RicelandMeadows


Bye Bye January

January 31, 2021

It is hard to believe that today is the last day of January 2021. It has been a full month. Our Christmas gatherings were pushed into this month as we celebrated in small groups. We, of course, had lots of chores and work to do, but we found plenty of time for some fun too. In the photo above, Hank (in the center), got hitched with the mares for the first time. He did remarkably!

I have been driving him single for a while. We would take walks around the farm as he got used to the harness and being driven. His progress is steady. He is a baby , so we are going slow. Hank won’t be two years old until April. Hank is a stallion. I hope to keep him busy with daily work, to keep his mind busy, as his body struggles with all those teenaged hormones.

I didn’t expect any problems, but I still enlisted the help of my buddy’s boys. They are driving in the picture while I took the photo. It was good insurance to have the help, even though I didn’t need it. One can never be too cautious. Hank learned fast what to do. The mares beside him did amazing, as they worked and paid him no mind. The noise behind him and the weight they pulled, did not cause any concern for Hank. He just did what the girls did. We have many more days of training in our future, but this was a wonderful “first time out”.

February, brings us maple syrup season. I have been busy preparing for this time too. Things are getting completed and a few blog posts in the coming days, will show and explain my efforts.

The last of the pig butchering is behind us now too. We worked up the last smoked meat last week. It is a blessing to have the knowledge, the ability and the equipment to do our own processing. This year small processors are backed up for months on end. We, by law, can’t process for others, but we can do our own. The place smells wonderful as the hickory smoked bacon gets sliced…and fried :o)

Bye bye January, thank you for the harvest, the accomplishments and the gathering of family and friends!



Homemade Ham
January 18, 2016, 5:24 pm
Filed under: January 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

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January 18, 2016

Winter is whooping our butts right now. The snow is over my boots on the flat and up past my hips where it has drifted. Not bad for a storm that rolled in yesterday afternoon…when the ground was bare! Last week we got a day or two of winter too. I spent that time working in the slaughterhouse. We cut some of our pork for family. This load of smoked meat is from the efforts of that day.

The meat was all smoked with apple wood. It imparts a light smoke with great flavor. I prefer hickory with pork, but one of my family members likes it lighter. I accomplished this with apple wood and everyone has been happy. The bacon and hams taste great. The color was the only thing effected by the lighter smoke.

I cured these hams and bacons with “Morton’s Tender Quick ” and “Morton’s Sugar Cure”. I rub the bacons liberally with the sugar cure. I also de-bone the hams and rub them inside and out. Next I make a liquid, by following the directions on the Tender Quick bag. This liquid I inject into the thick meat on the shoulder ends of the bacons. I also inject the hams in each piece every two or three inches. I use a brine needle also known as a marinate needle and syringe.

Once the meat has been rubbed and injected, I place it in a plastic container and cover it with the remainder of the liquid Tender Quick. I next mix up a little more liquid using Sugar Cure and water, enough to cover the meat. I place a loose lid on the container and leave it cure for seven days.

After the week has passed, I rinse the meat with cold water. I then hang it on my racks and smoke and cook it. The bacon gets smoked and cooked to an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. The hams, the beef tongue you see and the lunch meat chunks of ham all get smoked and cooked to an internal temperature of 155 degrees F

Having the ability to do this at home is an awesome thing. I enjoy doing it and many of our farm’s guest enjoy eating the “fruits” of my labor. Home made ham with fresh eggs is a great breakfast. A slice of our bacon on top of a grass fed cheeseburger…yum! I love my country life 🙂



Hanging Out
December 17, 2015, 10:19 am
Filed under: December 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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December 17, 2015

Many teenagers “Hang Out”, which means goofing off, sitting around and visiting with friends. Around here it means fall butchering! I am in full swing. We are working our way through the family’s pork right now, but beef processing is on the horizon.

It is a wonderful thing to have our washhouse. Cutting meat is easy when you are in out of the weather. Clean up is a snap with running hot water and a big sink. All of our equipment is in one place and laid out for easy use. Yes, I am very fond of our little “slaughterhouse”. We call it the washhouse, because it doubles for a canning kitchen, a maple syrup filter washing and clean up stop and the home of our on farm smokehouse.

I made this seasons first bologna yesterday. I made enough to freeze for lunches later, as well as, plenty to eat now and share with friends. I enjoy the art of sausage making almost as much as the job of sausage eating :o)

I will say that I lose a little sleep, because I take this job serious. Once the sausages start to cook, I babysit the smokehouse until the job is complete. Sometimes into the wee hours of the morning, I can be found red eyed and waiting for a few more degrees on the thermometer. It’s worth it though, when I pull slab bacons, bolognas and cottage hams out of the hot smokehouse. It smells wonderful and tastes just as good.

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Yum