Why is a wake called a wake – all tip toeing about in case they WAKE the dead.

The full moon is high in the morning sky. And being Saturday I gave myself a little more shut eye.

I am going to quickly go and shape the bread and set the loaves (are they loaves before they are baked or just balls of dough) into the baskets for the second rise then I will be back. The second rise is the important one. Bread cannot be hurried.

Stand by!

Today the spring Uglies are arriving. I have s friend who breeds show Herefords. All indoor etc. The pretty ones sell for heaps so people can show them and I take a few of the ones who were not born with the right markings. They all come to the same end just mine spend their short lives out in the fields.

I am trying to use the pigs to eradicate some of those nasty thistles that I have in the fields so I am creating a more intensive grazing ( and digging) cycle for them. They are those short thistles that send millions of underground roots outwards. I hope it works – the thistles are growing thick and fast this year.

The Uglies will lead the charge.

Talking of charge the wind was fiercely strong yesterday and when I got home from work Del ( a very pregnant Ayrshire milk cow) was pig jumping around in circles – they were on the West Bank surrounded in that rather dubious electric fence and she was throwing her head around and racing back and forth, spinning in tight circles, charging up and down- quite driven mad by the wind.

I called her in and she turned and galloped straight at me – her head high and wild like a racehorse about to bolt.

I brought them both up to the concrete pad and locked them up there. Poor Del. She had quite lost her head.

We lost a tree at the West Barn in the big winds yesterday. You can see why. This image was taken through the filthy cooking oil car windscreen. I kind of like it filthy.

Well, I had better get going and get the new pig field ready for the thistle-eaters. I think I will sleep them in that big calf hut – stuffed with straw if will be lovely and warm.

Maybe this morning was our last frosty morning? It is still pretty breezy though.

For those of you who asked: here is the website for the mill. https://www.themillatjaniesfarm.com/ any orders you make will come straight to me – isn’t that neat!

Today I am baking bread with Wabash and Chicago flours. Yesterday John made a pizza base with Iroquois flour. I will get you his recipe – it had some of our cornmeal in there too!

The owner of the mill is working closely with the people who are resurrecting and trial growing some really ancient grains – I think we will be growing some of them in the fields around here this year so I should have the flour in my mill pantry by fall I think. Standby for more information on that. Exciting stuff!!

I hope you have a lovely day. I will make sure to collect lots of pictures for you today.


70 Comments on “WHY WAKE?

  1. Is that an elm tree? We just paid a premium to have some trees taken down around the rock house that we recently acquired (my mother-in-law passed away last month). She’d let them grow up against the house, creating a bad situation – especially with these wild, spring storms we tend to have move through. Elms are bad for coming down in a storm, and they’re messy to boot. We burn downed wood when the conditions are right. What do you do with the debris from a wrecked tree?

    • Yes – Dutch Elm. We have quite a few of them and they are dropping in all directions. We just take what we can for firewood ( though it is not considered good firewood) I use some of the bigger branches in the gardens and the rest go on the burn pile.

      • We lose a lot of elms too, they seem to get to a certain size and then croak. If they’re taken down soon after they die they burn quite nicely. The longer they stand dead the more water they take up and turn punky. Then there’s always the possibility of morel mushrooms around the dead elms.

  2. I’m grateful you and the cooking oil car were no closer to that tree when it came down… As for Wakes, I *think* they’re called that because in the old days people used to watch round the clock with the newly dead, staying awake in the wee small hours – not an enviable job. Perhaps they were making sure the person was really dead… It’s evolved into the name for the slight jollity after the funeral, a time to remember the dearly departed. I’ve been to a few fairly raucous ones, where the person left strict instructions about food, drink, music – and enjoyment!
    I do wish I could feel your dough and smell it and taste the finished result. Bread making is so much about feel.

      • That was my John’s wish also, after the funeral mass and burial we retired to a local pub and fed some 150 people with a typical Wisconsin fish fry, with, of course, a keg of Wisconsin’s Spotted Cow beer. John loved his fish fries, I think he would’ve approved.

  3. Super windy down here too! Gosh, I’m not a big pizza eater, but Our John’s pizza looks absolutely delicious!!!
    Oh, the mama duck sitting the nest that you suggested I cover so the giant males couldn’t stomp around on her…, well, after sitting the nest for almost 7 weeks, hatched out 13 ducklings!!! We had really just about given up on her, and were going to get rid of the eggs this weekend, as my research said ducks hatched out in a month! So, we were delighted to see her 13 babies!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • I am not sure what a snake shift pen is Celi. But, she has them out and they are all staying close to her. So all day they roam around with her, and at night they go back in to the duck area that has a house and shelter. When I let them out this morning the ducklings were zipping around among the other big ducks, so it looks like all is well. 🤞🤞

  4. I think I read somewhere that a wake was called that they wanted to make sure the people they were burying were really dead. Not in a coma or something — also why the concept of having bell built into coffins during epidemics. My brother calls it show and tell – dress dead up and tell stories about them. He is pretty close to the truth there.
    I like calling the new pigs the “thistle eaters” rather than “the uglies” — I have never met a piglet that wasn’t adorable!
    Supposed to be 71 here today in SE Mn — glad to see spring coming.

