If you know anything at all about me, you know I love to cook. And that I love animals. And vintage things. And ways of life. So when I found out there was an opening in a local homemaking class that included all these things, well, Katie bar the door! You can have the bar scene, the dinners out with the girls, all that laying by the pool. No ma’am. You wanna hang with me, this is gonna be the perfect GNO (Girls Night Out)! Luckily, I have a bestie who just goes with my unusual flow and hops in for the ride. When I can get her out of the house, that is.
I’ve followed the Home Away from Home farm page for a while now. Every time I see the pics and posts about the monthly homemaking class, I ooh and aah over how much fun it must have been. When I see the pics of the pigs they raise, I’m done for. They raise Kune Kune pigs (and if you don’t know what that is, it is adorable pigs). All you need to know. Katrina Brown, the lady in charge of this far, along with her husband and completely ADORABLE kids have a good thing going on. She’s just a modern day girl choosing to live simply, and embracing everything around her, whether it be milking a cow, raising pigs or making homemade yogurt. And y’all. She just glows from it. Even though I had never met her, I knew who she was instantly when I walked into her home. I was like, “That’s her”. I only saw a tad of nervousness from her the entire night. And all it did was make her a little more endearing.
I’m going to attach her blog at the end of this post so all of you can read about her. She’s just fascinating. And kind. And well, we could all stand to be a little more like Katrina. Her kids say “Yes, ma’am” and “No, Ma’am” and sweet little Ax said “It was so nice to meet you, I hope I get to see you again”. If you know my partiality to little boys, you know at this point I was like “See that white Nissan over there?” “You can just go hop in the back seat and go home with me”. Then I thought about what I had to offer him at my house and knew within minutes of being there he would be demanding I return him. Sure, I have dogs. But not farm dogs. I got spoiled dogs. Not dogs that meander among baby pigs and big pigs without the slightest bit of aggravation. Nope, a PS4 and satellite TV can’t compete with what this family has going on. Yes, they have modern conveniences. Come on, she has a facebook page and a blog and a DELUXE Kitchanaid mixer (yes, I slobbered over it a little). But it’s obvious Katrina and her family march to the beat of a much simpler drum. I could see where folks might leave these classes feeling like they are lacking. I mean, she made homemade yogurt. And went into detail about the consistency that she liked vs what the kids liked and how she had found a happy medium. But the only way I can tell you I felt when I left was inspired. And blessed.
Now, I’m not so dumb that I think I’m gonna be making most of these things from now on. Naturally, I don’t have my own cow to milk. Nor do I have that handy dandy cream/milk separator gadget she has on the counter to pour her fresh milk into. (Chanda still hasn’t figured out the concept to that machine. The description of how it worked left her with a puzzled look on her face. Yet, she still dove into this class with enthusiasm. Initially, she said “I’m just going for the pigs”, but she ended up loving everything about it.) So, I’m afraid I’m out on the butter and yogurt made with fresh milk. But am I going to make my own mayonnaise again? And brown sugar? Sure will. I have each and every ingredient we used in my pantry. And my own Kitchenaid mixer, although it isn’t a deluxe model. But it was my Momma’s. We bought it for her the last Christmas she was with us. Every time I use it, I think of Yaya. Who embraced craftiness and a lifestyle like this like no one else I’ve ever met, until now. My Momma would have loved Katrina. She would have fit right in. My soap making, yo-yo quilt making, crotchet baby blanket making Momma would have loved everything about last night. She would have run her hand over that old cook stove and admired every cast iron skillet with awe. Not sure I have felt as close to Yaya as I did last night since her death 14 years ago. Mirror, mirror, on the wall. I am my mother’s child after all. And I couldn’t be prouder.
Katrina hosts a different homemaking class each month, free of charge. Each month a different topic, ranging from soap making, to herb drying, to candy making and quilting. Her classes, since held in her home, are of course space limited, and preference is given to repeat attenders (I think that’s me, now, y’all). She sets up a donation box near the door, and 100% of the money that goes into it is put back into supplies for future classes. The ladies attending pour in with smiles and homemade dishes and “Hey, how are you’s” and it turns into a good ole time of fellowship. I am totally ashamed to say that I didn’t do my research about the class and didn’t realize that you were supposed to bring a dish. Now if you know me at all, you know I was beyond mortified. If you tell me to bring something, I’m immediately on a 3 day pinterest search for THE perfect recipe, one that guarantees at least a few admiring glances. The food last night was beyond amazing. The homemade salsa/pico de gallo was my favorite, and Chanda’s was the pasta salad that had “just the best green onions I’ve ever had, I mean the BEST”, according to her. This is my one apology over my error. Next time (if they let me back in), it’s gonna be on like a chicken bone. Kimmie’s got homemade game and I’m bringing it with me!
Chanda and I were lucky enough to end up at the table with Martha and Cindy, a mother/daughter combo who blessed me more than they will ever know. Martha kept us all in line, made us laugh and took notes. Serious notes. Note to self: Be more like Martha at the next class. Martha made me not only miss my Momma, but to sit and reflect and remember her and appreciate her for the wonderful cook, Momma and Yaya that she was. Martha was alot like Momma, I could tell. Pretty sure I forgot to tell Martha last night, but thank you for inviting the two oddballs to your table bc as you said, “There are only 2 of us over here, and we can share our mixer”. God don’t make mistakes. And he puts us right where we need to be and are meant to be, even in a room full of ladies making homemade mayo. All the Martha Mommas out there take a second and take a bow. You’re a rare bird in today’s world. You and Katrina.
Here are the things we made hands on last night:
We took home a homemade chocolate sauce Katrina made that we didn’t have time to get into, and also the recipes for everything plus a few more.
I went home (well, I mean to Granny O’s bc it was my night to stay) all smiles and needing to tell everyone in my path how much fun I had. Granny O’s caretaker Tammy and my husband got the honors. I went on and on about what we made, about the dog named Annie who looks like Shine (“Look, Tracy, it’s a baby Shiner!!) and the pigs and the kids and their manners, and the creme separator and the pigs and the good food we ate and the pigs. Did I mention there were pigs? Just making sure. The runt took a liking to me and the feeling was mutual. Once I picked it up, it kept following me around, so I picked it up again. Phoenix dashed my excitement when he came around the corner and said “Oh, be careful with that one, it likes to poo and pee on you”. Talk about dulling my shine. One quick kiss and I put the pig down. Let’s get real. Did anyone think I was gonna go out here and not kiss a baby pig? I think not.
It’s safe to say a good time was had by all. I highly suggest reading Katrina’s blog and learning more about her and her little farm. I was a tad dismayed last night bc Chanda hadn’t read any of it, and she just didn’t have ANY IDEA about the story of how God sent Katrina a dairy cow, and really, how could she appreciate the fresh milk if she didn’t understand that GOD HAD SENT KATRINA THAT COW. Y’all, it’s exhausting to be me sometimes. I have all these ideas, and plans, and passions that it’s hard to slow down and enjoy the simple things sometimes. Thank you, Katrina for a night that let me do just that.