years later, exactly what recipe of bread that was (Corn Meal Muffin Bread) and how wonderfully it rose and baked up.
Now, after I've told this tale, I have no doubt that should any of you have the chance to be offered a slice of my homemade bread, you would kindly demur.  
I understand.  


SmartAlex said...

I figure anything that is going into the oven is going to be sanitized. This covers a lot of territory for household mishaps.

Katie C. said...

I agree with SmartAlex. Plus how many times have you seen people drop something on the floor and then pick it up and eat it?!

Bread recipe?

Happy Easter a little early!

wyomingheart said...

What a perfect story! Funny what we remember! Happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

Mama Pea,
I so love your stories of how you got started in homesteading!!! You cleverly developed your "tin can" into a warm and cozy home with conveniences. You and Papa are greatly admired for your grit, ingenuity, perserverence and homestead ethic. We benefit from you!-M

Shepherdess55 said...

SmartAlix said it well. My corollary is that we need to keep our immune systems challenged so they work as needed.

BTDT with carrying water for livestock. We did it every winter for 13 years at our first homestead because the water line to the shed went under the driveway and would freeze up. Three times a day to keep up with the needs of 2 rams, 25 ewes and their lambs.

Please share your Corn Meal Muffin Bread recipe. said...

What adventures you've had!! Never a dull moment! I've had a few of those days. I guess everyone has one time or other. You and Yours have a wonderful Easter!!! xo

Cockeyed Jo said...

Waste not, want not. Bet it was good. Happy Easter!

Mama Pea said...

SmartAlex - Sounds good to me! ;o)

Katie C. - Yeah, I know, but I still have trouble eating something that has dropped onto the floor. Especially my floor! ;o) I haven't made that particular bread recipe in years and when I went to look for it . . . I CAN'T find it! I can picture it. It was written on a yellow index card and in my recipe box, but it's not there now! Is this old age setting in or did I misfile it or . . . I'll keep looking but I really don't know what happened to it. :o( Happy Easter to you, too.

wyomingheart - It was one of those things that has, for some reason, stuck in my memory. Happy Easter to you and yours!

Hi, M! You are much, much too kind, my friend. You know they say necessity is the mother of invention and our first home in the county had a lot of necessity!! :o)

Shepherdess55 - Can you believe, looking back on it all now, what we all did on a daily basis? We did it because it needed to be done and we're probably better people for it, right? I agree with you very much in that living in a bubble (!) doesn't do our immune systems one bit of good. Please note my comment to Katie C. above regarding the bread recipe. :o( Sorry.

linnellnickerson - Yes, we've had a lot of adventures, some of which we'd like to forget! But as I said above, there's nothing wrong with hard work (if we remain sensible about it . . . which I'm afraid we haven't always done) to build muscles and fortitude. Both of which is coming in handy these days! Happy Easter!

Cockeyed Jo - I've "made do" with what I had on hand for many years. Mostly because our finances didn't allow otherwise! Now when we're in better shape I still find it hard to spend money without thinking about it six ways to Sunday. Maybe that's not such a bad thing though, eh? :o)

Leigh said...

Loved this story; I would have done the same thing!

Katie C. said...

We have a bread recipe that tastes like English muffins. Is that it?

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - We've gotta keep our priorities straight! ;o)

Katie C. - Except my recipe (my MIA recipe) calls for the addition of cornmeal and which makes the finished product come out a nice golden color with a hint of the cornmeal flavor. But, yes, the texture resembles English muffins rather than a regular bread.

Connie said...

I love your memory/story! Definitely an event to get planted in one's memory! My husband loves homemade bread and I'm trying to find a good day to try making him some. I haven't baked bread in decades and wasn't very good at it but I'm willing to try again. Wishing you a happy Easter.

Katie C. said...

Look on the King Arthur flour web site for English Muffin Toasting bread recipe. It’s really good 😋

Goatldi said...

I think that’s the coolest story I’ve heard in a long time. You know everybody’s so afraid of eating something or touching something or drinking something or inhaling from the air from somebody 20 feet away it is refreshing to hear a really practical story but what amazes me is it still took a rise and baked that is just very cool. Good job MP!

Mama Pea said...

Connie - Thanks! Hope you do give baking bread a try. A delicious, nutritious wholesome homemade loaf (or two) is very satisfying to the baker. (That would be you!) Over the years, I've found some recipes work for me and some that don't so don't be discouraged if you have a failure or two. Just dive into that dough!

Katie C. - Thanks, Katie. I'll do that! :o)

Goatldi - I truly grabbed the pan and loaf out of the bucket so quickly I don't think the dough had time to absorb more than a light coating of water . . . which must have evaporated. Must have! You're so right, there are a lot of bacteria floating around out there, but many of them are GOOD bacteria and if one has a healthy immune system, no problem. Remember how we used to say each baby/toddler/kid had to eat a certain amount of dirt before growing up big and strong? ;o)