Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Saubles

My kind of quotes ;)

Just received the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog in the mail! The best part about this season is when the darkest day of the year is past, and you can look forward to spring, green things growing, and baby animals being born.

Enjoy these quotes from the catalog :P

"Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses." ~ George Washington Carver

"Let us never forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization." ~ Daniel Webster

"No other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture." ~ Abraham Lincoln

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help." ~ Ronald Reagan

"The federal government has sponsored research that has produced a tomato that is perfect in every respect, except that you can't eat it. We should make every effort to make sure this disease, often referred to as 'progress', doesn't spread." ~ Andy Rooney

"Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt." ~ Herbert Hoover

"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." ~ Dwight David Eisenhower

As young adults and adults, are you going to make excuses for why you aren't doing your share to make this country a better place, plead ignorance, or are you going to do what you can with what you have?... make sacrifices... you will be able to accomplish what you set your heart on, if God is with you.

Vote with your food dollar. Read, study, and never stop learning about the Truth. Educate your family and friends. Plant a garden. Support farmers in your community who are fighting for what is right, even when it comes at great cost to themselves. They need our help and defense against our oppressive government.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Veggies on the Brain

Okay, so I went and had a frappucchino the other day...

... the following day, I went to the grocery store, and started craving Brussels' Sprouts. Now, never before have I even enjoyed the taste of that vegetable.

That tells you something about how utterly repulsive sugar and coffee must seem to a body that is not used to having them regularly.

I also had this deep sense of need for cauliflower, bell peppers, cilantro, broccoli, spinach and carrots. :P

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Death of Hand Labor

I just watched a YouTube video that I don't feel comfortable posting, but the guy really had a lot of good things to say about how groups like PETA and workers' unions are detrimental to our society. Their war has turned farmers into criminals and caused the devaluation of good, honest work, while no one would dare to say that anything bad has come out of the technology industry. We have forgotten the benefits of skilled labor. All innovation without imitation is not healthy.

Yes, I'm all fired up again.

*Dishwashers wash our dishes
*Washing machines and dryers clean and dry our clothes
*Microwaves cook our food
*Factory farms grow our meat, and stores present it in neat little packages... precooked even, if you prefer
*Garbage trucks take away our trash while we sip our morning coffee... from a coffee maker
*Power outages cause folks to run to the local grocery stores en masse
*Automatic lighters and gas 'fireplaces'
*Laptops, blackberries, and iphones (I hope I'm naming these right, lol!) are more common than penmanship and proper spelling
*We have milk replacer, egg replacer, meat replacer, butter alternatives, sugar substitutes, artificial flavor... what's next, food replacer? I'm going to die of heart disease 'cause I use animal fat instead of Crisco?
*Schools to teach our kids
*Hospitals to heal our ear infections
*Stores to provide our food and clothes
*Theaters to entertain us
*Delivery vehicles for pizza, online shopping, mail, catering... you name it

...where are the mothers?

I'm not saying I don't personally use most of the afore-mentioned conveniences (since my family is still quite sane and have not followed me off the deep end as of yet), but I'm trying to command your attention: what is wrong with this picture?

The movies that most disturb me are Wall-E and Star Wars... who would want to live in a world like that? Don't you see that we are going down the fast lane in that direction? Deep down, none of us wants to live in a sterile environment with an out-of-control government taking away freedom AND responsibility, but that's what has happened... we are not better off, are we? Our day-to-day decisions have consequences.

All the 'dirty' jobs are being devalued. Things like butchering, mucking cow stalls, castrating animals, digging in dirt, sweating under a house to fix a leaky pipe, dealing with garbage... who on earth in their right mind would tell their school advisor, "Guess what I want to be when I grow up! A farmer!"

It is no longer honorable. Even jobs like construction, plumbing, and car repairman may be decreasing in workers. Trade schools are decreasing in enrollment.

Those who make their own soap, butcher their own meat, cook every meal from scratch are viewed as 'quaint' and 'old-fashioned'. "Our society doesn't need those things any more. Don't keep looking to the past, but towards the future! Be SOMEbody, do something that the world deems IMPORTANT."

Some of my dreams would be disturbing to the majority of you, as their content isn't rated G. It's the real world that I am starting to live in, and it's not a world of sanitary packaging and the latest movie rating. I talk about manure and earthworms and animal breeding. Years down the road I hope to be talking of cisterns, natural treatment of animal diseases, and just how important a trillion gut bugs are to your health.

