Trip To The Mill


A few days ago my husband and I took our first trip to the mill to buy wheat, and feed for the pig. It was a freezing cold day! We bundled the kids up in the backseat of the pickup truck, and headed down the country roads.

When we arrived there, it was bustling with men loading the back of a truck with sacks of wheat. I wasn’t sure where to go, until a nice older woman stuck her head out of a door and beckoned us in. It was nice to get out of the bitter cold and into the warmth of that little store.

She stepped behind the counter and asked us how she could be of service. I told her that I’d never been to the mill before, but that we were interested in buying some wheat to grind, and some feed for our pig. I asked her what their prices are.

She flipped through a little notebook, then looked up and told me that the wheat berries I wanted would be $7.00 for a 50 lb bag. Whoa! I was really surprised at that… that’s super cheap!! She asked how much I would like. I wanted a lot, but didn’t want to seem preposterous. “I think I’d like 200 lbs. of the wheat,” I said. It felt strange saying that. It’s not exactly every day that I go to the store to buy 200 lbs of wheat. But she didn’t even blink at my request. I really wanted to buy 500 lbs of wheat, but I just couldn’t bring myself to say that. Plus, I’m sure I don’t have enough storage for that much wheat right now anyways.

She then told me the price of the hog feed. The premixed sacks were cheaper than at Tractor Supply, but after looking at the ingredients, I felt like there was a lot of stuff that my pig, since free ranging, doesn’t need. So, I decided to just get some corn instead. The 50 lb bags of corn were $5.50 each.

As she totaled me up, the man who had been loading up his truck outside came in to pay. He was a middle aged guy, with a dark, full beard. I was flipping through my cash to pay when he said to the lady behind the counter, “She can get mine too!” I laughed and said, “Well, I have about $15 left, would that cover it?” She laughed and said, “Oh no. He’s getting quite a bit more wheat than you!” I asked him what he was getting. He said he had 1000 lbs of wheat. I asked, “Is it to grind, to cook with?” He said yeah. I asked, “Like, are you storing it?” wondering if he was doing the same thing we are. He nodded. Now I was really interested! I asked, “What are you storing your wheat in?”

He explained that he had big, 50 gallon barrels he was keeping it in. I shared with him that we are trying to store food too. I really wanted to talk to him more, but I was done checking out and we needed to get the kids back in the truck to pull around and get our order.

As we were backing the truck to the loading dock, the bearded man came out and motioned for us to roll down our window. He told Jerry that he’d like to talk to us some more. Yes!! I was thrilled! He seemed like a fascinating guy to talk to, like he knew something we needed to know.

Jerry got out of the truck to stand and talk with the man, and I hopped over to the driver’s side and stuck my head out the window to listen in. He told us that he was glad to meet like-minded people. He said that most people think he’s crazy. He went on to tell us that him and his brother, and several other people, have been doing this for 10 years now. They meet up every so often to talk about things, like food storage, the economy, and preparedness in general.

I asked him how he preserves the wheat, how he keeps it protected from bugs. He said he gets Diatomaceous Earth (from a pool supply place), and sprinkles it within layers of the wheat berries. It’s safe to eat and keeps bugs out. I haven’t heard of this stuff, so I need research it more, but he’s been doing this for 10 years and it’s been working for him!

He told us that he will soon be getting some 50 gallon (I think) pickle barrels, for $10 each, and that he could get us some if we were interested. I told him we would love to get some! We were finished loading up, and needed to go on home, so we exchanged names and numbers.

It was really nice talking with our new friend. I think it’s funny that we were both there at the same time. The Lord meant for us to meet. I’m sure there’s more we can learn from this shy, soft spoken man. And huge food grade barrels would be such a blessing!

So now I have 200 pounds of wheat berries to store. I’m so excited!! But more on that another day…


Kendra
About Kendra 1103 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

19 Comments

  1. I just want to stress that you need to get the food grade D.E. if your going to put in on your grain. I got a 50lb bag from the local CO-OP for around $25. I used it to worm the chickens, as so many people suggested. However, I still found worms in my chickens. I gave up on using it as a natural wormer. Instead, I use it inside the coop to keep the moisture down, and bugs, if it actually works.

