Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Chicken Fat Saturday

Normal people have Chicken Fat Saturday, right? You know - everyone gathers 'round the big ol' bubbling pot of rendering chicken fat and gives a big 'huzzah!' for the world's best cooking fat. That's a thing right? #ChickenFatSaturday? I know I've seen it....

Look at it! Schmaltz -yeah!

Need to get a few things in my notes today. First we butchered a bunch of the meats. Thank heavens our garage is now (mostly) chicken free! And that last meat roo who's been out there screaming his head off? Yeah well... guess who's head is actually off? Not so funny anymore is it?

There has been much rejoicing in the soon-to-be quiet land.

As we were working I got a pretty good laugh watching my lovely laying ladies out there trying to kill each other over some miscellaneous meat pieces-or-part.... thinking how some folks think "vegetarian chickens" should be a thing.

Those normally softly clucking hens are just really tiny cannibals waiting for an odd part of former comrade to be flung their way. Chickens are gross. If they ever actually got me on the ground I'd be done for.

To find out more about weird stuff we find on butcher day - or better yet how to render chicken fat you can read this link. Just don't walk away from the stove because you might burn down your house. Or the cats might try and get up on the counter and eat your livers while you are yucking it up on 'the facebook' with your pals. Ask me how I know this....

Also, it's sunny and 50* today. Go home, winter, you're seriously drunk.

Bitty in the box.

And.... looks like we have another box that we cannot possible throw away. Bitty thinks it's her spaceship and so we are now stuck with another cat trap that will remain in the living room until the end of time. Cats. *sigh*

Looks like the chicken fat has all rendered and now the only thing to do is chase the cats off counters, fry up the chicken livers, make the bourbon-soaked pate, and then shovel out the garage.

A good farm day if I don't say so myself.

Happy Chicken Fat Saturday everyone!

Editors note: Affiliate links on a post about chicken fat and box-crazy cats? Yep. Schmaltz by Ruhlman is the best reference I know. And someone always asks. So don't be offended - it's just a book reference. However, if you need something from Amazon you can use that link! I'm supposed to tell you that I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - one of these books, movies, or something you need from Amazon anyway.  Do you need anything Amazon? You can support this blog by just clicking one of these links. Or using the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. It doesn't cost you once cent more but helps me with the "cost" of this blog. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. Thanks!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Pancetta is done!

Yesterday I took down the pancetta - it turned out beautifully!

This is the before...and this is the after. 

It always seems like making pancetta should be more complicated then it is - but just like most food processing - it's just not really that difficult. There are several steps with a bunch of waiting around in between.

Wrapped in cheesecloth like a little present.

What is pancetta? It's a cured but not smoked bacon. You find it mostly in Italian cooking. I just love it. It's like bacon's spicier, more exciting, international sister. 

Can you make pancetta at home? Yes you can! Here are the links to my bacon making and pancetta posts. 

Unwrapped. See also that the weight decreased. This is from drying out just like it should.

The only thing I do differently is that I don't roll it up. That is the only part of the process that kind of freaks me out. Also, I do such a bad job of skinning the bellies there would be pockets of air in them if they were rolled. So hanging wrapped in cheesecloth is just fine.

But raw meat hanging in the basement... just hanging there?  Yep. Can you believe it?

Look at it!!!

After I unwrap them I slice up the pancettas and put them in the freezer. It's so easy just to grab a couple slices, cut up or dice, and then fry up in a pan as the base for a terrific sauce.

If I had somewhere that stayed reasonable cool all year I'd love to do a prosciutto which is an air dried ham... but we have a mostly finished basement so that would never work. During the winter the unfinished side of our basement stays cool enough to hang the cured meat.

I had to fry up a couple of pieces. Yay!

Happy Friday everyone! Did you make pancetta? How did it turn out?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Another Snow Derp Day....

Get BearKilers, they said.....

They are regal animals, they said.....

Majestic in all ways, they said.....

Yep. Just another snow derp day.....


Princess Wiggles!! 

And so it goes...... yep.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mother Earth News - the Pitchfork Pulpit tells it like it is.

