life is busy~ Jesus' birthday, the big kids are home, friends and family visiting...
cooking, cleaning, laundry...
livestock to butcher...
quilts to finish...
a spring garden to start thinking about and planning for...
thanks for stopping by~ faithfully~ even though there is nothing interesting posted...
I'd like to get several posts up soon...
Saturday, December 12, 2009
it was a really busy week here, with a lot of blood and gore being flung around...
after finishing up with the 3 deer that we got (1 roadkill and 2 on the first day of deer season) it was time to launch right into our next project~ butchering the pig!
she was slaughtered on Tuesday, and after hanging all night (in the 20 degree weather) we butchered her on Wednesday.
i plan on doing a post about our experiences~ it was not nearly as difficult as you might imagine to butcher a pig, and we have lots of fresh meat. the hams and bacon will be ready by Christmas, and we're really looking forward to that!
while we were on a roll, we went ahead and butchered 20 chickens on Thursday. only 30 more to go this next week, and then we're all done for the season! our freezers will soon be groaning...
i, for one, will be relieved to be done. we've been raising chickens since last march!
also, there are pig butchering pictures up over on facebook, so if you're a friend, you can see them now... here's a link, even if you're not:
and that nasty pig stomach is still in my fridge. i think I'll just chuck it- i have to draw the line somewhere!
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
can i just say that we live in a really strange world?
'cause maybe you won't realize that unless i tell you.
remember the other day when i told you about our new Christmas family tradition, the Jesse Tree? when i googled "Jesse Tree" to find some suggestions about our ornaments, there were results of well over 1 million. actually, it was closer to 1, 060,000.
today we butchered our pig.
or maybe to be more accurate, today we slaughtered our pig. the butchering part comes tomorrow.
and now you're wondering if there really is a point to this post?
it's coming, just hold on a sec...
anyway, i saved the pig stomach. because Dave likes hog maw. i never even heard of it until i married him, but apparently it's a local delicacy that he grew up eating. or something like that.
and because I'm a really good wife like that.
now i have this really disgusting thing sitting in a bowl in my refrigerator.
and i don't quite know what to do with it.
so i did what any modern, technologically savvy person would do. i googled "preparing a pig stomach for hog maw"
and i got 4,130,000 results. four million, one hundred thirty thousand results.
like i said, it's a very strange world that we live in.
and that thing is still sitting in a bowl in my fridge.
this year I've done alot of quilting. (check out the quilt gallery to see just how much!) before starting to cut any piece of fabric, i need to "square it up" using the rotary cutter. this leaves me with a piece of fabric that is 45" long and usually about ½" wide. I've been saving these pieces all year (thinking that i might colorfully tie up my tomato plants) and just this week i got a chance to use them.
i wrapped all our Christmas gifts in plain old newspaper, and then tied a piece of fabric festively around the present. some of the fabrics are a Christmas print, others are super bright, and some are just plain pretty. i love how the packages turned out so simply, with just a hint of color!
festive and frugal works for me!
Sunday, December 06, 2009
yesterday we had our first "measurable" snow fall; that is, if you don't count that slushy muddy mess we had back in October.
G and i promised to take the girls out after nap time, and we all had a fun time.
we made sure to do the "potty thing" before bundling up to go out. it makes life so much less stressful that way! (i learned that useful tidbit from watching "A Christmas Story". and don't forget the phenomenally helpful lesson of never to stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole...) both girls had fun playing in the snow, and carrying it around. (i couldn't convince them to make a snow angel, though) G had fun lobbing snowballs at all 3 of us.
either he has exceptionally bad aim, since he didn't hit any of us.
or he has exceptionally good aim, since he didn't hit any of us.
we also had fun sledding down the little hill by the side of the house.
and look what arrived in the mail last week~ just in the nick of time~ a mitten tree! Dave's dad, bud, made this for me. i gave him a picture out of the lehman's catalog, and he designed this mitten tree just for our family! he's amazing like that.
although, judging by the number of mittens that are on the tree after only being outside for less than an hour, he obviously should have made it about 4 feet taller!
Saturday, December 05, 2009
for several years now, I've been hearing about a Jesse Tree. finally, this year, we're on the ball enough to begin this thoughtful tradition with our own family, specifically the two little girls.
apparently, I'm a little slow on the uptake, as the Jesse Tree fever has been sweeping the bloggy world for quit a little while now. if you google "Jesse Tree" you'll get no fewer than 1 million results. 1 million!anyway, the premise behind the Jesse Tree is an advent preparation, tracing the spiritual family tree of Jesus Christ, retelling many of the bible stories that lead to Christ's birth.
each day, beginning with the first Sunday in advent, there is a brief devotional. we're using the book that can be found here. ( i will say, however, that this book is a bit young~ and brief, so as the girls get older we'll be switching to another, deeper devotional.) after G and i read the passage for the day out loud, i read the same story to the girls from their little study bible. (also found here.)
then we hang on the ornament that represents the story or person. so far, that is the biggest hit with the girls. (of course!)
i like that this "advent calendar" (of sorts) puts the whole focus on Jesus, and the reason that we celebrate. it's been a meaningful tradition for us so far, and although it's probably too late to start one for your family this year, there is always next year!
then you'll have lots of time to make wonderful ornaments! (unlike me, since I'm usually scrambling around at the last minute trying to make the days ornament!) your ornaments don't have to be fancy- there are lots of patterns to be found on line. here and here are some cute ones that can be simply made out of card stock, felt or foam. (scroll down to see the Jesse Tree patterns) if you want to see how another blogger made this tradition meaningful for her family with really cool ornaments, you should go visit Shannon at rocks in my dryer.
