Wide Earth Smallholding

Wide Earth Smallholding

And Allaah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.(Qur'aan- 71:19)

A New Home For Wide Earth


The gravel road is silent, the crunching and churning from our little moving caravan quieted now. Across from me lie rolling fields, a metal fence marked with a “W” here, a barn roof there, the lowing of cattle drifting across winter weary space. A bird detaches itself from the tree above me, small and brown with a hint of white breast showing, and sails across the road, perching on another tree still somehow clothed in the ragged brown leaves of Autumn. The bird blends perfectly with the leaves; if I hadn’t seen it in flight it would have been lost among the flutter of the long dead leaves. The wind blows and I hop down from my fence-top perch and plant my feet firmly, just for a moment, on the earth, before beginning my walk home through the woods. My footprints from previous days mingle with those of deer, our paths crossed by the light feather tracks of rabbits and something that looks cat-like. The land around the pond is covered in tracks, including the children’s, who have made a habit of bringing out a sleeping bag and sitting by the cold, frozen surface talking, playing, and breathing.

Home!Each day here on our little rented farm is just that, a breath of fresh air that we all longed for and are now so thankful to finally have. We watch the sunrise from the bedroom window as we drink tea and talk over yesterday’s experiences, things we have read, and plans we are making. In the evenings, the sunset guides us home, and I always find that at least one or two of the children sit beside me on the platform in the field as I keep vigil for the sun as it drops behind the silhouettes of the hills.

We walk the land several times a day, observing, drawing, thinking, and planning. One day one of my daughters said that she finally began carrying her asthma inhaler in her pocket when walking, just in case the cold triggered an attack. “I know what you mean,” I assured her. “I always make sure I have my notebook and pen in my pocket.” Thoughts, ideas and inspiration flit through my mind faster than the bird that flew to the other tree, and I have to have my notebook at the ready for fear that they will be lost.

The blue buildings are staying! A few more raised beds to add to the existing ones, so that we can grow more vegetables and herbs for the family and cut down on grocery bills. A bee skep, past the orchard, just one to start. Alice, our landlady, owner of the wonderfully named “Quirky Goat Farm” is always ready to offer advice on our first goats. We are thinking two dairy goats to start, insh’Allaah, hopefully the Saanen and Alpine crossbreeds that Alice will have in April. A close friend in Tennessee has offered us a beautiful pony, trained to be a therapy horse, in Spring as well. Chickens for eggs and meat, and guineas for eggs, meat, and tick control. Yesterday Khalil mentioned maybe a couple of turkeys!

We’ve been blessed to be able to go from dreaming to dreaming and planning, hoping to build each season onto the next. Raised beds!

“Are you looking at long-term?” Alice asked us. With my heartfelt reply of “Yes,” she said, “Good!”

CameraZOOM-20140119142653012 Alhamdulillah, we are looking forward to working the land, raising animals, and living as simply and sustainably as we are able, insh’Allaah, and with Allaah is the success. I plan on returning to posting both here and at Yemeni Journey more often, to share our experiences and knowledge gained. I hope you will join us on our new journey on this Wide Earth!

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  1. This really sounds like a nice bread recipe mashallah. I’ve made bread before but it was dense and firm. I will the sponge method as I prefer a more fluffy textured bread inshallah. Keep up the good work Sukhailah! Looking forward to your next recipe inshallah. Umm Hurayrah

    1. Assalamu Alaykum, Umm Hurayrah, Jazak Allahu khayran. We missed you around here! Come stay with us and I’ll show you in person how to make bread. That would be fun!

  2. How great it sounds!! Congratulations, Sukhailah, not only on making the bread, but writing up the recipe. I have not been a great bread maker in my ‘cooking life’. But your recipe makes me want to try. All parts of recipe sound fantastic–especially the end when family participants don’t allow it to cool properly!! Way to go!!
    Congratulations again. Nana.

    1. Nana, thank you so much.
      It really is easy and fun. When you are here, let’s see if you can let it cool!

  3. “Yeast fallen bread.” Very funny! Interesting that stick-shaped loaves were called “roti” — Urdu speakers use that term for bread in general, but typically mean some form of flatbread.

    1. Assalamu Alaykum,
      Well, really! Little flat, puckered patties. Not too appetizing.
      It’s interesting in Yemen, because every kind of bread has it’s own specific name. Sometimes you can hardly tell the difference between them, but you must take their word for it, and quickly jab your finger at one, and say, yeah, well, that one, whatever it is!

  4. I love the smell of fresh bread baking, since my bread dosen’t always come out fluffy I must try this sponge method, it sounds really good, especially with the butter and honey! Umm, wish I was there to help with the “attack of the warm bread!” looking forward to your next recipe, keep ’em coming.

  5. Sukhailah, I remember my first try at bread. I was pregnant with Mujaahid’s Dad and wanted so much to learn how to can vegetables and bake bread. My Mom had never done it and my grandmother tried over the phone, but that only went so far. Mostly, I just got, “Why would you want to do something like that!” So just like you by trial and error, I finally was able to supply all of our bread needs with my baking. I have not been back there for a very long time, but your recipe and perseverance have inspired me, and I am going to try a batch this weekend! Love, Thurayah

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