I'm not the biggest fan of Joel Salatin so wow was I amazed at his latest article in Mother Earth News.  "Precious Choreography Teaching You The Cycle of Life" in his The Pitchfork Pulpit column (Feb/March 2016, MEN) was pretty darn good. 

Meats on the move - from last summer.

I'm not a Joel hater... I just am kind of meh on him. But I really loved what he had to say. He talked about introducing kids to the butchering process and also his positions on the ethical dilemma. For our part we don't see it as a dilemma...and as far as we can tell from the farm kids we know - if the parents freak out at butcher time then the kids will. If they parents don't, the kids won't. 

Folks ask all us the time how we can butcher the food that we know. We honestly don't struggle with it at all. The cycle of life spins in a really tight circle around here - and we have a front seat to the whole thing. So we aren't shocked, horrified, or grossed out.

We are also profoundly practical people. So that helps too.

If you are thinking about making your own meat this summer then pick up the latest issue of MEN and read Joel's article. It might help settle some things in your mind about the whole process. They don't have a link to it now but I'm sure it will be online soon.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, January 25, 2016

I got my just deserts....

So I went somewhere warm, dry, and sunny...... it was terrific.

This time yesterday I was in the sun and not the snow.

Someone I know surprised me with a very, very generous gift - a plane ticket to visit them in the sunshine at "the world famous Cactus Resort."

There were palm trees... and sunshine.... so much sunshine. And the cacti were everywhere! I was told a tall tale about a jumping cactus. I wasn't sure I believed them.

We went hiking in the sunshine and found water in the desert... actually a lot of water. 

I saw lots of amazing things and ate my way across the metropolitan area. There were tacos. Real tacos. And cool coffee. And hot tamales. No really, I had tamales. Wow what a taste sensation!

And all kinds of food trucks under a fiery sky.

We visited farm type folks and I talked to a gal about raising pigz in the desert. Turns out it works. We even saw a cow farm!

Self portrait under a big blue sky. I could raise a lot of goats on this land.

The citrus crops grow like our tomatoes. And they have tomatoes too - what we consider to be seasonal produce grows year round.
Life is Good photobomb.... mighta ruined someone's picture.

Sometimes it's good to get out of your little corner of the world. I had a fantastic time and am extremely grateful to my hosts for such an incredible time. I'll be back and you can count on that!

Happy Monday everyone! How are you feeling about the snow? Could you live in the desert? I just might be able to...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Just one more picture of the bacon....

I just have to show one more picture of the bacon.... it really worked out.

Look at it!

OK, I lied.... one more..... check this out.

This one was a lot more meaty - really beautiful.

Technically I think the second one is a smoked pancetta...Pancetta because of the seasoning but it's actually bacon because of the smoking.

In the end I weighed the smoked bacon and it was about 17 pounds. But that does not include the pancetta that is still drying. So if it is about the same then WOW what a bacon haul!

Happy Thursday everyone! Are you so excited about bacon? How's the snow looking?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hog Harvest 2015 What Really Happened

The freezers are stuffed full of meat, the last of the bacons have been smoked, the pig heads are gone, and all that really needs to be done is to slice up the pancetta and put it in the freezer. Now I can just sit back and while away the days.... good riddance, pigz, now get in mah belly!

Like glorious meat pinatas....

But first we should recap The Grand Hog Harvest of 2015... which technically took place on January 1, 2016. But it was the 2015 pigz so let's stick with that.

However, before we go any further we need to put a cautionary warning here. So be forewarned all you pig snugglers, vegans, vegetarians, and tender folk THIS IS GOING TO BE A POST ABOUT BUTCHERING. THERE WILL BE SHOOTING, BUTCHERING, PIG GUTS, AND A RE-ENACTMENT OF THE "KALI MA" SCENE FROM INDIANA JONES. THERE WILL BE BAD JOKES AND TOTAL DISREGARD OF PIGZ AND THEIR MISERABLE LIVES. DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE GOING TO BURST INTO TEARS. NEGATIVE COMMENTS WILL BE MOCKED, BLOCKED, AND NOT PUBLISHED. I'm not even kidding and you know it. If you are on the fence or maybe a little squeamish you might want to look at Little Mo who fixes everything with his deep, soulful eyes

The day was glorious.

