Gardening is a Family Affair
August 1, 2016, 4:18 pm
Filed under: August 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,


August 1, 2016

Many years ago now, I taught my son and daughter-in-law how to garden. I showed them the basics of how to raise much of their own food. I explained as many things as I could and told them that keeping the weeds out is one of the biggest, yet rewarding jobs.

My son sent me this picture yesterday of their current garden. Over their right shoulders is this years sweet corn. The corn on the other side is “Indian” corn. It is doing remarkable. The bean, potato and tomato plants look lush and green. The weeds are few and the garden truly is something to write about!

My son and his family all work together to have this outside pantry. Everyone helps weed and everyone helps pick the produce. I am proud to see that they choose to be self reliant. The independence that this brings is a wonderful feeling for all of us. My grandchildren smile when they talk about it…and so do I.

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

ham 001

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 🙂

Repurposed Lumber
October 24, 2015, 10:01 pm
Filed under: October 2015 | Tags: , , ,
Stairway to Heaven...almost!

Stairway to Heaven…almost!

October 24, 2015

A few days ago, my buddy Marvin and I built these stairs. They will give us access to the new addition without banging our heads on the ceiling. The new storage tank will be easy to get to for cleaning or any other work. The stairs are sturdy, functional and well made. The best part for me is that only three short boards are new. All the rest of this lumber was repurposed from an old pool deck 😮

As I look at it now, all the work in the summer heat to get the wood, then pull all the nails, was worth every drop of sweat. I still have a few more pieces left over for the next farm project. This wood will stand up to the steam from the boiling process of making maple syrup. It will make a neat place for children to watch from a safe vantage point, out of harm’s way. The stairs are not steep. Nor do they have big steps for short legs…even Goldielocks would say they are “just right”.

It is the little things that keep a farm in the black. Being self reliant is good, but having great friends helps even more. One friend gave me his old pool deck. Another helped me to salvage the boards and still another helped me build the stairs. I have sweat equity invested, a little time, and a trade for my own labor on an upcoming project for my friend. The best part is only three boards had to be purchased for this project, less than fifteen dollars of out of pocket expense.

We can all agree that they do not make a stairway to Heaven…but it sure is a Heavenly project. Its not just the stairs, it’s the friendship that makes them so great. The fact that they cost almost nothing…is indeed priceless!