Monday, April 18, 2011

The Corn Crib

Once again our post is about something built using the free shipping pallets my husband and children pick up once a month from a mattress warehouse. As mentioned in previous posts, The Chicken Concern and The Little Homestead In The Valley, many of the boards are 8' long! We did have to purchase rafters and tin for the roof, but the other wood used for building this corn crib was from the free lumber collected.

One of our goals as a family is to eat healthier food, and the most economical way for us to do so seems to be by learning to grow more of it ourselves. Some relatives gave us a lot of heirloom seed corn last year, and we planted it along with sorghum. We hoped to get enough corn for our years worth of cornmeal, grits, and seed corn, and I believe we did. Next harvest we hope to have enough for our needs as well as for our chickens! We have a long way to *grow*, so we are trying to do and learn from others a little bit more each year.
Children picking some of the dried corn.
Jordan working on the field after all the corn and sorghum was harvested. The mounds you see on the ground are from the sorghum. It's supposed to be very good for putting around blueberry bushes.

Having some fun:)
Corn crib being built.
Field of corn and sorghum:)
Corn being put in the crib.
Sorghum seed heads under the corn crib shed. It will be collected for animal feed. The seeds can also be used for *popcorn* and flour!
The shed on the other side of the corn crib is where the sorghum pan is located. That is where the juice is cooked down to make syrup. It's nice having a covered area available.
Corn is stored in crib on the left. Fellas are cooking syrup in the pan. They've also cooked maple syrup in that pan. Because we're in the south, we really didn't think maple syrup was a possibility for us, but the children were encouraged to try and they ended up with three gallons last year and two gallons this year. It takes LOTS of sap to make maple syrup. We are very thankful for what we got and we have a new APPRECIATION for those of you who make syrup to sell. We had no idea it took so much sap to get a gallon of sweetness:) The sorghum provided more than enough syrup (240 quarts) for our years worth required for making our bread and other baked goods.

I'd like to end with a sample menu based on what we've been blessed with so far food wise and the impact on our food budget. I'm going to put an * next to the ingredients which are being produced here or could be in the future, Lord willing:)

Roast* or Chicken* with Root Vegetables*
Kale* sauteed in butter* or Green Beans*
Cornbread (cornmeal*, eggs*, milk*, oil, salt, and baking powder)

A meal that serves 15 people for the cost of the oil, salt, and baking powder can't be beat, the work required to do so is rewarding, it provides a shared goal which is good for the family, teaching/learning/spiritual application opportunities abound, it has a huge impact on our food budget, and the food just seems to taste better when our hands have labored. We're very motivated by this to learn all that we can, but it takes time.

We're grateful for the free pallets we've received thus far and the opportunity to re-purpose them into something new. We'd also love to receive some good recipes requiring corn meal. Do you have a favorite you'd like to share? Thanks for stopping by!



1 comment:

  1. oh I loved all the pictures, and hearing about what y'all are doing with your corn. I'm so happy to see someone that's doing this. Lord willing, someday if our house sells, and we can get some more land to grow lots of corn, we hope to do the same thing.

    That 'chicken concern" y'all built looks wonderful! What a blessing to have all that free lumber, praise the Lord! Our chicken coupe we thought to save money, and build ourselves ended up costing an "arm and a leg" in lumber. The next one... was made out of pvc pipe. Hahaa!

    God bless,