No one was more eager than I was to run right out there and shoot them damn pigz - especially after they went on the lam. No one except my husband who is never in a hurry to do anything.... but I could barely get my jacket on and out the door before he marched right down there and shot them pigz where they stood.

The pigz were already in our smallest pen as punishment for gallivanting around the country side. So it was really just a matter of turning off the electric fence, getting the Dog Horde into place, and setting myself up as back up.  As always, killing a large animal can be dangerous and not just for that pig. So I was positioned well up on the hill and The Big Man went down to the pig yard armed and dangerous. He also had the official "sticking" knife in hand. I had my full sized axe ready just in case.

How To:
Step one: Position yourself safely, back to the audience, pig should be looking down and away from you - preferably at something on the ground. Like food.
Step two: Shoot pig.
Step three: Cut pig's throat to ensure bleed out.
Step four: Declare your victory.

That's kind of how it goes. You can find out more detail in the previous Hog Harvest recaps below or on the Pigs link at the top of this page.

Everything went smooth as silk.

The only bugaboo was that as soon as the fence was off the pigz tried to make an escape. But they were very interested in the bucket of food we brought down to distract them. So it was basically over for them in about 8 minutes, which included the standing around to ensure proper positioning and then waiting for Pig 2 to settle down and get lined up.

The shooting and stickin' were picture perfect. My husband is a wonder. A+

We let the dogs down to sniff around and see their fallen enemy. Zander loved it. Then we got to work.

The pigz were much much bigger than we thought. They were at the upper end of what is workable for us and were difficult to move around. That was a lot of dead weight. Literally.

We figured about 150lbs per half.

We de-headed and gutted the first pig on the ground which did not go as well as we would have liked.  First, we didn't do a good job of making sure the batteries for the sawsall were charged. So that was a little problematic. However, this did allow me the opportunity to finalize my victory over that pig by cleaving it's head from it's body with my axe. I am not even kidding. It was extremely satisfying.

Then I had to take the sawsall battery into the house and put it on the charger.

Second, working on the ground is not easy but we got the job done. We may or may not have lost control of the guts and they may or may not have ended up sliding around all over.  During this process I may or may not have yelled, "Ohmigosh I think I just stepped on someone's kidney! EW!"  And also, "Awoogala-woogla-woogla! Look I got a lung! EW!"

We eventually contained all the guts. The dogs couldn't get enough of this part. They sat watching from the dog yard, enraptured by the going's on.

Then we got the Bacon Wagon of DOOM and hauled the first carcass up the hill, halved it with the now-charged sawsall, and hung it from a tree like a lovely meat pinata. We did this so the carcass would cool as quickly as possible. After congratulating ourselves we marched back down the hill for pig two.

The next pig fell just inside the pen which was not perfect. So we got the 'come along' and hand cranked him out of the pen into our work space and onto the Bacon Wagon of DOOM. This worked much better and someone please remind me to do this again next time. It was extremely difficult to get that big of a pig onto the trolley but it was worth the effort. If we had a big tractor we could have just hung him from there. But we don't so we just old schooled it.

It was a lot of meat. What's for dinner? Pork. For the rest of the year. Every day.

Pig Two was hauled up the hill and we commenced with the skinning. It went mostly well. I gave myself a C+ for skinning that one. Not perfect but it went OK and didn't take very long. We used the sawsall to cut the carcass in half (length-wise) and then hung the halves from another tree.

Normally we would have hung the pork halves in the garage. However, the garage is full of dusty and stinky meat chickens who require heat lamps. A bad combination for meat hanging. So we took a chance and just left them outside. It worked out very well. The only downside was that it was very windy that night and some dust and pine needles fell on the carcasses. But not bad. I don't think we should have covered them because you really want all the heat to get out of the carcass. It was easy to trim those "dirty" parts off and really I'm over stating how much there was. I just wanted to get this in my notes.