  2. I have bought wheat at the farmers mill before and it is cheap, but I had to clean mine and that can take a long time, also they did not have organic or chemical free. I payed 27.00 for 50lb of chemical free wheat from our coop last time and now it has gone down to 23.00 I used to pay 19.00, soft wheat is more. I traded and organic farmer in the area 4 loaves of bread for a bushel of organic soft wheat but I spent hours cleaning it, so I don’t know if I’ll do that again. Diana

  3. I love finding like minded people. It happens so rarely around here. Good luck with your storage. i need to look into getting a grinder, as I know that it is so much better for you.

  4. Dicotomas Earth (hope I didn’t butcher that spelling) is something that I am giving my animals for worming. My local Amish community ordered it for me and only charged me what it cost him to get it in. I can feed it to my chickens, sheep, pigs, and cows and not worry about their eggs, milk and other products being tainted with chemicals.

  5. There are different kinds of D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) The kind from the pool supply store is NOT the kind you want to put in your wheat. It is a chemical based one I think.
    You want the other kind of D.E. Of course, it is probably more expensive. You need to research this so you don’t ruin your wheat.

  6. I’m looking forward to reading about your stove! We’ve been reading about them in magazines and online, but it’s going to have to be a little while yet…

  7. Thanks for your reply, Kendra! Your family’s reasons parallel many our own. We live in Indiana and started growing our own food a couple of years ago, and have recently been able to put up a high tunnel to extend our growing season. We raised pigs to be butchered for the last two summers. We started with chickens last summer for eggs, and have begun stocking up more on a lot of provisions, most recently learning more about grains. We’ve just started purchasing wheat and grinding our own flour. We bought a used Country Living Grain Mill off of Craigslist and it does such a great job. Now I just need to make the change from bread machine to making it by hand in case there’s not electricity! We are hoping at some point in the next couple of years to add a hand pump to our well and get a wood cook-stove. Blessings to you and your family as you continue your journey into self-sufficiency. Just like you ran into the man at the mill that you spoke with and learned from, we too seem to keep meeting the “right” people at the right times who know just a little more than us in different areas that we can learn from. God is a great provider, in all ways! God Bless.

    • Pam W.

      Wow, sounds like we do have a lot in common!! We’d also love to get a hand pump on our well. If only we’d thought about that when we put it in!! They are SO expensive though. We actually did just buy a wood cook stove a while back. I plan on posting about that very soon 🙂 That was so exciting for me! I appreciate any advice you have to lend, as you’ve no doubt learned things that I have yet to learn.

  8. My wife and I just purchased 200 lbs of wheat as well and used a #10 can canner from a LDS church to can the wheat as well as oats, bread flour, sugar and dry milk. It was fun and the canner didn’t cost us a dime to borrow.

  9. Kendra,
    I was just wondering if you and your husband have been changing your lifestyle because of Peak Oil and all that it implies, or are you just generally wanting to be more self-sufficient and well-stocked up?

    • Pam W.

      We’ve decided to begin living this way for several reasons. We don’t want to have to depend on anyone else to provide for our needs. We don’t want to expose ourselves any longer to the junk that they are poisoning our foods with today. We want to save money doing things ourselves instead of being perpetual consumers. We want to get back to a simpler way of life. We want to be prepared in case something devastating to our economy were to happen. And we want to teach these lessons to our children.

  10. $7/50lb is about right.
    Farmers only get something like $3-$6/bushel (a wheat bushel is 60lbs if I remember right) – depending on the market, quality and growing year. My wheat farming uncles aren’t exactly rolling in dough. 😉

  11. Diatomaceous Earth is wonderful stuff. I use it in the garden to kill insects. It kills fleas too. Do some research on google. It only take a little of it too. Barb

  12. That’s awesome that y’all found someone to talk to about things like that! D.E. is perfectly safe to eat as long as you get the food grade kind. It’s great for intestine troubles. We use it to keep the bugs out of our chicken food.

  13. How exciting! So, how much does 200lbs of wheat berries look like when stored? How much flour will it make? I never thought to buy the wheat to grind it ourselves. Now that we will have a bigger place, I can definitely do this! Are the barrels kept outside and he brings in what he needs? Since we are moving, I cannot keep my chickens (very sad) so I am going to vamp up my gardening, canning, and finding local sources for things I cannot grow.

  14. what do you plan on using to grind the wheat with? Just wondering I was giving some wheat berrys a while back in some number ten cans and have never done anything with them because i was unsure of how or what to do with it.. just wondering.. also i love how God dances the right people in our lives at the right time.. BEAN<

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