February 4, 2011

Got My Grain Grinder Goin'

When I first showed you my new pantry, I mentioned that still on my to-do list, was to get my grain mill up and running. Mission accomplished!

We found a cabinet base to attach it to in one of the outbuildings. I took the doors off, scrubbed it down and painted it. It replaces the green island which I'm going to use in the kitchen.

At first I was concerned that the flywheel handle might stick out too much. Fortunately I still have plenty of room to get to the refrigerator and freezer on the right.

Mine is a Country Living Grain Mill purchased years ago in preparation for Y2K. ;) We used it daily for a number of years, actually until we moved to Florida, when it was packed away and remained so through two more moves.

My son used to do all the grinding when he was a teenager at home, but now that chore will fall mostly to me. Because of that, I treated myself to the Power Bar extension for the handle.

The power bar increases the leverage, turning the 12 inch cast iron flywheel into the equivalent of a 19 inch one. I can't tell you how much easier it makes the chore of grinding.

I can grind an entire hopperful of wheat berries at a slow steady pace without tiring or having to stop. That yields about a quart of fine flour. And happily, I still feel like I'm giving my arms a workout.

With the grain mill in operation again, I can now figure out how long 50 pounds of wheat berries will last us. I can take that information, plus what we learn from the yield of our pancake patch, and have a better idea of how much we'll need to plant for a year's worth of wheat. That doesn't count what we might feed to the chickens if we choose too, but it'll be a start.

Got My Grain Grinder Goin' © February 2011


-Heidi said...

I'm green with envy ~grin~ Congratulations on another item checked off the list!


Alla said...

I have been looking for a grain grinder (used), but doesn't look like I'm going to find one so will probably have to buy a new one. You are sure getting things done!

Doyu Shonin said...

We have both our grinders more or less permanently set up in the kitchen and can't live without them, but they are not as nice as yours! A Corona and a Universal. Mostly we make "cracked wheat" once through, with smaller amounts of other stuff such as barley, and some goes in the bread but most goes to hot cereal. LOVE the pantry.

Dani said...

Love your grinder - and your three door cupboard :-)

Planting wheat - now there's an idea :-)

Leigh said...

Heidi, oh that green. The cabinet did not turn out as hoped, LOL. Too bright. I'm not very good at choosing colors from a paint chip. Fortunately I got the color base on clearance. *grin

Alla, I got this one when it was about $100 cheaper. I was fortunate in that one year my dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday! This was what I asked for. :)

Risa, I used to have one of those kinds that are sold in seed catalogues for about $35. Who in the world can crank one of those things?!?!? Mr. America? From that experience I knew I wanted a good one. What I've got my eye on now though, is a grain roller!

Dani, I have a solar oven on my list too, LOL. That cabinet is actually a pair. They were left in the house! A real blessing for us.

Susan McShannon-Monteith said...

Fresh ground flour for pancakes... sounds yummy. What time is breakfast I'll bring the maple syrup harvested from a local maple farm.
Have a great weekend.

Diane Barnard said...

What impresses me most about this post is that you grow your own grain! It doesn't get more basic than that, eh?
I'm envious of your spacious pantry...very nice.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I had to sacrifice my kitchen counter and bolt mine down. It was getting dangerous. I wish I had a nice pantry like yours to bolt all the hand crank stuff too. I will be anxious to see how long 50# lasts too.

Theresa said...

How cool is that! God for you. I don't suppose that handle comes on and off easily? I always run into the handle on the Hollandia loom, but the Delta's is removable! Nice job on the pantry cabinets. Don't you just love it when people leave good stuff!

Mr. H. said...

That's a very nice grain grinder, we purchased a "Back To Basics" grinder a couple years ago and boy is it a lot of work...especially if I try to grind up corn. We have been contemplating getting an oil press to turn sunflower seeds and such in our own oil, I was wondering if you have ever used such a device and if so what you thought of it?

Leigh said...

Susan, I had forgotten how much better bread made from freshly ground flour tastes! You are so lucky to have local maple syrup! We have to import ours.

Starlighthill, better change that from "grow your own," to "learning to grow"! Still, I don't think wheat growing is as difficult as we thought it would be. Harvesting, threshing, and winnowing may be another story though. :)

Jane, I would have put ours in the kitchen too, except that I have hardly any counter space! At least not any where it wouldn't be in the way. I think 50# for just two of us will last quite a while. I remember when we prepared for Y2K, I bought hundreds of pounds for a family of four, which was way more than we actually needed.

