Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Processes




We made an extra trip into town to pick up another freezer. There was no one to milk for me as I have weaned Sushi, for all intents and purposes, so it had to be a quick trip in order for us to get home at night in time to milk EmmaLouMoo. That is an interesting undertaking when 8 hours of the day will be spent just driving to town and back. Still, we managed to get all errands completed, picking up the freezer, livestock feed, a couple of food items we had missed previously, and even made a run to the bank in town to close out an account we haven’t used for several years. It’s pretty inconvenient when its a 4 hour trip one way to the bank.

While loading supplies in the horse trailer, which comes with us every trip, Randyman stepped back, tripped over a spare tire (actually, it was several spare tires. He hoards them) and fell on his keister. I have often accused him of having “Dick Clark Syndrome”. This is a condition in which a person remains ageless for about 90 years, as did the star of the famous American Bandstand of yesteryear. (The problem with this condition is that, eventually, all in one day, the affected person ages rapidly about 50 years, going from zero to old.)
 I was concerned, of course, to see him fall, but when he got back up, looked out the trailer door and asked me what the fender on a pickup truck parked down the way said...and he was trying to sound out the letters....I knew DCS was at work here. There were no letters. It was a 4x4 pick up truck that said “4x4”. 
I am no longer alone, feeling like a solitary, feeble minded, old wind bag. Misery loves company.

We spent more money than I wanted to in town...in fact, our entire monthly paycheck...on the first of the month. The good news is, this is February so we only have to wait another 27 days to get paid again.

Please note the obligatory “we” and “our” as in “our boss”, “our money” etc. (I think it is only fair to mention that it is he who makes the distinction of it being “my” horse, “my sheep”, and so on and so forth, but let me be on record, that I am more than willing to share the workload with him and allow him to help take care of them. Especially on those cold, windy days.) 

We did pick up pretty much all things that we need for now. One more shelter has to be built for SushiMoo as she does NOT like being out in the weather, much like her mother and grandmother. Being 1/2 beefer, I didn’t think she would mind so much, but she is a princess, if ever there was one. Poor “Hurry-Up Chuck” (the mystery steer we are feeding out) has to eat quickly, because Sushi has decided that the nicest, warmest, driest bed should be for her, which is of course, the feeder. If he isn’t done eating, she doesn’t care, she climbs in and flops down for a nap anyway, taking up every square millimeter. I’m a little surprised she doesn’t demand that he give her a pedicure while she is resting. She has that kind of snotty regal attitude.



Miss EmmaLouMoo is nothing, if not sweet and nice. As long as I remember to close the head-catch while she is in the milk room, all goes well. I managed to get the sheeples to follow me into the small area where the dogs eat and vaccinate them while they were in the midst of a feeding frenzy over a rare bucket of grain. They were so busy snarfing up food they hardly noticed when I hit them with the vaccine gun. The timing should be excellent as I see Rosemary and Salty are beginning to make little bags and should be lambing in about a month, while little Annie is becoming quite buxom for such a little goat.

Randy rearranged the two older freezers, so we now have 3 large upright freezers AND the milk fridge crammed in the tiny entry room. Now we will eat more beef. The boss has always supplied beef for the ranch, but it was all in a common location and their family is so large I never felt right using anything but some hamburger and small packages of stew or roasts now and then, in case I left them short on something. We have pretty much lived on chicken and lamb and venison. He had a steer cut and wrapped just for us this year so we bought a third freezer. Our boss is awesome. I love our ranch family.

The freezer is in and I am slowly dragging the meat over and putting it away a basket at a time. I can only handle about 30 lb, so it works out well. I am just using Cider’s old toy basket. Meantime, I got the tallow rendered this morning and the first of 3 batches of lard is on the stove. I rendered some deer tallow a couple of years ago in a very small crockpot and it was no big deal, but I hadn’t done tallow and lard before. The kidney fat from the steer wasn’t a whole lot, surprisingly. I only got about a gallon or so from the suet from one steer and just a couple handfuls of solids. The lard was a lot different. It looked like there was going to be a LOT of rendered lard, but at the end, out of that whole huge stockpot full, only 1 qt was lard and the rest was ‘cracklin’s’. I’ve yet to try the ‘cracklin’s’ but I hear they are pretty tasty. The entire process is pretty easy. We cut the lard up into strips and I run them through the meat grinder attachment on my KitchenAid. Then it all goes into a heavy bottom pot and on the stove to simmer for several hours on the very lowest heat. When it all separates the solids from the liquid I strain the solids out well, package them then pour the remaining liquid lard through cheesecloth into a container or several, and leave it out to cool. By morning it is beautiful, creamy white. If there is a local butcher in your area, the chances are, you can buy some leaf or kidney fat off of them pretty cheap as  a lot of folks these days have no idea they can do this stuff themselves at great savings for a superior product and don't ask for it back when they have their animals processed.