Skinning the second carcass (which was the first pig up the hill) was a misery. You know all those videos showing people skinning a deer or whatnot while it's hanging? Yeah. That is for the birds. Did not work at all. We were both covered in ick and I was too embarrassed by such a sucky job that there was no way I was taking those bacons into the butcher. I am not trying that again.

And then that was it. We cleaned up ourselves and our work area. Took the tenderloins into the house and fried them up in a pan.

The next morning we started the parting up process. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, these pigz were much bigger than we thought. My hubs put each half - gutted, de-headed, and skinned - at about 150 pounds each. They were VERY big.We should have butchered them about a month earlier but due to extremely warm weather - than me being sick a couple weeks - we just couldn't do it. Next time we will try to go for "earlier" rather than "later."

Usually there are some questions so I'll cover them here:

Was it gross?
Nope. It was glorious. I think it's interesting and we make a lot of stupid jokes to break the tension.

Didn't we feel bad killing those piggy-wiggies?
Nope. Not even.... especially since they ran off. They had it coming and I know how to hold a grudge.

But..but... those cute little faces....

NO!  No, we did not feel bad at all. Those pigz were full of meat and we would either lose our entire investment of money, time, feed in them and let it all go to waste or we could get out there and get the job done. We are "job done" kind of people. So we did. We are also fully determined not to go back to store meat.  So we were highly motivated to get our food.

Was there any crying?
Nope. But I think I saw a tear in Kai's eye when I handed her a huge, fresh bone.

Any PTSD from this?
No. None. I sleep well and full of pork.

To get a full picture of our History of Hog Harvests, the tools we used, and other more detailed descriptions of other porkocalypses you can read here:

Hog Harvest 2010
Hog Harvest 2011
Hog Harvest 2012
Hog Harvest 2013
Hog Harvest 2014

The number one reason folks find and read my blog is to learn about butchering. My goal is to make sure you know that you - yes you - real people can and should raise and butcher their own meat. Can you raise pigz and butcher them in your yard? Yes you can! We are just regular people. If we can do it than you can do it. Come on now.... if you are toying with the idea of raising pigz this year then I am here to tell you that yes you can! Yay meat!

Happy Wednesday everyone. How did your hog harvest go? Did you do that Kali Ma scene?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Smoke gets in your eyes.... bacon smoke!

Yesterday was bacon smoking day.... it was glorious!

Just like heaven.

I had the smoker stuffed full of home cured bacon...

The "before"....cured but not smoked.

.... add some apple wood smoke and it was intoxicating.

Action shot.

...and then it was done. 

I have one more round of bacons to smoke today then I'll be able to concentrate on the dry cured pancetta I have hanging all over the basement.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, January 18, 2016


There is an old Amish saying that if the windchill gets below -10* then just go ahead and eat all the carbs you want and sit around and watch the NetFlix. Pretty sure it's on old Amish saying...or maybe I said it. Anyway.... look what I did!

Brioche, baby, yeah!

Thanks to my friend, E., I've been obsessed with the BBC's latest historical how-to show, Victorian Bakers. This is the same kind of terrific show that we all loved such as, Edwardian Farm, Victorian Farm, etc.  But instead of having historians actually live 'back in the day' they have four modern day bakers using techniques starting back in 1840. It's fascinating.

It's also encouraged me to go on a carb rampage. First, I just had to make that cottage loaf from episode 1... and then, instead of the buns from episode 2, I made a brioche dough and arranged it into little buns. Kind of the same thing. I couldn't really find a good reference for the buns... and in fact, I had no idea that the British made them so popular. So brioche.

I've made it before and it never turns out. This time I put some real effort into it. After hunting around the interweb I found and used this recipe for the ratios. The other recepies either had a ridiculous amount of eggs or were just too large. I didn't want a billion brioche buns... just some.

But when it came to technique I turned to Rose Levy Beranbaum author of The Bread Bible. Rose and I have a difficult relationship. I have no doubt she is always right... but that attitude comes thru in her book. I also bristle against "all science and no love" in cooking. I always tend toward teachers who instruct you to notice how it looks and feels and smells... rather than the exact, well measured quantities.