Theresa I've figured out that as long as I leave the handle in a certain position, it's no problem. I'm thinking that if I'm ever able to have custom shelves built, I may try a different arrangement altogether. Fortunately, this works for the time being. :)

Mr. H, yes, I think most hand grinders are a booger-bear to use. The Country Living was supposed to be easier, but without the power bar I had to take several breaks to finish a hopperful of grain. I can't praise their power bar extension enough. It makes it a joy to grind.

I have no experience with oil presses, but Jane at Hard Work Homestead does! Check out her post here, The great homestead oil pressing project. My dream is for a grain roller. :)

Jennifer said...

This is great! I would love to have a grain mill, and definitely a manual one, but it is on hold until we move somewhere more permanent.

Joseph and Emma said...

We were fortunate to find a Country Living grain mill on Craigslist just before Christmas. It was a great deal, though still pricey, since it included a nut and bean auger and a second set of grinding plates -- plus she threw in the rolling cart it was sitting on for free.

We didn't really have the money set aside for it, but we ended up using some Christmas money we received and then counted it as our Christmas present to ourselves. Granted, it's lived in the garage for the last month, but you've inspired me to put it out and put it to use.

I love your pantry!

City Roots, Country Life

Nina said...

My mother had a grain grinder. It was a miserable tool: almost impossible to crank and made lousy flour. I'd love to be able to grind barley, oats and other grains, as well as crack them for breads. But, it's not in the budget right now, nor will there be space until we get the kitchen renovated. That cupboard unit at the back looks like awesome storage. very nice...

Benita said...

This is so cool! I've always wanted to do this.

So, how long, does it take to grind enough flower for bread?

luckybunny said...

Amazing, I'm in love with your pantry, what a great set up. Nothing like grinding your own!

Jane said...

The grinder is so nice, and so is the pantry,wish I had one of both. Looks like someone will be busy,but that's a good thing. I bet the pancakes will be great! Blessings jane

Leigh said...

Jennifer, permanent would help! Anytime I wanted to buy something before we moved here, Dan would say, "Remember that we have to move it." :)

Emma, it was probably well worth it to buy it when you found it. These mills are quite a bit more expensive now than when I got it. Especially with those additions. The grinding plates are expensive, $109 according to the 2010 catalog. I got it at a time when they offered either a free power bar or free corn & bean auger with purchase of the mill. I opted for the auger, though I've never used it. It's supposed to be good for coffee too! I should put it to good use though, when our corn crop comes in.

Nina I used to have one of those lousy ones too. What a chore! Nobody wanted to grind so it never got done. If I had to buy it now, I'd save up for a good quality one. The country living makes excellently find flour.

Benita, good question. I went and timed myself and found out that it takes my a tad under 5 minutes to grind one cup of flour.

Luckybunny, I feel very fortunate for the pantry. Not sure what we'd have done without it, managed somehow. It was an extra room, very handy to have!

Jane, anything made with freshly ground flour is tastier. I count both the pantry and the grinder as two of my blessings. :)

Sharon said...

Hubby and I got the very same one for Christmas. My, they're expensive! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to use mine yet as I've nowhere to clamp it down. It's on my to do list for February.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

We went down to the Amish area today and I found several used ones, but no good deals :( Bummer!

Someday I will have me one!!!

-Heidi said...

Ha! No, I really meant turning the color green with envy... because of your pantry and grain mill! Yep, I was coveting your grain mill! ~grin~... not commenting on the color of your pantry (which I think it quite nice, as my favorite color is green) lol!

Leigh said...

Sharon, yes, they are expensive and I was surprised at how much more so than when we got ours 12 years ago. They do require a good permanent spot! Not like other tools that can be put away until needed. Country Living really is top of the line though.

Diana, keep looking! I find that with patience, I can usually find what I'm looking for at a price I'm willing to pay. Of course, mine was a gift, which was a blessing indeed.

Heidi, LOL. The rooms were one of the things that sold us on the house. That and it's accompanying 5 acres. Perhaps though, if we'd known how busy the road was and how many hidden problems the house had, we wouldn't have fallen in love. But we're here, and I really do like the layout of the house.

Blue bird said...

It is fantastic the life you can lead in your "dream" place! I never knew about such a machine.
Good luck and happy exercise. Julia

Leigh said...

Thank you Julia!

Marie said...

Leigh, do you have to run it through the grinder more than once? Do you use an electric wheat grinder or only this one? Just asking, so when I do get a grinder one day I know what I want!!! :)

Leigh said...

Marie, only once. The Country Living grinds beautifully fine flour with soft, flattened bran. Makes lovely bread. I've never used an electric grinder, so I can't comment on those. A friend of mine had one though, and hers was noisy, which I didn't like. We got a hand mill specifically to not need electricity to operate it. I did a lot of research though and am happy with my choice. Oh! The owners manual gives instructions for hooking it up to a bicycle for bike powered grinding! Another option. :)