 




At the same time, I threw meat and soup bones into a pot with extra veggies for beef bone broth, which simmers for a couple of days. I deboned 2 big 7-bone roasts and put them in the crock pot to make meat for beef dip sandwiches, which I will can later. Randyman cut up a chunk of the lard so I  ran that through the grinder and have it rendering on the back burner. I need a bigger stove. It’s almost impossible to put anything else on if there is a large pot and TWO large pots is just not very workable. Another item for the “Covet-budget”. While everything melts down except me, I work on clearing ‘stuff’ off the table and other flat surfaces where things like magazines, tools, bills and gloves all seem to gather. Finding a way to organize here has been my greatest challenge. It’s a small house with no closets, cupboards or shelves and my outside storage is pretty much unaccessible to me, as I can’t open the door to the container, so I’m dependent on Randy to find time to haul stuff out there for me.

While all that was on the stove, I grabbed a gallon and a half of heavy cream I had cultured and dumped it into the churn. The result is several pounds of incredibly delicious butter along with 3 qts of amazing cultured buttermilk which is thick and awesome to make bread or biscuits with, not to mention how good it is for marinating things like chicken in.

 





I found that my new, inexpensive, large water bath canner fits 5 gallons of milk so it has become my new and favorite cheese pot. I will just add hot water to the sink to bring the temps up and it should work better than my old roaster did. I was never really satisfied with the way that thing worked. My biggest problem at the moment is a decent thermometer.

As I was about to finish up my 4 lb. batch of jack cheese, I received the call from my brother that our father had passed away in the night. Although he was 92 and had not been feeling well, it didn’t seem possible that he could be gone from my life here forever. Reeling from the news, I staggered through the remaining chores and sat down to process it all, knowing Dad would have us continue on with our lives, not wasting any time on grief. It is  just the way he was. Childlike in his joy and appreciation of all things, he was also extremely pragmatic and aware that life is short. To know him, was to know his own 92 years passed much too quickly to suit him, but I am confident he waits for us and I eagerly look forward to seeing him and other lost loved ones in the future.

I will spend the next week staying as busy as possible, trying not to focus on our inconceivable loss, while the Polarbears suffer more clinging from me than is usual. I don’t think they will really mind much. They are probably too tired to notice.



29 comments:

  1. Hello! your blog is great, I'd love you to join my websites of kitchen, and you put my link on your site, and so we benefit both.

    I await your response to munekitacate(at)gmail(dot)com

    kisses!
    Emilia

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    1. Have you a blog in english? It's very nice to meet you, Emilia

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  2. Hard work...ranching, and everyone that eats beef should be grateful to you.
    I write a blog which I have entitled “Accordingtothebook” and I’d like to invite you to follow it. I’m your newest follower.

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    1. Wonderful! Thank you, so nice to meet you!

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  3. I love your churn! I assume it's electric-driven? I have a hand-cranked one and it keeps me from making butter as often as possible. Since you are such an inspiration, after I read your previous blog on the many (thousands) of things you accomplish, I pulled the cream I had saved in my freezer and made butter. How long do you culture your cream? My buttermilk is lovely, but not thick and tangy. The polar bears looks awfully comfy in their matching chairs. You continue to inspire me, Petey.

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    1. Thank you so much. Yes, mine is an OLD 3 gallon electric churn I got off of ebay (found the best time to bid is over a holiday weekend ). I originally used a little bit of live cultured buttermilk from the store ( a couple years ago) and I made a mother culture of it. I keep renewing that monthly. Meanwhile I innoculate the cream with a bit of it and set it aside for a day or two. You can see the cream actually poof up a bit as the culture becomes active and that day I churn it. The polar bears love those chairs for some reason, and they barely fit in them! Thanks so much Susan :)

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  4. You are amazing to me....as always. Hug on Mr. C also!!!
    Cheri

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  5. Lol - some-dogs are going to loose their union LGD cards if they get caught napping on the porch like that :-)

    I'm glad you were able to pick up your new freezer - what a trip to get one though!
    And I have to say, I love your princess in her bed - I think you've said in the past you're considering making a milk cow out of her - good luck! She does have a bit of attitude, doesn't she.

