I remember when I was in my early teens checking a book out from the library on how to make Indian Spice recipes. The ingredients were totally unknown to me, though I found many of them in the tiny McCormick spice jars at the local grocery store. Though, unsurprisingly, I could never make anything that tasted good to me.
I think it's been almost 20 years that I've been using spices like this. My goal was to be able to cook like a country grandma, from any part of the world and I've come close, not needing a recipe for most things. Primarily Indian, North African, Caribbean, Mexican, Middle East. I'd like to learn more, and no doubt a native would take issue with how I make things compared to their grandmothers, but I'm happy with the results.
The house is still a collection of partially finished projects. The farm work is all consuming (a good thing, I think) and I'm not all that interested in working on the house, even if I had time. Living here is like being on a long term camping trip. You have to change your perspective on a lot of things or you'll go nuts.
Hiring someone to do the work was difficult pre covid, now it's next to impossible. A perfect example of this is my grain bin. We are a couple years into it (including planning/procurement) and they finally pulled up with a truck to construct the forms for the concrete pad. They might start putting them up in the next few weeks. Everything takes a lot longer than you'd think, and ends up costing 50% more than the (non-binding) estimate.
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