My opinionatedness (if that is even a word) may get me in trouble, but more likely laughed at... but it's okay. We all have to stand before God someday and be held to account for what we did with our lives and the call of His Spirit. May God bless the guy that I marry. He's going to need it. :P

The pendulum is swinging back in the other direction. I want to be on the forefront of the battle for common-sense, God-honoring land and animal husbandry, consumer responsibility, and nutrient-dense real food. Like Esther: who knows but whether I was put in this place for such a time as this?

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Ain't Right in the Head

Why am I up so late?

It has been a down-and-dirty last few days.

It seems that a conversation with a friend, scripture verses, and seeing first-hand what can happen on online forums has changed the way I view the internet.

Don't go public.

There's times where posting on forums and talking online may be useful, but do the benefits outweigh the costs?

You have a better chance of meeting real people if you meet them in reality... face-to-face. It's easier to sort through the fake ones when you look them in the eye and watch how they live and work.

Also on my mind is relationships. God sent His son to die for that person that I have such a hard time loving. Why is it so painful for me to do likewise? Still, when there is a person that hates your guts, isn't it perhaps a good idea to distance yourself from that person, as long as in your own heart you deal with any bitterness towards them, and learn to hate what they do, not who they are? I need some godly counsel right now.

Then there are embarrassing moments... they happen to me far often than I feel is entirely necessary. Ahem. "God, um, I get the picture already... humble pie starts getting tasteless after a few bites." It might help to have a sister who could drag me by the arm into a corner to say, "Um, you might want to fix that, er, problem."

Because I am soooo not detail-oriented. I see the big picture, and throw proper grammar, etiquette and caution out the window. I'll probably have a big ol' messy house someday with a houseful of kids that probably need more hair brushing and ironing of pants, but hopefully with a thousand different ideas, projects, changes happening all the time, friends and family invited over spur-of-the-moment, and an open mind to all that God would have in store for us, even if it isn't cookie cutter perfect and we make mistakes in the process.

Why aren't more people vision-oriented? To be honest, it drives me up the wall to live in a family that doesn't like change, and has a hard time dealing with spontaneous events. I guess without more people like my family us visionaries would create a chaotic world in short order.

Oh, good news! God has provided me with a substitute teaching job for four months starting in January. This will mean I am teaching a total of 24 piano students three full days a week. I am blessed that this teacher would consider me for the position, and her students will be a true joy to spend time with.

I'm also praying about selling our Holstein whom we bought for a temporary calf-milk supply, and purchasing a premium Jersey who will benefit from and remain healthy on the intensive grazing system that I am slowly implementing.

That said, my family does not wish to grasp the same farming vision, and tension among the ranks leads me to the conclusion that next year I must set aside most of my dreams. God knows my desires, but is not obligated to fulfill them. He wants my whole heart, and He will be found by me when I seek Him, so I don't need to fear the uncertain future.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Vanity, thy name is Woman

Shucks, it's just so much fun to capture photos!

This is the photographer of the following photos, my gorgeous little sister Abigail.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why Farmers Are Often Lean...

Posted by Picasa

A typical morning goes something like this...

1. Walk slowly down the stairs at 6 AM.
2. Open the gate for the three milk cows.
3. Sprint back to house for the forgotten milk jars. Hopefully the cows remain happy while you're gone.
4. Sprint back to the barn to milk the three cows.
5. Dodge 6 wet tail slaps, jump up to rescue the milk pail from a well-aimed kick.
6. Get up every 5 minutes to either dodge or scoop certain presents from the three cows.
7. Return three cows to the barn.
8. Fill calf bottles with milk and jog to the calf barn from which you have been hearing three calves moo in unison every 10 seconds the entire time you've been milking.
9. Vault over the stall door twice to rescue calf bottle lids which an overeager calf yanked off in its' happiness over being fed.
10. Climb the stack of hay bales to fork hay to the calves.
11. Carry three bales of hay to the cow barn.
12. Wheel a bale of alfalfa to the cow barn.
13. Get stuck in the mud and lose your boot.
14. Carry alfalfa to the calves.
15. Turn on the water for the cows.
16. Carry a bucket of water to the calves.
17. Haul two wheelbarrows of wood shavings to the cows. Lose your other boot to the mud's evil designs.
18. Chase after the Holstein that escaped out the open gate while your back was turned.
19. Chase the said Holstein out of the barn when she tries to hog all the food.
20. Sprint over to turn off the water which is now overflowing the trough.
21. Refill the bucket which the calves knocked over.
22. Skim cream for the days' customers.
23. Clean up the milk parlor.
24. Walk leisurely back to the house for a home-cooked meal.
25. Sprint back out to the milk parlor because you forgot to bring milk in for breakfast.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

100th Post


Thank y'all for commenting on my blog posts over the past two years (and putting up with the random photos and my sometimes morbid sense of humor ;) ). I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them :D It means a lot to have friends with whom I can share the big and small events of my life.