I'll update periodically and show you our ornaments. but meanwhile, make the time to celebrate meaningful traditions with your family as we prepare for Jesus' birthday!
Thursday, December 03, 2009
this morning we looked out the window, and were amazed to observe a rare sighting of an unusual bird!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
i know this is a day late, but I'm hoping that my good friend Martha will understand that i was a little bit busy chopping deer into little bits yesterday.
i think that if we start right now, we can probably catch up on this list~ i know that I'm going to really try!
MARTHA STEWART’S HOLIDAY CALENDAR:
December 1~Blanch carcass from Thanksgiving turkey. Spray paint gold, turn upside down and use as a sleigh to hold Christmas cards.
December 2~Have Mormon Tabernacle Choir record outgoing Christmas message for answering machine.
December 3~Using candlewick and hand gilded miniature pinecones, fashion cat-o-nine tails. Flog gardener.
December 4~Repaint Sistine Chapel ceiling in ecru, with mocha trim.
December 5~Get new eyeglasses. Grind lenses myself.
December 6~Fax family Christmas newsletter to Pulitzer committee for consideration.
December 7~Debug Windows XP.
December 8~Create snow sculpture replica of Bethlehem at the birth of Christ.
December 9~Align carpets to adjust for curvature of Earth.
December 10~Lay Faberge egg.
December 11~Erect ice skating rink in front yard using spring water I bottled myself. Open for neighborhood children’s use. Create festive mood by handmaking snow and playing my Christmas album.
December 12~Collect dentures. They make excellent pastry cutters, particularly for decorative pie crusts.
December 13~Install plumbing in gingerbread house.
December 14~Replace air in mini-van tires with Glade ‘holiday scents’ in case tires are shot out at mall.
December 15~Take dog apart. Disinfect. Reassemble.
December 16~Child proof the Christmas tree with garland of razor wire.
December 17~Outfit neighborhood rats with tiny antlers.
December 18~Adjust legs of chairs so each Christmas dinner guests will be same height when sitting at their assigned seats.
December 19~Dip sheep and cows in egg whites and roll in confectioner’s sugar to add a festive touch to the pasture.
December 20~Drain city reservoir; refill with mulled cider, orange slices, and cinnamon sticks.
December 21~Float votive candles in toilet.
December 22~Seed clouds for white Christmas.
December 23~Do my annual good deed. Go to several stores. Be seen engaged in last minute Christmas shopping, thus making many people feel less inadequate than they really are.
December 24~Bear son. Swaddle. Lay in color coordinated manger scented with homemade potpourri.
December 25~Alphabetize all the Christmas gifts for family and friends and cross-reference by color and size.
December 26~Write and mail Christmas thank-you notes. Order cards for next Christmas. Estimate number of cards needed by allowing for making new friends and actuarially appropriate death rates for current friends and relatives.
December 27~Organize spice racks by genus and phylum.
December 28~Build snowman in exact likeness of God.
December 29~Hand sew 365 quilts, each using 365 material squares I weaved myself used to represent the 365 days of the year. Donate to local orphanages.
December 30~Release flock of white doves, each individually decorated with olive branches, to signify desire of world peace.
December 31New Year’s Eve! Give staff their resolutions. Call a friend in each time zone of the world as the clock strikes midnight in that time zone.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
yesterday was the first day of rifle (shotgun?) deer hunting season. Dave was eager and ready to go out hunting. he has a tree stand right down below the lower garden. while the kids and i left for Harrisburg to meet the bus back to BJU, Dave was off hunting in the rain.
and after several (many?) years of not getting any deer at all~ sometimes not even seeing a deer all day~ he got 2 deer: a doe and a button buck, and was back up in the house by 8AM! now that's what i call efficiency!
the girls were up, and Dave got them dressed and took them down into the woods to "help" gut the deer. they were very excited for their daddy, and were happy to pose for some pictures~ my two little rednecks!
the doe was much larger then the other. the button buck was probably this year's fawn. ( i made Dave some tenderloin steak for lunch, and it was definitely tender!) i cut all 4 loins out of the deer and made them into steaks.
the remainder of the deer meat we cut off of the bone. i canned 14 quarts of venison for stew, and the rest we made into burger, using our brand new meat grinder, a 1HP Sam Baer. we ran the meat through the grinder twice- the first time using the 3/8" blade,
the second time we used the 1/4" blade. the meat grinder did a really nice (and quick) job, and had no problem handling the bigger pieces of meat.
deer meat is really easy to can, and I've heard that it tastes very tender. we just cubed the meat into about 1" chunks. i heated the meat, so it wasn't going in the pressure cooker cold. after washing my jars and sterilizing the lids, i hot packed the meat into the jars. i added 1 teaspoon salt, and filled the jars to the shoulder. i added hot broth, and ran a wooden spatula around the jars to get out all the air bubbles. then i pressure cooked them at 10lb. for 1 ½ hours. since i have 2 pressure cookers, it was pretty painless, and relatively fast.
thankfully i had some freezer wrap on hand, and it was almost enough to do the 16 1½ pound burger packages that we got.
with the 14 jars of stew venison, the 16 packages of ground meat and the 3 packages of tenderloin that i froze, we have 33 meals that the family can eat!
I'm sure pleased about that!
and no, i don't feel guilty for eating Bambi. remember how much of my garden he and his mamma ate this year? sunflowers, beans, summer squash, beets, carrots, winter squash and sweet potatoes.
so the way i figure it, we're even.
but just barely!