Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Zero degree day

As I passed the thermometer on my way to do chores this morning, it read a solid zero degrees. In a few months that will feel warm to us, but today it feels pretty chilly, chilly as in if I hadn't kept a brisk pace through my tossing hay, opening doors routine, I'd have needed to come back to the house and put a jacket on over my sweater and Carhartt bibs. There are certain things you just can't get away with when it is zero outside; such as setting jars of milk out the front door for a few hours, leaving eggs on the front porch for a day or two until I get around to taking them inside to the fridge, leaving any liquids outside whether that is bottles of water in the car or a tank of water in the back of the truck, and as I learned this weekend, if you leave a freshly butchered pig in the back of the pickup, not only will it freeze solid (as I expected), but it will also freeze to the truck bed (I had meant to take a tarp or sheet with me but forgot). Now said frozen pig is hanging on our front porch until author's brother has time to break it down.

On Saturday I stood around at a friend's and at least helped with the planning of how to kill their pigs, who were free range around the property pigs that were not pen -able, (gotta love that - and a word from my own dictionary), without losing the remaining pigs in the woods. There were a couple flawed plans at first that we managed to nix, such as having three men with three guns each shoot a pig at the exact same moment - yeah, recipe for hilarious chaos I'm sure. Finally we just distracted the pigs with scraps and the two remaining didn't blink an eye with their companion was shot and gutted nearby. These pigs were much smaller than our last pig that we helped butcher, I think a third or at least half as big. This pig is maybe in the hundred and twenty pound range. A nice, manageable size. I'm planning on brining and smoking the belly for bacon and the hams. I've already scraped and cleaned the upper intestines for stuffing with sausage. And I pulled the head in to thaw to make headcheese, ahem, pork terrine. I think I'm going to try my first attempt at salami, something I've never been up for since I don't want to use nitrates, but we'll see how it goes.

On Sunday we butchered our last two geese, after taking their mother to a friend's house so she can live another year in the company of other Tolouse Geese. In exchange, hopefully I'll receive a dozen fertile geese eggs in the spring. I put one in the freezer for Christmas and the other I think we'll eat this weekend. I've got a bag of organs and fat in the fridge to deal with still, I'm thinking stock for the necks, hearts, feet and gizzards. Not sure about the liver, pate? Usually I'd cook it with rice for dog food.

Lately I'm not sure which I look forward to more, weekdays or weekends, as the weekends are filled with chores that need to get done, but aren't very enjoyable. The weekdays have become very routine. And I'll have to write about what the kids and I have been doing another day as it is past time to wake up the kids and get us going before we get behind on our day. In a few words here are our weekdays; fire starting, breakfast, candle lighting, song time. math, break, lunch, reading and writing, possible craft or kitchen project - whew - down time, then dinner time. whew!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The last of our Autumn pictures

Alas, these pictures are not recent. These are photos from August and September that I did not get a chance to share. Our world is white now. We have a few inches of snow, most likely here to say for oh, the next six months. We had our first snow a couple weeks ago - followed by a warm spell. About this time of year it doesn't tend to go away anymore. I cannot say that I am enjoying the snow with as much excitement and glee as the children. However, it is lovely coating the branches and sides of the tall bare birch trees. Today, the sun was shining through the glittery snow and woods. The woods and the view across the valley to the west as the sun was low in the sky was gorgeous. I'll have to get out and take some pictures while the sky is still blue and sunny. Dark days are coming fast. I'll fill you guys in soon about all that has been going on here. This weekend we are helping butcher pigs, followed by hopefully butchering our geese. Looking forward to bacon, sausage, lard, goose fat...