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When you are burning anywhere from two to three thousand calories in a day, a big breakfast is a must. Where would one be burning so much energy? On the farm, of course! I am 100% sure that farmers do not have Fitbits or monitor their caloric intake in any way, because every action you take on the farm is work. Every single move exerts energy in the most prolific way.
So after cooking up bruschetta poached eggs on a bed of sauted vegetables and melted mozzarella cheese, broiling a bed of pre-cooked potatoes with a liberal coating of pepper and pesto, and slurping back a cuppa honey and cream laden cowboy coffee, we are fueled like a well oiled tractor, ready to start our day.
It is only 10:30 and I haven’t really started my hard work for the day (to start, my plan is to move the rest of the scrap wood from the “smores building” over to the massive burn pile that will keep us occupied for the winter) but I have already knocked off 4464 steps. By the end of the day, it’ll be well over 20,000.
When I am out here I can’t help but think of my dad’s fantastic sister, my Auntie Mary and her true whiskey drinkin’, snuff spittin’ cowboy boot laden, yodelling husband; my Uncle Henry. To me, he was the kind of cowboy that should have ended up on the front covered of the National Geographic with creased, leathery skin and dirt filled pores. Just last night I was talking about going out to the field with him while he was doing the horrendous job of de-horning the bulls. I brought the story up after reading a chapter on raising cattle in a homesteading magazine and decided that rubber bands and testicles is a shudder-worthy concept that I will never explore. I won’t have cows, for sure. Fortunately, I never saw Uncle Henry walking around with rubber bands.
But in the morning, before my Uncle Henry and his gaggle of cowboys headed out into the pastures, my Auntie Mary always laid out her incredibly fantastic spread of food to fill up the cowboys for the day. When we visited, she doubled up on the meal and we got to indulge too. Lucky us!
Auntie Mary had her own version of a bush farm breakfast. No pesto, no honey, just straight up farm eggs, real back bacon, fresh bread toasted to perfection with butter and not one prairie oyster. I can picture her in her black and white checkerboard floored kitchen, spatula in hand, making sure everyone was topped up, muttering “cha-kiy, cha-kiy” (it’s the Ukrainian version of saying “wait, wait” in English) if Uncle Henry was a bit too demanding of her thick coffee.
And I can definitely understand the importance of having such a big breakfast now. There’s nothing worse that feeling hangry half way through a big job. That’s where Brad and I differ in our eating habits. He might as well have written the book on the “snake diet”. He’ll go all day without eating, and get down to consumption of his daily caloric requirements in one sitting, or throughout a 4 hour period in the evening in a weird grazing ritual. I on the other hand, in my Ukrainian-ness, like to eat constantly.
Now we both eat on a more regular schedule, and enjoy having a bush farm breakfast together almost every morning when we’re out at the farm. Admittedly, it’s more of a special treat here in Red Lake. We just live a different lifestyle “in town”.
If you went to my Auntie Mary and Uncle Henry’s at any time of day (I have tested this over the years), she would be ready with a large spread of food. And I’m not just talking a pickle and cold cuts spread. I’m talking perogies, chicken drums (breaded no less), cabbage rolls, pickles and beets, ham, cheeses, fresh buns, perfectly spreadable butter….the whole nine yards. It was a full course meal in minutes right in front of you. It truly was amazing. That woman could cook. I know that Auntie Mary would have been proud of my bush farm breakfast. I just know it.
So it feels good to be out at the farm, sans cows, connecting to my beautiful extended family, who may not be with me, but truly are in spirit, and in the best way possible; through our appetite.
f you’d like a copy of my bush farm breakfast recipe, head over to my free resource library and print it out for yourself to enjoy with your family this weekend!
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