Exploring Our Farmhouse Kitchen

We have always had grand plans for our later lives. We wanted to become comfortably self-employed. We wanted a reliable investment of assets for our children's futures. We wanted to reduce our consumption and be happy with life. We are getting there, with a solid plan that adjusts as the seasons pass. One constant has been our desire to feed our tribe from our own efforts- we raise meat chickens alongside egg chickens, grow rotating seasonal vegetables in our small garden plot and are now looking at the possibility of fattening pork in the spring. All of this food compliments our lifestyle, and with such a bounty, we felt the need to consciously begin exploring our farmhouse kitchen to discover what we haven't as of yet.

Our southern New Hampshire homestead is an open concept three bedroom with 3 and a half baths. We are on a solid solar panel system for power with a diesel generator for backup. Our water comes from a 650 foot well driven in a delicious and healthy aquifer, and our heat derives from an efficient primary wood stove that burns 2.5-3 cords a season, with a 99% efficient pellet stove backup in the basement. We have a propane tank as well for our LP clothes dryer and two ovens. Needless to say, we're where we have always wanted to be- self-sufficient, out of the revolving credit system and learning more and more each day.

Exploring Our Farmhouse Kitchen

It seemed that re-organizing ourselves from a larger cape in the city to our new farmhouse meant we had to lose a few things from our 'things' list. A great many of those 'things' came from our kitchen, where we had too many cookie sheets, a large collection of fiesta ware, more drinking glasses than conceivable for six people and a great deal more. We are still removing the unnecessary from our lives, and it meant that our farmhouse kitchen was going to not only be new to us, but requiring a new approach to how we stored, prepared and ate our food.

Farmhouse Kitchen

As an open concept, our farmhouse kitchen catches the dog leg of the living and dining room space. As we face the lake from this side of the house, much of the wall space is dedicated to large windows rather than cabinet space. We have no real room for the things we don't need and that has been a blessing. We have a double-door HE refrigerator with ice and water, an HE dishwasher, a single but large basin sink and a propane stove topped with a microwave. In between each are the cabinets, dedicated to spices, dry goods, a separate cabinet just for baking supplies and the usual suspects of clutter such as dipping bowls, a sushi-making kit, blender, old college shot glasses and similar sundries.

Fortunately, our basement is fully finished with a bachelor's kitchen with fridge, stove and sink, so we can allow some food storage overflow in there, as well as a large box freezer tucked away in the solar array battery room. It is in this bad boy where we keep our processed chicken and pork. We built simple pine board shelves in there as well for our home brewing set-up, canning supplies, rotisserie cooker, slow cooker and pressure cooker. Any essential large items have found a home in the battery room.

Farmhouse Menu

The biggest and best part of our homestead principles comes from feeding ourselves with what we grow ourselves. We have always kept a vegetable garden, then a few years ago we keyed in on egg hens. This fall, we added a successful meat chicken experiment into our plans and needed up processing 20 hens and cocks with an average poundage of 4.5 pounds each, and a cost of about $2 a pound through scraps, supplemental scratch and some free ranging. Next year, our farmhouse menu will include our own pork as a conceptual replacement for the pet Nigerians drives we keep talking ourselves in-and-out of.

The great thing about out farmhouse kitchen garden is that aside from the garlic we planted before first frost, it is a blank slate. With the move we were able to adjust our approach to a food-plot garden to enhance our farmhouse menu. Before, we had little full sun, relying on tested shade tolerant veggies and fruits that limited what we brought to the table. Now, the garden lies lies beneath our twin solar arrays in a full-sun 30x50 deer-fence enclosed paradise of potential. Greens, lettuces, herb pots and the sowing of the beans will be the foundation of our rotating, seasonal garden.

Farmhouse Restaurant

It took us years to not only come to the understanding of what our perfect farmhouse would look like but also to find one. Karma and the universe conspired to bring our family to this land and we are eternally grateful. We have years to look forward to and amazing neighbors who have helped make our gathering place more like a farmhouse restaurant with new ways to reduce our waste while at the same time increasing our repayment to the earth. Our farmhouse kitchen is a critical element of the plan, not only through the nourishment of the food we grow and share but also of the center of family life it has become.

We really do love sharing our life off grid and would love to hear from you about exploring your own farmhouse kitchen. Please join the conversation in the comments below!