Also if you are a beginner you'd just slam this book closed and walk away. Too many steps, too complicated, too many rules.  A 36 hour recipe? NO WAY. But if you know that it's just a series of steps that you will get used to, and fold into your day, then you can have the confidence to follow the the many many steps in this book. And if you don't do everything exactly perfect? Well you still have bread so that is fine too.

To be fair, my loosey-goosey way of doing things would send Rose into fits.

The key to my success this time was that when I took the dough out of the fridge the next morning I made one batch after it had risen about an hour. They were OK but not really light and fluffy. So I let the second batch rise several hours. Also I used my instant read thermometer to check the temperature and boy was I glad that I did. The second batch ended up taking about 10 minutes longer but the extra time really worked. Success!

Today is also bacon smoking day. I've got the smoker fired up and am about to go and put on some apple wood and set the bacons on their path to glory. Someone ask me if making bacon really is that easy? Yep. And if you don't have it you really really need Ruhlman's Charcuterie. Can't you just look it up how-to online? Yep. But you need the full picture. Also the rest of the chapters explain the how's and why's to give you a bigger picture and give you confidence.

Bacons cured but not yet smoked. Soon.

Lots of folks give pause to the bacon making process - or get lost in the many many methods out there. But Ruhlman really lays it out in a good step by step plan.

Happy Monday everyone! Is your day about brioche and bacon? Are you staying warm in the mini-polar vortex? It was -11* this morning!

Editors note: Affiliate linkss again? Yep. If I can get enough sales then I can buy In The Charcuterie and then tell you all about it! Don't forget -  I'm supposed to tell you that I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - one of these books, movies, or something you need from Amazon anyway.  Do you need anything Amazon? You can support this blog by just clicking one of these links. Or using the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. It doesn't cost you once cent more but helps me with the "cost" of this blog. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. Thanks!

Friday, January 15, 2016

All's well that ends.... with bacon.

My victory is complete! Feast your eyes on this!  Running off isn't so funny NOW is it, porkers?

Tastes like victory. 

I went and picked up the bacons today..... what a great day!  I drove off happier than ever. It ended up that we only took in a total of 50lbs of bacon and ham. I think we normally have taken in more than that. The total cost for cured, smoked, and vacuum packed was $75. We thought it was a fair price and we are glad to pay extra for the better packaging.

There was an old timer in there picking up at least 800 pounds of beef. He turned to me gesturing at all that meat, winked, and said, "Serves her right for not having a calf!"  His wife looked mortified but I was glad that other folks have my same sense of farm humor.

Bacon song..... it's it beautiful?

You know it's been a weird week. A lot of hard things happened. It started with the neighbor's tree falling on our dog moat  - which destroyed the fence - and it ended with the loss of one of my favorite little ducks due to varmintry...and on top of all of that - winter finally showed up.

In the middle of all of these shenanigans the facebook account belonging to one Brunhilda Goosenstein got shut down... probably due to another sort of varmintry.

Thank you to everyone who came looking for me. I especially loved all the email and notes... and supportive comments. If you were wondering where I was you can find me here at the official facebook OFG blogger page.

The problem with this kind of facebook page is that it's for businesses. So it's not like your personal page. Unless my pals "like" and "comment" on the posts then you won't see all of my updates in your feed - just some of them.

I could pay the facebook so that everyone sees every post that I make.. but honestly. I'm pretty sure no one is that gripped by the goings on.  And I don't have enough pocket money to guarantee that everyone sees which TV show I'm watching right now (but it's this one.)

It's also hard to hold a conversation because of the way the comments sort. But worst of all.... I can't read your personal pages. So I can't give anyone encouraging "yay's" or ask about your dogs. I'm really wondering how Cziva is tho, so if anyone can tag her momma, I'd love an update. And a picture.

You'll remember this happened before....me and the facebook have danced previously.

Is my day ruined? Am I gonna "do" anything?