If you comment on this post, I will respond and tell you:

1. When was the first time I met you, and what thoughts crossed my mind.
2. What I think is your best quality.
3. One memory I have of you.

As a bonus, I'll also try to guess your favorite color :D

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Turkeys

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

It was the spring of hope... was the winter of despair.

It was the year of Our Lord, two thousand and ten.

It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of Sherwood Oregon, there were growing trees already marked by the woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history.

There were a turkey of good build named Bruno and a turkey lacking one eye named Susanna on Shiloh Knoll Farm.

They had everything before them,

and nothing before them.

They were both going direct to heaven...

...they were both going direct the other way.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ways to Increase Vocal Range - secrets revealed

Ways to increase vocal range:

(note: I have tried many of these with great success)

1. Have your singing partner alternate between stomping on your toes and calling you names.
2. Try to shift pages 5, 6 and 7 on top of 1, 2, 3, and 4 while accompanying on the piano, singing, and helping out the flute player.
3. Milk the cows in shorts and a tank top during snow season, then make sure you infect all of the basses with pneumonia.
4. Helium works wonders...
5. Find out your little sisters used your handmade quilt for their outdoor tea party... and left it on a dirt patch in the rain all night. Confront them.
6. Falsetto opera. Lots of vibrato.
7. Mind meld with Tim Storms.
8. Sing with a clarinet player who doesn't know how to transpose.
9. Sopranos can pretend they are outstanding counter-tenors.
10. Put the said sopranos on a caffeine and sugar diet at midnight.

I am available for personal consultation on these singing methods. $50 an hour with a materials fee, ask for my lesson policy and sign-up sheet.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

21st Birthday

Thanks, God, for these years of life and the friends and experiences you have given me.

I've kind of liked being born in the odd month of November. It is a month of Thanksgiving and remembrance.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Preparing to be a Helpmeet

I had read a few excerpts from Debi Pearl's previous work, 'Created to be his Help Meet', but this was the first book I read all the way through. I could spend a lot of time nit-picking, but I'll try to be as objective as possible.

'Preparing to be a Help Meet' by Debi Pearl

My book review:

The first chapter talks about Mrs. Pearl's own love story, how she knew from age 13 who would be her husband (that's a leeetle creepy), while the second shares the story of another girl who chose to believe God and the godly advice of her parents and begin courting a man she had barely met, and certainly did not have strong feelings for. Both stories ended in a happy marriage, testimony to the importance of trusting God with your life and listening to Him above all other voices.

Chapters 3-7 describes the three dominant characteristics that define men, and what these 'softened' characteristics look like in women. Prophet, Priest and King are echoed by Dreamer, Servant and Go-to Gal. The purpose of this is to help ladies who are strong in a certain area to learn how these roles will either help or hinder their husband once they marry - i.e., if you are a dominant Go-to Gal, you will definitely need to work on submission, especially if paired with a King-type guy. These steriotypes are very helpful, but life is not usually so cut-and-dry.

The following chapters share a lot of random stories, all to teach various lessons, but a few are so weird I didn't know what to make of them. Pearl seems to contradict herself in several areas:

1. According to the author, we single ladies are to somehow subtly let the guys know of our interest - hidden 'wallflowers' tend to get overlooked - yet don't give anyone but the guy you will marry the time of day or e-mail guys??? (Texting with guys is of the devil, after all...). Unlike Mrs. Pearl who just knew from God from an early age exactly who her intended was, most of us simply don't know for sure whom we will marry until that day comes. We can't live our life avoiding guys until God drops a man in our lap and thunder booms as we hear a voice say, "this is the one!".

2. Women who do not get married are somehow 'less than a woman' and not able to 'fulfill our God-given purpose'. This in contradiction to later chapters where she seems to be saying that it is perfectly okay to be single and serving the Lord.

