Please see our affiliate notice, located on the sidebar. Thank you for supporting Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household!

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Our Montana Root Cellar, and how we came to have one!

When we started out to purchase a house in our new home state of Montana, we only had one requirement, and it did not include this root cellar! But now that we have a root cellar, I don't want to be without one.

The day we (to clarify, we equals me and my husband, my daughter, and son-in-law and arriving later after the move, a grandson!) decided to change states and combine our two families into a shared home and vision for the future, we had a lot of work to do. First, there were two homes to sell, and jobs to think about, whether that was changing or transferring in order to make the move come true. Then exactly what type of property did we want? While the list of wants was long, the list of absolute needs was singular.

To have a home and as much property as we could purchase with as small of a mortgage as possible. 

We did not know at the time but we were moving into the growth capital of the midwest and property was about to explode in price. With that kind of market, there is usually limited inventory to purchase from. We were so lucky to find the house and land (not as much as we wanted, but enough for now!) that we purchased. If we had been even six months later in our search, we would have been priced out! 

This actual book is in my collection of favorite books that go everywhere with me! I found it in a thrift store way back in 2014.

While we have all been do-it-yourself-ers for a long time, the last time I was on any large piece of land was when I got to spend Easter week with my Godparents on their dairy farm in northern California, oh about 57 years ago! I grew up reading and rereading all of the Little House books and have always loved the quiet of living on a piece of land and doing as much for yourself as is possible. I was fortunate to have learned that many years ago on the dairy farm, and cherish the lessons I learned while visiting my Godparents as a youngster. 

These tools are the combination of what we brought with us, and those left behind by the previous owners. They are propped up along the wall of the root cellar. 

And throughout the years even with no land to speak of, I canned our food, I grind my own flour to bake our bread, mend, sew, garden, knit, and crafted many things for our own needs and for gifts. These skills have been mostly self-taught, so all in all, not too bad...for a landless Lass. 

From the first conversation to actually moving across three state lines took about three years. My husband and I quickly sold our home first. As wonderful as that was, where were we to live? The kids' house was not big enough for us all, so there was only one thing to do. We spent a year as volunteers with the National Park Service living in an RV while the second house was being sold. 

Once we had a solid offer on the second house, we began viewing properties in Montana. Not an easy thing to do when you still work and it is a 9-hour drive one way! We made three trips to view property in about 45 days. Whew! Honestly, we were so happy to find our new to us home and even happier when our offer was accepted! 

Now all we had to do was scale back two households and load the balance onto moving trucks, and we did. The move included two 26 foot van trucks, each pulling a car carrier, and me in "old blue" our 96 Chevrolet pulling a long box trailer. Now keep in mind, I had never pulled a trailer before, during our volunteer travels, my husband did all the we had two pets along for the move, an older cat in my rig, and an older dog traveling in the cab of one of the 26 footers!

When we originally toured this house I was impressed with being able to have a root cellar, but now after being here for three years, I know in my heart I never want to be without one! 

This house was built in 1982, but the root cellar was built in 1978, the date is etched in the concrete! They too knew they did not want to be without a root cellar as they prepared to have a house built. Because the root cellar was built first, the house and garage were built to provide access to the root cellar from inside the garage. Perfect for the cold Montana winters...we are the second owners of this home, we bought from the original family that built the house. 

Come and take a tour,

Once inside starting from the right and circling the room:

Homemade chicken feed is in the blue tote on the floor. 

The jars of fruit in the center are canned plums from trees on our property along with some from the neighbors. 

Our root cellar is as cold as a refrigerator in the winter, we can safely store the eggs from our chickens, right on the shelves!

Home-canned pickled beets and green tomato pickles are on the shelf, second from the bottom. 

On the upper shelf, we have a steam canner, and a water-bath canner, there is also a pressure canner sitting on the shelf with the grain vaults. 

The grain vaults hold red winter wheat and white wheat. The blue top bucket holds sprouted white wheat berries, and the square tub holds Spelt berries. Sitting below the square tub is the large pressure canner. 

Next to the grain vaults, on the floor, I have large bags of animal wheat and oats for making our own chicken feed for the hens. 

Just past the grain vaults, we have a large potato storage bin. It currently has about 80 pounds of potatoes and they barely cover the floor of the bin...

Above the potatoes we have gallon jugs of cooking wine, no sense eating plain or boring food! And I see a few sweet potatoes also...