Angry people are their own poison. I don't even have to "do" anything... they eventually will just rot from the inside. So as usual I'm just going to go on with my own life, make fun of certain people to my real friends, and never think about those people again. 

Bacon always looks like it is smiling you at. Bacon always loves you. Yay bacon!

In the meantime I'm trying to work it out with the facebook but you know that I have bad blood with them already.

Someone somewhere might be thinking they really got one over on me... But they don't have a freezer full of bacon that tastes like victory!

Happy Friday everyone!  Did you actually just pay $3 for some store tomatoes so you can make a BLT? Did you butcher that bacon from the carcass of your enemy while you yelled, "RUNNING OFF ISN'T SO FUNNY NOW, IS IT PORKERS!?!!?".... cuz I did.

Monday, January 11, 2016

This was happening in the kitchen....

This is what was happening in the kitchen yesterday......

Cats. On the hunt. 

Apparently it's not just me who deals with mice living in the drawer of the stove. We all keep lids in there and wash the mouse footie prints off them all the time. Ew!

But Bitty, Nicholas, and Little Mo heard a mouse so they all set out on the hunt. It went on for a long time.

There was a lot of shrieking. All of it by me.

My husband finally had to come and take the lid-free drawer outside and we thought we were safe.


A little while later I heard weird noise and ran out to see.........Little Mo the victor!!

Our most tender cat.

I couldn't believe it. Our most tender cat, the most mild, gentle, and sensitive little one.... Little Mo who was The World's Worst Barncat was the one who caught the mouse!

It must have been all that coaching from Nicholas.

Whatever spurred Little Mo to bloodlust - it worked. He is now asking us to call him by his gangster name, The Notorious Mo-zee.

We'll see about that.

I wasn't entirely surprised about the mouse invasion. The weather turned yesterday and so now we finally will get winter. No one is happy ... except for the cats. The Season of the Hunt is on!

Happy Monday everyone! Do you have a mouse in your house? Did your most gentle cat get it and then go all gangster on you?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Marooned with meat...and musings.

I didn't finish it. The meat. I didn't get it done yesterday. Today I am marooned with meat.

Honestly I'm tired of looking at meat... but I can't get enough of Little Mo's paws...

Yesterday I was positive I would be done with all this meat. I could see the light at the end of the meat tunnel when...... My husband called and I had to go and get him because of work tomfoolery. It took most of the afternoon. Then today he had to take my car.... so here I am stranded. Marooned with meat.

 This happened yesterday. How cute is this? Those are Kai's paws on top and Ti's on the bottom. 
They slept like this for a while - with their feet touching. 

My friend, A., gave me that title. I'm going to write a book called Marooned With Meat. It's gonna be about a gal who is shipwrecked on an island which happens to be inhabited by wild pigz. She makes ever effort to live peacefully with the pigz... but they are too damn stinky and they keep terrorizing her.

Finally, she can't take it one more second and goes on a violent and victorious one-woman war against the pigz which results in a lot of pork chops. The King Pigz seeks vengeance and just when all hope is lost.... The Dog Horde swoop in and repel down from Blackhawk helos piloted by cats and... and.... apparently I've put way to much thought into this.

All the meat is meddling with my mind. 

So today... TODAY is the day I will be done with all this meat. Or else.

In the meantime, has everyone run right out and bought a superduperpowerlotto ticket? We are gonna win, I just know it. I may have given up on my hopes of becoming the Grand Poobah of Goosenstein. I have a new plan now. Someone get on the horn to Elon Musk of SpaceX and tell him if I win I'm going to make a major investment.

In return I want a job there. Not a hard job - but more like a ceremonial one like I'm the guy who says, "Hey we need more free snacks and drinks in the staff kitchen on the 3rd floor." Or something like that. But I want to be paid a lot of money to work there in return for my big investment. Elon could probably do more good with all that money and I'd probably do better if I had a reason to get up and put a clean shirt on every day. If I just lazed around all day things could get bad.

