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. As Salamualaikum!
    This sounds so yummy, Inshaallah I will try to make some! I love silvered almonds, and I like to make a simple cereal using just the almonds or add in some walnuts or whatever nut you want. I coat them in egg whites, stir in some organic sugar, a pinch of alcohol free vanilla extract, and cinnamon,. toss it all together and bake on about 350 for a good 30 mins stirring ocassionally. Also use parchment paper so that it wont stick to the pan or burn easily. Once you let it cool its delicious and crunchy and can be added to milk just like regular cereal!

    1. Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
      We will have to try this, insh’Allaah, the next time almonds are on sale, it sounds really good, and very simple as well. We don’t buy boxed cereals at all, so new ideas and healthy variations are always welcome. BarakAllaahufeekee for sharing this!!

  2. From one low-techie to another low-techie, perhaps you can do what I did and e-mail the photos from your phone to yourself. Then you can open them on a regular (real) computer and upload them. I have decided that rather than let this technology KILL me, I will channel everything to my trusty old laptop so I can function perfectly normally.

    We made a granola with oats, hazelnuts, some apple I dehydrated up on the roof, almonds, raisins, pumpkin seeds, a little bit of coconut, good honey, and coconut oil. It did cross my mind to make a hazelnut and chocolate version, but I’m scared it won’t last even one hour! YUM!

  3. Yes, this is what I wanted to do, but my phone foiled me, mash’Allaah! I will keep trying it, knowing that you are just as technologically challenged as I am, and insh’Allaah will succeed!
    Yum!! Hazelnut and chocolate, next time I see you, insh’Allaah.

  4. I don’t often add coconut to my granola, but I always add melted coconut oil. I sometimes use maple syrup instead of honey. Depends on the dried fruit I use. That’s where we really mix it up. I admit, I don’t make it as often as I used to because we tend to snack on it way too much – especially the hubbo!

    1. Yes, we too always use the coconut oil in our recipe, but we don’t have the luxury of getting maple syrup here in Saudi Arabia. We do have something quite marvelous though – organic date syrup. I have found that I can use it interchangeably for any recipe requiring honey, raw agave, or maple syrup with excellent results.

      Knowing the health benefits of dates, this syrup is a really nutritious sweetener. I have been looking into making my own, and found both cooked versions where the dates are boiled down to a syrup (much like what I am using now) and also a raw version, which was simply soaked dates blended with water and a bit of lemon juice, which was also yummy. Perhaps that can be a little ‘food for thought’ for a new twist on our granola.

        1. I’ll bring some along next spring, inshaa Allah. It is much cheaper than honey, so I’m planning to substitute it in many recipes that would otherwise be pretty expensive. I already use it in muffins, cakes, breakfast bars, sweet rolls, ginger snaps, and even bread. I’m sure it will be excellent in granola. It doesn’t have any overbearing taste and the consistency is just like honey, so it’s thicker than maple syrup. It would be even more economical if we made it, inshaa Allah.

          I don’t prefer the coconut in any cereal, but I don’t mind the oil.

          1. That would be wonderful! Make sure you plan on us being together enough to whip up some things together, insh’Allaah!!!
            I will try the coconut oil, I think, next week when we make a new batch.

    2. I will have to try that Dani. The maple syrup sounds really really good, and I do like to use coconut oil as much as possible. I can take the coconut or leave it, but if we have it I tend to toss it in there. Thank you for your suggestions!

  5. Really good and easy, best combination! Almost all my favorited things in one go. We use wildflower honey right now, I definitely want to try manuka or Yemeni sidr, more so for medicinal purposes.

    1. For things like this, I would stick with the other honey and save the good (and more expensive) stuff for when it’s needed. That being said, if you try it, let me know, I would love to hear how it turns out!

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