Thursday, May 3, 2012

We're Going to the Dogs

I introduced Caleb to you a bit ago. Kate also got a dog, Anabelle, a chihuahua puppy. Turns out she and Caleb are great playmates. They wrestle around and love to hang out together. He seems to know just how to play with her and she feels like a big dog, you can tell. Here he is sharing his rawhide with her.


And they do go at it!

video

It's fun to see them play and makes me so pleased to see Caleb tone it down so that he is better matched to Anabelle's abilities. There's a lesson there for all of us.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On This, Our One Year Anniversary

I can't help but think about the differences between last year and now. Last year at this time we were sleeping on an air-mattress in a house that didn't have heat, hot water, or a working kitchen faucet. Our trucks would not arrive for a few more days. There was so much to do to make our house a home and even more to make the place a homestead. Much of that has been chronicled here over the last year. And at the one-year mark we find ourselves still discovering, learning and growing. We haven't stopped appreciating this place God has planted us.

Just over a week ago we took our pigs to be butchered. Yesterday I got the fat back as requested. The hanging weights of our hogs were 200 and 205 pounds. And for all that, they were very lean. Just 2.5 pounds of leaf lard and 12 pounds of back fat. I asked them to keep them separate because the leaf lard would provide the highest quality rendered lard for baking and the back fat is more for savory cooking tasks.


I cut it into 1/2-inch or so pieces and put it into my cast iron Dutch oven. I used a combination of information from the internet and advice from some Amish friends. It turned out to be easier than I would have thought.


A few hours later and I had pale golden lard. This was supposed to set up to make firm, white, odorless, tasteless lard suitable for baking.


And it did! I'm going to bake some very special pies with the pints of premium lard. The other jars are/will result in less white, somewhat flavored lard. All of it good and healthy. And the cracklins? I don't know. I froze them up and thought I'd look into possible uses for them.


There are some other things abuzz around here, as well. Kent has been developing a new skill. Yesterday he brought home several thousand head of livestock.


He was able to purchase two thriving hives from a gentleman who is retiring from the beekeeping business. A fellow beekeeper went along to help and they drove them home in the pickup.





Kent had prepared a location to recieve the hives and very soon they will need split into four hives to accommodate their swelling numbers. I see honey in our future! But first I see lots of well pollinated garden plants and fruit trees. These hives are a valuable addition to our homestead.


We've come a long way in just one year. I wonder what the next year holds...