Just in case you win, here is a great tutorial of what you should do. I have our escape all planned out also.... I'm going to charter a jet to fly me and the dogs and cats to a secure location,  have someone meet me at a private airfield, then we will  jump in a black SUV, and zoom off to parts unknown. My husband will be the one to claim the jackpot then he can meet us at an undisclosed location...which may or may not be near the SpaceX headquarters. That's my plan. 

Happy Friday everyone! Are you done with all the meat yet? Today... today had better be the day I get done.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Pancetta and bacon day!

The downstairs fridge is like a clown car for meat... it just keeps coming. I thought I was done except for the bacons? Nope. I found another shoulder. Honestly. We may need another freezer!

Pancetta - look at it! Actually this is the fresh piece that will become pancetta.

Yesterday was pancetta and bacon day. This means I made the cure for bacon and got them all started. I need to turn cured pieces everyday and then next Monday I will start the drying process.... and then smoking or hanging.

I'm pretty excited. I probably should have taken one of the other bacons into the butcher... I think I worked on about 20 pounds of belly yesterday.

Can you make bacon yourself? Sure! It's easy and fun. Here are some links so you can see how it's done. My only regret is that another year has passed and I still don't have a proper smoke house.

How to make bacon and pancetta

How to cure bacon - step by step

Bacon making tool list

Even more bacon making how-to's!

Smoking bacon - what it looks like

The most beautiful pancetta ever

What have I learned over the years of making bacon?

1. It's easier than you think. Don't freak yourself out. Just get the right tools and a good book.

2. Don't have pigz? Then go and order a fresh pork belly from your local butcher - or grocery store - and give it a try.

3. But you don't have the right set up? Oh for heavens sakes... there is a way to do it in your oven. You won't get the smokiest bacon ever but that is fine too.

4. But won't you die? Well. Considering that Chipolte is under a criminal investigation for their food practices... I'm pretty sure you may be safer making your own food.

5. So, why don't we do all the bacons ourselves?  My husband like the butcher bacon better for more traditional-style breakfast bacon. I like our homestyle bacon for cooking. We also don't have a slicer and I just can't get our bacons that thin. So we do half and half.

Today, I swear by heaven that I will be done with all this meat. However, we are getting pretty tight on space in the freezers. Yikes!  The pigz were bigger than we thought so we are kind of in a pickle. We'll work it out but thank you, all my pal's on 'the facebook' for generously offering to take some of this meat off my hands. Ha!

Happy Thursday everyone! Are you STILL processing meat? Did you cure your bacon?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Organic Refrigeration

One of the reasons we like to butcher when it's cold is that we can use our Organic Refrigeration....

We are gonna start selling organic refrigeration and make millions.Yes, we think we are hilarious.

Yep. We just put all that meat out on the deck. We filled up the beer fridge and we can't get anything else into our kitchen fridge...but still had tons of meat left.  So we put it in tubs and set it out on the deck.

Zander thought all the meat was amazing... he drooled all day.

Setting food outside is tricky business. I obsessively checked the internal meat temperature all day yesterday. It hovered just above 32* even tho the air temperature dipped into the 20*'s the meat did not freeze at all. But having the meat that cold made it easy to part up. I used those food grade five gallon buckets to hold the good bones, fat, and meat to grind later. Worked perfectly.

I have a lot more work to do today - and then grinding day will be tomorrow.  I'll get into the details when I get a second to sit down. But wow! What a hog harvest!

Happy Monday everyone! Are you driving your dogs nuts by having all that meat just sitting out there on the deck where they can see it? So close and yet so far?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It's a big ol' bacon.

I cut this from the belly of mine enemy.... there will be bacon. Oh yes there will be....

That's one of my heavy duty half sized baking sheets. That bacon is huge. 

Working on more meat today.... more details later when all of this pork is in the freezer.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

It was a good day.

Those pigz don't think that running off is so dang funny anymore. Yesterday was a good day.

My axe served me mightly and mine enemy fell. Bubby thought it was awesome. 

We had a huge dinner of extremely fresh pork last nite. Today will be more of the same.

Happy New Year everyone! Did you get out there and teach them pigz a lesson? All day we made stupid jokes about "See if you run off again!"  We thought we were hilarious.

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