3. There is a chapter about 'Fleas': Mrs. Pearl and another lady are described as examples where they were not submitting to their husbands, and God sent 'plagues' on them (spiders and fleas) each time they sinned. She uses this to threaten all of us ladies if we don't repent of our rebellion and wickedness that God will use these methods to punish us... hmm.

4. Debi Pearl tells single ladies that if they are just good enough (become Miss Right), God will send them Mr. Right in due time. I'm not foolish enough to believe that I will ever become so godly that I will reach the level where I 'deserve' marriage, or have all my ducks in a row. That is not the pattern of this fallen world. I will seek after righteousness and reach perfection in heaven, because of Christ's saving work in my life, not because of anything I do on my own merit. It is also too easy to try to be 'good' so that God will just have to give me what I want. How wrong that is. We seek after holiness because God is holy, and we desire with everything that is in us to be more like Him!

The book is worth reading, however, for the chapters entitled 'The Power of Stinking Thinking' and 'What say the Men?'. It is far too easy after marriage to sink into wrong thinking about our situation and husband, and sin against God by our critical spirit. Great warning to all of us as we look ahead and seek to prepare our hearts for battle. 'What say the Men?' tells ladies what men look for in a wife. Thankfulness and appreciation of her man. A woman who does not keep score making sure her husband does his equal duty. A hard-working lady to walk along side him. Respectful. Joyful. Affirmative (positive - the opposite of critical).

All-in-all, a very strange mixture of ultra-conservative and surprisingly charismatic views. Lots of scripture is used, but a couple times it is taken out of context, so be discerning as you read it. I totally agreed with her chapter on girls gathering knowledge of health and life skills. Very applicable.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Sheer Ecstasy of being a Lunatic Farmer

Absolutely hilarious new book from 'my hero' ;) My thoughts exactly, put into an eye-catching title.

Here's my book review:

"The Sheer Ecstasy of being a Lunatic Farmer' - by Joel Salatin

Since writing his first book 'Pastured Poultry Profits' in 1993, his experience speaking at conferences, expanding his farm, learning certain methods that work better than his early models, and having many other book-writing experiences under his belt have led to a mature new work that is aimed at the same audience of the movies 'Fresh' and 'Food Inc.' without losing Salatin's normal flair for the extreme sarcasm and word pictures that make one laugh.

Vision is what we need, and people who are willing to look beyond the moment and work to impact future generations for the better.

While there were several new concepts that he addressed in this book that I do not remember being covered in earlier works, Salatin definitely reviews a lot of material. The only issue I take with this newest book is that Joel Salatin is so successful, that those of us who are just starting our endeavors may feel discouraged at not being able to implement everything right off the bat, since Joel makes a huge case for each proven method being vital to a healthy and functional farm - and they are, yet it has taken many years and a huge learning curve in order for him to refine the system. A beginner has a harder time relating to Salatin's works the better and more successful he becomes, in my opinion. Still, if one has a will to keep trying, and become more and more innovative, there is no reason this book will discourage you.

I'll end with a great quote from the book...

From the chapter 'White Collar Farmer'

"I've heard that if your vision can be accomplished in your lifetime, it's too small. Few things excite me as much as meeting sharp young people who want to be farmers. I see it as a reversal of a trend, and a linchpin in the healing of our country. May thousands and thousands of sharp, clever young people join this profitable vocation: lunatic farming. It's noble. It's sacred. It's a great living. It's wonderful scenery. It's a great place to raise kids.

Enjoying this life and encouraging the best and brightest to join in is the sheer ecstasy of being a lunatic farmer."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Apple Dumplings!

Okay, I am totally sold on using leaf lard for pie crusts. It is so easy and the pastry dough rolls out like a dream - tons better than Crisco (not to mention healthier...)!

1 C. lard
1/2 C. boiling water
3 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt

Pour boiling water over room-temperature lard and mix. Then add the flour and salt and mix. Divide into about 12 balls of dough and roll each ball into a thin round on a well-floured cutting board.

12 small apples, peeled, spiraled and cored
Sugar (I use Turbinado)

Mix a good amount of cinnamon into about a cup of sugar. Roll each apple well in the sugar mix (my brothers say more sugar is better ;) ).

Place each apple on a pastry round, and gather the dough up around the entire apple. Pinch well to seal.

Place apples in a glass baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes (or until a fork poke shows that the apple is soft enough).

