Friday, January 28, 2011

Scalding, Scraping and other things

Got some pics to share below, but before that let us welcome our newest litter of piglets born to first-time mother, Mij, our Berkshire yesterday morning.

First up is a snow picture. I think this was from our December snow (only 4-5 inches). You can see both Mabel (our Jersey) on the left and Dolly (our Brown Swiss) on the right, along with our still roofless barn.
Next is a series of pictures with us scalding and scraping a hog. In the past we have mostly skinned our hogs, but with the right technique (demonstrated here) scalding and scraping is actually easier, albeit the prep time-that is heating 40 gallons of water to 145 F takes some time. Leaving the skin on is more esthetically pleasing, helps with flavor, and preserves the fat. And it is more classical.

Unfortunately the pictures don't show the "before" hog. In the first picture, the hog has already been 95% scraped. This hog was primarily black, but all hogs are white under the surface pigment. The pigment comes off with the hair. So what is shown in the pictures is our re-dipping the hog in 145 F water for 3-6 minutes to get some loose ends which didn't loosen on the first dip.

And just so you know, this is hard work, but it is wonderful work. I think we all look forward to pig slaughter days, and are tired and happy when they are over also. For the first time, number 1 son stunned the hog, and did an excellent job-better than my first time. We work well together.

Note that the head is off the hog. We didn't throw it out. We dipped it and scraped it separately. Then I boiled the meat and fat off. Layered it, rolled it up and refrigerated it. Sliced, dipped in egg and flour and then fried, it is delicious with scrambled eggs. Credit CT for the recipe.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Prayer For The Canonization of Servant of God Dorothy Day

Merciful God, you called your servant Dorothy Day to show us the face of Jesus in the poor and forsaken. By constant practiceof the works of mercy, she embraced poverty and witnessed steadfastly to justice and peace. Count her among your saints and lead us all to become friends ofthe poor ones of the earth, and to recognize you in them. We ask this through your Son Jesus Christ, bringer of good news to the poor. Amen

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow, Pigs, and Milk

9 inches of snow Sunday night through Monday noon or so! The most we've every had in the 16 years we've been down here. Couple that with 4 inches on Christmas night, we are having some kind of winter. The snow is beautiful, but it sure makes for a mess as it melts-which hasn't started doing yet. We had ice last night and the roads are dangerous still.

We did find a hill on our neighbors property and used the tops off some plastic 55-gallon drums as coasters and did some sledding yesterday. With the ice-over, it should be even more fun today.

Tammy, our Tamworth gilt had her first litter on Saturday night-8 healthy piglets, still hanging in there despite the cold, snow and ice.

Over the past few years we've had constant requests to sell raw milk. I have strangers approach me at the gas station asking if I will sell them milk. This weekend we sold the last of a 10 week-old litter of pigs and both parties who came by for the piglets also asked for milk. Of course unless we have a Grade A-Government inspected dairy, it is illegal for us to sell our milk. In keeping with the principal of subsidiarity, I read a comment on a homesteading forum recently which sums up what the government's role should be: we need the government to inspect a dairy when the consumer can't. If you are buying milk on the farm and can see the conditions for yourself, then you don't need the government to do it for you. However, if buy in a store, and can't inspect the dairy, then you may want some assurances of cleanliness, etc.

Oremus pro invicem!