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    1. Funny! Yes, it is my intention to make a milk cow out of her, God willing!

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  6. dex already mentioned grief on the other blog so i'll leave it at that. that picture with sushi in the feeder is precious. animals r so funny and jersey n their mixes r really intelligent. she may be snotty like some people think we (i) r. i know i'm not regal for sure. the snow didn't amount too much but it was dry so the highway melted quickly. i was so sleepy in the chat room i'm afraid i made little sense. i feel sorry for people who have to put up with that. God bless randy and u...sin mas. d-san

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    1. They are funny and she is smart. TOO smart for MY good! I am grateful that our snow is slowly melting here. There are still a lot of icy spots that are covered but a week or so of nice weather and those might be gone. I've had enough winter, even though it was a short one. It's never been a bad experience chatting with you or X-ito, d-san!

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  7. Those two Polar Bears have it made. Well when they are not hard at work. Love those chairs and would not mind sharing it with such big love bugs. The butter looks heavenly. I helped render lard ONCE. The cracklings where good if I recall. ;) Will you be heading back to CA for Dad's services?
    big Warm Hugs... CAROL DEE

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    1. No, we won't be going to California for awhile, which is good, because we can't squeeze it out of the budget for another trip. My stepmom said Dad was adamant that he did not want a memorial service. He was a very humble man who never drew attention to himself. I think us kids might try to get together and honor him soon, a bit closer to home.

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  8. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I think that's something a girl is never ready for no matter how old she and Dad are. Your polar bears are sweet. Mine is a 3 month old muddy terror. With all this rain, the barnyard (and puppy) have been too muddy to play for long. He's going stir crazy.

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    1. I'm hoping as things melt, it won't get too muddy. They sometimes look like they were dipped in chocolate, but with these amazing coats it comes right off and a day later they are white as snow again!

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    2. They are amazing coats! He is back to his usual "Georgia red clay" peach today.

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  9. Oh Petey! I loved paragraph two, it still makes the giggles erupt when I think of poor Randyman instantly aging...and peering out and trying to read the letters....hahaha! Sorry Randy...

    Kristi

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    1. I must admit, that I enjoyed it. Bad me. Bad, bad me!

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  10. Sorry about your father. I can't help thinking that at 92 he had a good long life and was probably ready to go. I think we decide when it's time. The pain or tiredness of life finally makes us say, "Enough" and that's when we move on.
    Still, the grief will stay with you for a long time. It's a process and it's what we all have to go through. Take care. I send my best wishes.
    My husband and I (we hate to admit this) suffer from IDS (In Denial Syndrome). It's related to your husband's syndrome but it's a different form.. Old age is fast approaching but we pretend it's not happening. We have to help each other out all the time, but we act like there's nothing wrong. Thank God we have each other to fill in the gaps in the thought processes.and remind each other where the keys are.
    Princess SushiMoo cracks me up. She is totally cool in that feeder. Ha!... and the dogs in their respective wicker chairs... too cute.

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    1. We tend to remind one another which of us is old. LOL

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  11. Kim I am so sorry for the loss of your daddy.. I lost mine going 7 yrs now.. I still love and miss him so much.. But i have the utmost assurance I will see him again someday.. I will keep you in my prayers... Love ya Babs

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  12. That picture of Princess Sushi cracked me up! What a long trip to town, I can see why ya'll don't go very often. Congrats on the new freezer and having it filled with beef! I just found out the lady at the Farmer's Market I get my pork from has fat for sale too and I'm thinking about getting some for lard.

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    1. I'll be frying chicken in mine tonite and making some soap with it tomorrow :)

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  13. Thank you once again for sharing a bit of your life with all of us! It is all of the little things that you find joy in, that makes your life seem so fulfulling to the rest of us. I often find your blog to be a reminder to myself, to look for the joy in every day goings on. We all have so much to be greatful for! Be blessed, Staci

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    1. So true Staci! I think we gain so much more perspective out of a touch, than a shove. It is the little things that are the most priceless!

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  14. Petey, as always I love your blog. You always see the best of things and let us see the wonderful life you live. I grew up on a farm many years ago and mom always rendered the lard when a hog was butchered. The cracklins that were left we loved baked into cracklin cornbread. It has been years since I have tasted that but I remember loving it when I was a kid. You might want to try that with yours.

    Ginny S

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    1. Thanks Ginny, I think I will try that!

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