Serve with fresh cow cream :D

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Honey Harvest!

Here's some liquid gold for ya!

You don't realize how I've dreamed of this day since I was a little girl. It's like God has literally given me a taste of Canaan - the land flowing with milk and honey.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Don't Waste Your Life

Ever read the book 'Don't Waste Your Life' by John Piper?

Piper spends chapters explaining how a wasted life is one that is spent searching for pleasure in all the wrong places. Like retirement leisure, sports, friends, etc. "Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of ever pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. That is what the next chapter is about.

God loves us by putting us through trials and pain, so that by learning to place our faith in Him, truest joy (happiness) will be ours. The path of the cross is an ugly, brutal, often deadly road. By our life and our death, do we honor God and show the world that He is worth living (and dying) for?

Whenever something is of tremendous value to you, and you cherish its beauty or power or uniqueness, you want to draw others' attention to it and waken in them the same joy. That is why Paul's all-consuming goal in life was for Christ to be magnified. Christ was of infinite value to Paul, and so Paul longed for others to see and savor this value. That is what it means to magnify Christ - to show the magnitude of his value.

It's a radical concept - when we are happy in God, we are glorifying Him. "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever" goes hand-in-hand.

The chapter that hit me the most was "Living to Prove He Is More Precious than Life"...

Of course, we do not use the word cool to describe true greatness. It is a small word. That's the point. It's cheap. And it's what millions of young people live for. Who confronts them with urgency and tears? Who pleads with them not to waste their lives? Who takes them by the collar, so to speak, and loves them enough to show them a life so radical and so real and so costly and Christ-saturated that they feel the emptiness and triviality of their CD collection and their pointless conversations about passing celebrities? Who will waken what lies latent in their souls, untapped - a longing not to waste their lives?

Oh, that young and old would turn off the television, take a long walk, and dream about feats of courage for a cause ten thousand times more important than American democracy - as precious as that is. If we would dream and if we would pray, would not God answer? Would he withhold from us a life of joyful love and mercy and sacrifice that magnifies Christ and makes people glad in God? I plead with you, as I pray for myself, set your face like flint to join Jesus on the Calvary road. "Let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:13-14) When they see our sacrificial love - radiant with joy - will they not say, "Christ is great"?

At the end of the road, will we show only a wasted life?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Winter Herbal Remedies

Do you know how to make some common herbal remedies?

Most people I talk to aren't sure where to start. It is incredibly easy and safe, however, so don't be afraid to try!

Winter cold and flu season is coming up, so I thought I'd post a couple cost-effective natural herbal medicines that you can make at home...

Elderberry Tincture

1. Put 1/2 C. of dried whole ripe Black Elderberries (sambucas nigras) in a glass pint canning jar. Fresh berries can be used, however you will need 190 proof alcohol.
2. Add enough 90-100 proof vodka to cover the dried berries. Alternatives to alcohol include vinegar or vegetable glycerine. Alcohol is the most effective menstruum for drawing out the medicinal properties of the herbs, however.
3. Screw on the jar lid and place in a dark cupboard.
4. The next day, if the berries have swelled above the liquid level, add more menstruum (alcohol) to cover.
5. Every day for four weeks, shake jar once a day.
6. After four weeks, strain liquid through a strainer or cheesecloth into a dark glass storage bottle (with dropper is best). Compost the marc (used berries).

Typical adult dosage is 1-2 droppers 1-3 times per day. This remedy is extremely effective for boosting your immune system in general, and preventing the flu virus.

Decongestant Tea

1 T. dried yarrow leaves/flowers
1 T. dried peppermint leaves
1 T. dried elder flowers
pinch of cayenne pepper, or as much as you can stand ;)

Place dried herbs in a glass bowl or glass quart measuring cup. Pour 4 C. boiling water over the herbs and decoct (steep), covered with a glass plate, for at least 10 minutes. Drink throughout the day (with a little honey if needed).

As a general rule, when taking herbal medicine, only administer 6 days out of 7, taking a break one day a week so that your body can work through any buildup of certain substances like alkaloids.

Start at the smallest dose recommended, and increase slowly as you watch how your body responds to the treatment - people whose liver is not functioning well should certainly be more careful when using herbs.

*Disclaimer: you try these remedies at your own risk, I am simply sharing from experience, not as a licensed medical practitioner ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Music Finds

I've been researching Christmas music for specials at our church, and just have to share some with y'all...

