Friday, August 17, 2018

Canning chicken, making cheese, soap, salves, sauerkraut and bows, and eating our hearts out

This year's homesteading and wilderness weekend retreat at our place was awesome. I know I say this every year, but every year there's such a different array of people. This time, we had two couples who celebrated their wedding anniversaries (we're talking decades of being married here!).

We also had a family of three fly in all the way from Texas, with their teenage daughter who's one of the brightest, most delightful kids I've ever met.

Here are all the "girls" after a weekend of working together in the kitchen and garden.

I can't tell you how rewarding it is to teach a group of really motivated people the stuff we know. They all soaked it up and jumped in with both feet (and hands).

Although our curriculum is pre-determined, there's a lot of wriggle room depending on what people want to learn. One participant wanted to know how to pressure can, so I taught them how to cut up and can several whole chickens (our own that we raised and slaughtered a couple of weeks ago). 

We canned several quarts of chicken meat, and since this is my newest obsession (canning meat, that is), I will write a tutorial about it soon so you you can do it, too. Talk about quick and easy meals!!!

Also not planned was teaching people how to peel chicken feet and use them for stock. They had fun, and the photo opts were priceless.

A big part of this weekend revolves around food. Making it, eating it, talking about it...

I taught them how to make Gouda cheese, which involves sampling all the different cheese I make, of course.

I'm telling you, nobody goes hungry at our house!

There are so many surprising elements that crop up during the weekend - things I take for granted, but mean so much to others.

Seeing the Dad and his daughter picking tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden for our dinner (Greek salad, baby!)....

Witnessing people's excitement about digging potatoes from the warm soil and acting like they found treasure...

Hearing shrieks of excitement when participants collected calendula and other flower seeds from our garden to take home with them...

I hate to admit it, but this time around, tasks were split pretty much down the gender line: women in the kitchen and garden, and guys out in the wood shop or forest.  

I have many guys take my food classes, and many women take Steve's wilderness courses, but this time, it just worked out to be more split along gender lines.

Since my dear husband sucks at remembering to take pictures, we don't have many photos of the guys making fire and shelter in the woods... but I did manage to snap some pictures of the bow making and archery segment.

Here's another lovely surprise: to see my kids stepping up with spontaneous teaching, like when our 13-year-old Luke explained at dinner (in graphic detail) how to slaughter and eviscerate chickens.

He had everyone's attention.

I LOOOOOVE feeding everyone. We do make massive amounts of fresh food for our retreats. Gotta keep the learners happy, you know. On that note, we also let people try our different kinds of home-made wines...

Okay, let's wrap this up and tell you other stuff we did. 

We made sauerkraut with cabbage people picked from the garden.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of our soap making and calendula salve brewing, but man, did we get a lot of those made!

People also learned basic goat raising skills, with my caprine friends living up to their reputation of eating everything in sight, namely note pads and coat zippers. Sorry for the badly lit photo in the barn.

Also: a spinning yearn lesson!

There you have it. Fun, fun, fun.

I think some lasting friendships have been forged on this weekend, some seeds have been sown in various brains and hearts, and lots of laughter was shared.

We love doing these retreats, and our participants love them as well!

If you want to get on the wait list for next year's retreat, sign up by clicking ---> HERE <---

Here's what one of this year's participants said:

"We, my husband and I, recently attended the 2018 Marblemount Homestead Retreat hosted by Steve & Corina Sahlin.  
What a pleasure it was to meet them and their children. It was also a novel way for us to celebrate our anniversary! 
We enjoyed ourselves immensely and they were impeccable hosts. 
The classes were fun, full of information and hands on instruction. What a blast!
The food, absolutely DELICIOUS!  Homemade, garden fresh food and the conversations shared throughout the weekend were so enjoyable. Making memories and forging new friendships ... priceless. 
All this in some of the most beautiful surroundings you’ll ever experience.  Should you decide to attend a Marblemount Homestead Retreat in the future I’m sure  you will not be disappointed.”

Harvey & Rhonda WelkerWashington State

If you want to get on the wait list for next year's retreat, sign up by clicking ---> HERE <---

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