Robin, my host mother, has the kitchen stockpile similar to my mother, expect maybe better. I have described it as being like walking into a natural foods store. Mostly organic and most things purchased in bulk all kept neatly in assorted jars and plastic containers. It makes me very happy to take part in the cooking and baking here. Because they raise their own sheep the main meat item around here is lamb, which is great because it is grass fed meat making it quite lean and good for you. Tonight we actually ate mutton liver from a 6 year old ram. I wouldn't say it was my favorite, but I think my father might be jealous of the liver and onions on our table tonight. Obviously we eat tons of veggies, straight out of the garden in all their goodness. The milk in our fridge is also goats milk from a local friend; it's quite tasty! We've been picking apples from all over lately, making applesauce, apples muffins, and apple butter. Today we picked crabapples for the first experiment with crabapple wine. The crabapples are so prolific and taste really great just popping them in the mouth. Bite size apples! The weekend concluded with several creations from elderberries. Harvested from the wild, seven people worked to pick and separate seven pounds of them that went into elderberry syrup and an elderberry pie. The pie was a first for several reasons for me. First time using elderberries and a first time making pie crust with coconut oil. It turned out really great.
Sunday I went with Julie over to the Strawbale Studio (http://www.strawbalestudio.org/), another site that hosts wwoofers for a workshop on felt. My image of felt before has been confined to the 9x12 colorful sheets at Hobby Lobby or perhaps the bolt of felt that I once made a poodle skirt out of. My new mental image of felt includes the process of taking wool, we used raw unclean wool basically right off the sheep, and transforming it into an amazing creation of fibers so naturally woven together into a piece of beauty. Basically it gets fluffed up, laid down on a mat, rolled up in a log fashion, and then beaten around so the fibers adhere together. You pretty much have to see it to comprehend the process, but it was amazing to take part in.
Deanne at the Strawbale Studio hosts once a month full moon potlucks. Last week I thought I encountered the best potluck ever, but I think this one might have outdone it, maybe, it's close. This group of like-minded people came together bringing their food for a glorious feast. As each person described their contribution, most of them were locally grown, produced and organic. Almost half of the table was desserts with two elderberry pies, gingerbread apple pie, peach cobbler, chocolate goodness. There was local venison stew, homemade gnocchi, homemade tamales, vegetable stew galore, sauerkraut with kielbasa, and so much more. One of the best parts was having 50+ people all in the kitchen of this house, trying to move around the table of food and failing miserably with the moving part. There were so many people we were literally all stuck in place going nowhere. Anyway it was super fun to chat with different people all passionate about quality local foods and sharing life together learning from each other. I think maybe I want to be a professional potluck host.....now I just have to find a really great person passionate about doing dishes.