'Wexford Carol' choral arrangement by John Rutter
'Mary, Did You Know?' a capella with Rescue
'Veni, Veni, Emmanuel' sung by the Kings Singers (this one is on my playlist)
'Born on a New Day' ditto
'I Wonder as I Wander' ditto... okay, I like these guys. They have skill.

The 'Normandy Carol' is another relatively unknown gem, and thus I cannot find a good vocal arrangement. Here (after much digging) are the lyrics...

When wise men came seeking for Jesus from far,
With rich gifts to greet Him and led by a star,
They found in a stable the Savior of men,
A manger His cradle, so poor was He then.

Though laid in a manger, He came from a throne,
On earth though a stranger, in Heaven He was known.
How lowly, how gracious His coming to earth!
His love my love kindles to joy in His birth.

For piano, there is an early advanced book of arrangements by Phillip Keveren called 'A Celtic Christmas' - I HIGHLY recommend it. My favorites are 'What Child is This', 'Wexford Carol', and 'The Holly and the Ivy'.

The best advanced piano arrangements IMO are by Mark Hayes. In his newest Christmas book, 'Listen to Christmas', my favorites include the 'Listen for His Coming' medley, 'Mary, Did You Know?', and 'Coventry Carol'.

Do any of you have favorites you could share?

What is your favorite carol?

Butchering Season

Fall has come. My favorite season. I don't know why, perhaps I feel more at rest knowing there is less daylight and more time to be spent resting indoors than during the spring and summer. Mulching plants and harvesting, finishing up projects and making sure the barns are full and the animals will be cozy. Cool mornings of mist and fresh, clean air after a good rain wash away the heat and dusty dryness of summer.

"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."

Now about this post's 'lovely' title...

The last few weeks were a blur of activity: pigs, Chuck Roast, meat chickens and spent hens are finally in the freezer and the extras sold. With our good friends and neighbors, we held our second chicken butchering day of the year, and were able to butcher a few turkeys as well (you haven't seen guts 'till you've eviscerated a 30 lb tom!). Yes, heartless is my middle name ;)

No really, I was blessed to watch or participate in all of the fall butchering and processing that goes with it.

I learned how delicious old stewing hens are when put in a roaster and boiled for 12 hours or so, then the broth is poured off and saved for chicken soup (including all that nutritious fat!)while the tender, flavorful meat is taken off the bones and saved for use in meals.

Also, when you ask the abattoir for the 'leaf fat' from around pigs' kidneys, he will be impressed and more than willing to give them to you for a song. Render these pieces with a bit of water, and you are left with pure white lard for making pastry crusts. Then ask for the fatback and render that as well. It is brownish in color, and will surely taste like pork, but I can't wait to use it as well.

Then there's tallow and beef gelatin, which you can obtain from the boxes of bones that you reserve from your beef steer - I use the tallow exclusively for soap-making, as it is a lovely hard fat that makes a forgiving batch of soap. The beef gelatin my family abhors, but I love the smell and enjoy a savory French Onion soup come those cold winter evenings!

'Eat your heart out' takes a new meaning when you marinate and cook up a beef heart. Pretty disgusting if you allow yourself to think about what you are eating, but I can tell you it's better than liver.

I still haven't learned how to properly prepare liver. Chicken liver is better than beef, but still... yeck. Most of the animal organs go to the chickens who go nuts over them, as well as curded skim milk. Chickens will also clean up the area where butchering takes place, and even eat the feathers. Gross as it sounds (the little cannibals), it probably is not a big deal for omnivores to eat animal products, even of their own kind.

Forgive my ramblin' on! It is nice to wrap up these different projects and focus on the dairy business for a season.

God is good.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Once Upon A Time...

There was a cow named Jani.

She went to live with a family on a little farm in Oregon.

When she grew lonely of her solitary life, she was joined by Mattie.

The two became best of friends...

Mattie thought her human was okay, too.

They lived a good life, ate lots of good grass...

Roamed wide fields with their human...

And, of course, gave lots of yummy milk.

But Mattie and Jani needed a boyfriend...

Unfortunately, the one they found was a dork named Fred...

But it turned out all right in the end, and Cocoa and Chestnut were born...

and another cute girl came to join them.

Then their peaceful Jersey lives were overturned by the arrival of...

a holstein named Nevada...

who liked to knock down fences.

Their lives would never be the same again...