Got Milk? Or Eggs? Or Pancakes?

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Tell me if this doesn’t sound like a perfect day:

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It’s from From Scratch, a new, free online magazine for current and wannabe homesteaders. If the magazine turns out to be anything like the photos they’ve been sharing on Facebook, then I’m really looking forward to the first issue!

I also want to share a recipe for grain-free pumpkin pancakes from Erin over at the Polyface Henhouse — I haven’t tried them yet, but I find it hard to imagine them being anything but delicious. I have several medium-sized heirloom pumpkins on the front porch that are waiting to be roasted and turned into purée. Add the eggs from our backyard, and I feel really good about feeding these to my family! Note that the recipe makes only one large serving — I will probably have to multiply the recipe at least three or four times for the sake of my boys.

Grain Free Pumpkin Pancakes:
Ingredients:
2 eggs
¼ cup pumpkin puree
⅛ tsp. cinnamon
dash of allspice
1/4 tsp. of vanilla
Coconut oil for the pan
Raw butter, raw honey, maple syrup, or fruit butter for serving
Instructions:
Warm a cast iron pan over medium high heat.
Whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla.
Add about a tablespoon of coconut oil to the hot pan and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan.
Use about two scant tablespoons of batter for each pancake. They flip best when the pancakes are small.
Cook until golden on the bottom and slightly opaque in the center and around the edges.
Flip, brown on the other side, and serve.
Makes about 8 small pancakes, for 1 large serving or 2 medium servings.

Speaking of cooking enough for my boys, I’m a little terrified to see how the addition of another one is going to affect our grocery budget in a couple of years! Hopefully by then we’ll have found some land and will be meeting more of our own needs with meat chickens and a couple of pigs, because right now, The Boy’s appetite seems to be multiplying every day! I’m still grateful, though, for the fact that the food he asks for in ever-increasing quantities is “real,” wholesome food.

My one remaining Easter Egger hen finally started laying this week — beautiful, light sage green eggs that are already impressively large. I’m really shocked it’s taken her this long, considering that she’s about nine months old and has “looked” productive since late summer. She’s a beautiful blue and red girl, and I’m really glad she’s decided to make herself useful, because otherwise she might have been destined for a pot pie. It would have made me very sad, too, because she used to be my little buddy — often when I opened the roof of the chicken tractor last spring, she would fly out, land on my shoulder, and ride around while I did my other chores. It would have been hard to eat that chicken.

For anyone in South Carolina who’s interested, there is a quiet attack beginning against the sale of raw milk and dairy products in this state. At this point, it’s just a proposal being considered by an advisory board of the South Carolina Farm Bureau, but depending on their response to the idea, it could become a threat to the right of South Carolinians to purchase raw dairy items. Personally, we don’t use raw milk — the Happy Cow milk we buy is pasteurized at low temperatures, and honestly, it’s so much richer than the grocery store milk I grew up on that I’m still learning to drink it. Raw milk would be way beyond me. But as long as people are aware of the small risks involved with consuming it, they should certainly have the right to do so.

I don’t believe that any foods should be banned — people have the right to make their own decisions without the government or anyone else interfering. Joel Salatin says something about the folly of seeking salvation through legislation when we should be focusing on educating and informing people about wise choices so that they’ll avoid the bad stuff on their own. So while I don’t want to see fast food outlawed, I do find it ridiculous that the government turns a blind eye to the parent who chooses to feed their child fast food three times a day, while the one who does serious research, weighs the benefits and risks, and chooses to purchase raw milk for their family’s use is losing that right in many states.

Most raw milk and dairy products come from small-scale farmers. These are the farmers who look their customers in the eye week after week and whose livelihoods depend on maintaining that relationship. To me, that kind of personal accountability is a much better motivator for them to maintain food quality and safety than a hundred regulations and government inspections.

Yes, there are problems with contaminants from time-to-time, and people get sick. But if the issue was only with raw milk (or organic produce, for that matter), then we wouldn’t see situations like the conventionally-grown, chemically-bathed bagged spinach and salad green recalls that we’ve been plagued with in recent years, not to mention the numerous peanut butter recalls and the ground glass in frozen vegetables.

My point is that anything we buy to feed to our families is basically bought on faith. Faith that everyone who touched that produce on its way to our shopping cart had washed their hands recently. Faith that all the equipment involved in the processing of those canned tomatoes was clean. Faith that every cow represented in that pack of hamburger was healthy on the day it died. And faith that the farmer who knows every one of his cows and customers by name is concerned enough with providing for his family that he will do everything in his power to make sure that the product you buy from him is the safest, highest quality product he can make.

People die in car accidents, get severe food poisoning from bad sushi, and develop cancer or liver disease from using tobacco and alcohol. And sometimes they get sick from drinking raw milk. There are risks and benefits involved with every choice we make, but that doesn’t mean we need someone else removing options or making the decision for us, no matter how well-intentioned and unbiased that person or agency might believe themselves to be.

So, we’ve talked about pumpkin pancakes, green eggs, and milk. And I think I’ve realized why I’m getting hungry…

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