The Best Breakfast…EVER!

I love fall. It’s my favorite season of the year. No really. The bugs are over. My second and third favorite seasons are coming up… winter and spring… and Thanksgiving here in Canada is over and so that means … yup…. the Most Wonderful Time of the Year will soon be here!

I used to see those cheesy posters that hung in bedrooms with the “Live Every Day as if it’s your Last” slogans. Now we’re inundated with them on Facebook instead. And it’s sooo easy to read those things and say, “Ya, I’m going to do that! Today!” And then an hour later be whining about something and spend the rest of the day brooding and miserable.

But once the weather gets cooler I find I start really enjoying every day. I love cold weather. How Canadian, eh? I do not like being hot, which makes running a CSA where I work in the sun all day just a stupid proposition. But I do love growing food and in the fall I really enjoy putting potatoes and onions and garlic and sweet potatoes and squash away for the winter. As I harvested potatoes this year there were 3 grades. Grade A Number 1 were for our CSA members. They were the prettiest and the best size and shape. Grade B were not quite good enough for paying members, but they are fine for us, so they end up in our root cellar. Grade C potatoes are for our chickens. These are the really ugly ones and small ones, which I could peel and eat, but it’s just too much work because they’re so small and with the volume I have it would be days worth of work.

Which brings me back to my favorite part of this season … the woodstove! The heat it throws off. How I provide my own fuel. How it’s the center of our home and the universe for so much of the year. It serves so many purposes from heat to hot water to food preparation. And that outdoorsy smell. There is nothing as comforting as working outside and smelling wood smoke and knowing that at the end of the day your home will be toasty warm from your own physical labor. Sorry to drone on, but really, I love my woodstove. I hazard to guess that many urban dwellers do not share the same connection with their natural gas powered furnaces, which is a pity.

Now that we are using our woodstove I can cook up those Grade C potatoes for the chickens. They’re still getting lots of broccoli plant leaves and other greens from the garden, but they do like some variation in their breakfast meal and potatoes provide that. In the summer we tend to give them large flake oats and ripe bananas that we buy at a reduced price. Our climate has not warmed enough to grow bananas (yet) but we grow marvelous potatoes and the ladies love them. I grew them in my soil from my seed stock (last year’s saved potatoes). I cook them on my woodstove with wood that I cut. The ladies will provide me with awesome eggs to have the energy to cut more firewood and their manure and straw from the coop will end up back on the potato field as fertilizer. Makes me want to hold a chicken up over my head and sing “The Circle of life” from the Disney version of the Lion King, a movie I haven’t actually seen but I’ve seen parodied often enough.

Which brings me back to the ultimate goal of this blog, to talk about the absolute, most fantastically amazing breakfast I had today. At my house. Like every day, but today’s was especially exceptional.

I had garlic left over from last night’s dinner so I grated some potatoes in with it. Then I put some of the garlic in with my eggs, into which I also added spinach from the garden. I had toast made with Michelle’s unbelievably great homemade bread, made with a lot of whole-wheat flour that she ground from the wheat berries we bought from a local organic farmer. The eggs and hash browns were cooked on the woodstove. The hot water for the coffee was boiled on the woodstove (and yes, the coffee came from afar). We toasted the bread in the electric solar powered toaster (and yes you’re tired of it, but when you live off-grid, everything electric is ‘solar powered’.)

With all my finagling the eggs were on the back of the woodstove top, so they cooked really slowly which I think makes them taste better. The perfect texture and consistency. Plus they had our garlic in them, as did the hash browns. The coffee was so hot it was like it just came out of a nuclear reactor. OMG it was such a great breakfast! I just wanted to eat breakfast all day!

Does this make me pathetic? Is it wrong to want to go to bed early so morning will come sooner so you have breakfast? Maybe. Probably. But if they just spotted the asteroid and it was headed for my home this afternoon, I can’t think of a more awesome last meal than one of our breakfasts.

Quite a few years ago we were doing a renewable energy show in Toronto and we stayed in a hotel that had a restaurant called “Azure.” At the time I thought it was the best breakfast anywhere. They offered absolutely everything and you could eat until you were unconscious, which was kind of dangerous since I then had to go and stand at our booth all day and hawk books.

I realize now though that it was $30/person even back then. I shudder to think of what it would cost now. If we said $40/person, add tax and tip it would be close to $100. If I was aggressive in my input costs… cream for the coffee, olive oil for the potatoes, our breakfast at home might cost us $3/each. And I really grew most of it. And I made the heat that cooked it. And I sat in my kitchen with windows on three sides in a home I love in a place I love surrounded by thousands of acres of forests and ponds and lakes.

I think I’ll take my breakfast any day. In fact it’s almost 5 pm now, so I’ve got another 5 hours before I can go to bed… and then get up and have breakfast! How can I speed this up? OMG, I AM SOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!

the-warmth-of-a-woodstove

5 Responses to “The Best Breakfast…EVER!”

  • Hi Marie! What a great idea! I will suggest that to Cam! Stay tuned for an update on Jasper!

  • A. Marie:

    Cam, in talking about this breakfast, you’re sounding a little like Jasper the Wonder Dog (in the guest post you transcribed for him last year) talking about racing round the chicken run. BTW, now that you’ve got the election out of your hair and the CSA is winding down for the season, I think we need another post by or about Jasper. His fans demand it!

  • Excellent! It’s my dream to have a woodstove someday, and do just that!

  • Excellent! I hope to be there someday 🙂

  • Brian:

    Where’s the picture of the breakfast? No picture, it didn’t happen. 😉

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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