  5. look on del’s back for small lumps, that may be warbles, bott fly larva, they eat their way out of cows backs when weather warms up, driving cows crazy.
    I don’t know of any organic treatment for them

  6. The wind makes the goats crazy, too. It seems to wind them up into a frenzy. Not good for Del, though! Although Ron’s comment about the bott fly larvae is kinda creepy. Hope it’s not that!

  7. I was 70 before I learned it’s the wind that keeps the clouds from falling.

  8. Hope Aunty Del is ok. Ah, more Plonkers for us to ooh and ah over. Laura

  9. I thought of you the other day when I was grubbing up a bunch of thistle with my garden weasel (not to be confused with the Bastard Mink). They send their roots to the other side of the earth, those things. I hope the pigs can get them out for you!

  10. I’ve known a few people (my sister, for one) who absolutely cannot tolerate the wind. It drives the bonkers, changes their personality in that they become agitated, nervous, short-tempered. No fun for them! Yay for the Uglies and yay for the thistle eaters! ‘Wot a luvly bunch o’ bananas!’ Sorry – song just popped into my head! Our John’s oizza looks fantastic!

    • I quite like how the wind make my hair look. Wind does amazing things to long curly hair as long as you keep working INTO the wind. Wind from behind is not so good for the hair.

  11. This IS exciting about all the flours! Poor Aunty Del. I love that pigs and goats eat thistles! Sorry about that tree – always sad to a tree go down.

  12. If you have a spot that would benef6, you can either use soft, punky dead wood in the bottom of a low spot or to aid in building a small rise. You cover it with soil and compost and then plant on top of it. The wood acts like a giant sponge slowly releasing the water as needed. I would recommend looking up huglekulture if you are interested for a much better description. I

    • Yes! Wonderful – I did not realize this was a thing – I often put old fallen branches and logs in my deep gardens to rot in their own time. Good idea to help make a mound – everything is so flat here.

  13. Wake originally came from the old Norse ‘vaka’ and then morphed….as these words did…..in Old English, into wake, but the meaning was the same, to be watchful or keep vigil. And the bell in the coffin is where we get the expressions ‘dead ringer’ and ‘saved by the bell’.

  14. I made some homemade buns the other day, a recipe I was planning on throwing away but hadn’t done it yet. The buns were hard and didn’t rise properly at all. But I made a new batch today with a different recipe, much better. Isn’t the smell of bread baking the best.

  15. I’m very much in favour of growing old traditional grains instead of hybrids which may be the root of allergies…
    The weather here is inclement, while the UK, is apparently, basking in sunshine. I have, accordingly, been making a hot lentil and chorizo stew to sell to the Catalans tomorrow.

  16. Do wish I was within the sending area of your mill ! Spelt and rye would be on immediate order and . . . I never buy store-bought pizza or frozen from the supermarket but the one John made from the Iroquois flour + its moreish , healthy topping appeal no end. And here is the ignorant urban gal talking again: all the thistles I have met sting – don’t yours . . .how come the piggie snouts don’t get hurt . . . lovely if you have some interested gardeners there tho’ 🙂 ! . . . our Easter will soon be over but do hope you are enjoying yours . . .

  17. At Meuer Farm along the east side of Lake Winnebago they grow and mill some interesting ancient grains including spelt, einkorn and emmer. I have used the emmer in bread and it’s really tasty. I did just order some durum from them for my thin pizza crust. It’s so nice to find local sources for this good stuff.

      • I’ve also heard that much of the problems that people have with gluten is because the wheat isn’t like it used to be, that it’s been hybridized or modified into a whole different thing. An interesting item is that some forms were hybridized to not grow as tall so it wouldn’t be as apt to get flattened in a storm but the same gene that determined above ground height also determined root depth so the roots don’t go down deep enough to pull up the good minerals so it’s not as nutritious any more.

        • And apparently in NZ, there are people who have no problem eating bread overseas, but get all sorts of problems when they eat it in NZ. It’s a big enough problem that they are launching a study into what the difference is, whether it is the type of grain, or something in the manufacturing process that is causing problems. I need to look around to see if I can find some of these ancient grains out here. I’ve never made much bread before, but reading about all your different types of grains is piquing my interest!

        • Aye Sherry – and you can test this when cutting your lawn – the taller the plant is allowed to grow, the deeper Grasses’ roots will go; )

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