More canning equipment, a juice steamer, food mill, jar rings, jars ready to use, and some paper products. 

Additional chicken feed supplies are on the work table in the center of the room. My husband built this storage table. On the shelf under the table, we have 5-gallon storage buckets with beans, cornmeal, masa flour, etc. 

And lastly my Wonder Mill!

When we arrived and took possession of the house, the root cellar was filled with old jars of home-canned food, lots and lots of old glass mayo jars, as well as many usable mason canning jars. After a lot of cleaning up and cleaning out, we began moving our own canning supplies in as well as learning how much food to stock and keep on hand. 

Here recently, I spent a little time organizing the canned food on the shelves and thought it would be nice to employ a simple inventory control method. Instead of a log or something even more involved, I decided the easiest thing to do would be to write the expiration year on the front of the can, easy to see and nothing will get too old to eat. Except for those two cans of organic apple filling...

The surprise during the clean-up was finding these antique jars among the rubble. An old glass top hasp-closure Ball canning jar that I use as a water carafe on the kitchen table. Two blue canning jars that I found a burnished frog top and use as flower vases whenever fresh flowers come into the house, and this beautiful amethyst Mason jar with a zinc lid that just sits on a shelf as a piece of art! It was hand blown (I believe) you can see the bubbles in the glass. 

Our lives haven't changed much, we pretty much live the same here in Montana, as we did in our prior home state, but now we have a grandson, a root cellar, homemade whole wheat bread in the bread box, 10 chickens, and snow in the winter!

Featured post at: 
Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household featured at Grammy's Grid!
Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household featured at Grammy's Grid!

Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household featured at Sunday Sunshine!
Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household featured at Sunday Sunshine!

Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household featured at You're the Star link-up!
Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household featured at You're the Star link-up!

Thanks for stopping by! 

We offer new and delicious recipes as well as DIY ideas for your home, regularly. Feel free to drop us an email request for any question or recipe you may be looking for. In addition, like all our guests, we invite you to come for a visit again and again for new recipes, and my down-home take on frugal ways to keep your home in tip top shape. 

Hey you, don’t miss a post! Please consider following Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household. To follow by email, and/or by RSS feed, complete the application located on the right-hand side of the blog. Please Note, some posts may contain affiliate links, thank you for supporting Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household. 

PS, friends, and family who love good food and household ideas might love us too! Tell them about us, and thanks for the referral! 

You may also enjoy, Creative writing from the heart... stories of life, living, and family.

Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household proudly shares with these generous link parties featured here.  

Would you like to comment?

  1. Thank you for the tour. Your root cellar looks delightful, and very practical. I’m impressed that potatoes and sweet potatoes will keep: I’m always having them go bad.

    best… mae at

    1. Thank you for stopping my, I appreciate it. We are hoping to grow our own potatoes in the future. Sweet potatoes are still a bit of a struggle, but so far much better than upstairs in the kitchen.

  2. You're so fortunate to have one, everyone needs one!! My grandparents had one when I was a child. Thanks so much for linking up at the 25 and Done Link Party 6! 25 entries in 25 hours!! Shared onto Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

  3. How neat to have a root cellar!!

  4. Thanks for sharing. I am not sure if root cellars are a thing here, but I can definitely see how practical they are, and how you could become so orginised with making jams, sauces and more.

    1. Years ago I used my pump room for the well pump as a make shift root cellar. In the winter is was perfect for canned fruit (it came into the house chilled and ready to eat!) and a safe place to store potatoes long term, but this is my first real root cellar.

  5. CONGRATS! Your post is FEATURED at the 25 and Done Link Party 7! 25 entries in 25 hours!! Entries shared on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

    1. Dee, thank you so much. 25 and Done is a fun link-up to be a part of!

  6. So glad that you have a root cellar and for the peek inside. I’m featuring your post on the Sunday sunshine blog hope so others can see the importance of having one!


  7. I would love to have a root cellar!! Thanks for sharing at My Big Fat Menopausal Life's Share the Wealth party. Have a fabulous week!

  8. That is so very cool. Love it. #alittlebitofeverything

  9. Visiting from the Homestead Blog Hop to say thanks for sharing this over there!

    Ridge Haven Homestead


Comments always appreciated, at Scratch Made Food! Please be aware comments with sales links will be deleted. Thank you for stopping by!