Sheared Bliss

January 25, 2010, 11:50 pm
Filed under: History, Museum | Tags: , , , , ,

Saturday was Pork and Beans day at the museum and all kinds of porky fun was had by all.  A bit of a disclaimer – Pork and Beans day does involve actual butchering.  That means that this post contains actual pictures of a pig being butchered – not pork chops neatly wrapped in cellophane, but a whole dead pig with head still on being cut into pork chops.  If that squicks you out, click away now.

Ok, to give the squeamish among us time to hit their back buttons, I’ll start off by showing you the lovely surprise that greeted me when I arrived at the museum.

It’s lambing time!  One of the ewes had dropped her lambs sometime Friday night so there was a pair of black twins waiting when everyone arrived Saturday morning.  Then, another ewe dropped her lamb (white and buff) at about 9:00 Saturday morning so I got to coo over three little wobbly lambies.  Awwww . . .

Ok, are the easily grossed out people gone?  Yes, good, on we go!

The museum raises pigs every year not only because the visitors like to see the cute little baby piggies (which, by the way, aren’t terribly cute once they put on a few hundred pounds), but also because they are an extremely historically accurate meat animal.  Pork was a large part of the typical diet in 1860s Colorado.  PioneerJ quotes a primary source which says something along the lines of “We ate pork and beans every day except for on holidays when we ate beans and pork.”  Pigs are easy to raise and pork is easy to preserve.  So, you spend most of the year fattening your pigs up on whatever kitchen scraps you have handy then butcher when it gets cold enough and process the porkers so that you use or preserve every little bit.

FarmerT and PioneerV did the actual butchering in the barn.

FarmerV served pork and bean soup, PioneerK and PioneerT made sausage, PioneerA ran the smoker, and PioneerJ and I rendered lard.

To render lard you take the pig fat and put it in a big pot with a little water.  Leaf fat (the fat from the outside of the rib cage) is preferable for use in cooking while the caul fat (the fat that surrounds the internal organs) is usually used to make soap.  Heat the pot slowly so that the fat begins to melt and comes to a simmer.  As the fat melts it will separate from the bits of skin and meat (the cracklings) that were clinging to it and those will sink to the bottom.  When all of the water has cooked off, the cracklings will float and the lard is done.  Strain the lard through cheesecloth and pour it into a container.  Narrower containers are better because the less surface area exposed to the air, the longer the lard will last.  Let it cool and solidify slowly then store it in a cool place.  Mmm, lardy goodness.

Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.  Historically, pigs had a three to five inch layer of leaf fat.  Our pigs had about and eighth of an inch of leaf fat.  So yeah, we got some lard, but actually ended up with more cracklings than lard.

And yes, that is an ironic grin from the vegetarian stirring the lard pot.


Happy Birthday, CodeMonkey!
January 24, 2010, 8:00 am
Filed under: Family & Friends | Tags:

FO Friday
January 23, 2010, 12:26 am
Filed under: Fiber Arts, FO Friday, Knitting | Tags: , ,

They’re done!

Poison Dart Frog Socks

Pattern: Basic toe-up socks with a short row heel

Yarn: Opal by Zwerger Garn

Colorway: 1192

Notes: Um, not much to say.  Easy knit contrary to what you might think based on how long they took me.  Kind of happened in fits and starts because they lived in my purse and only got worked on when I was out and about and had a few minutes to knit.  I like the way the stripes matched up perfectly.  I made them pretty tall, but still have about half an ounce of yarn left.  Maybe it’ll become some baby booties or something in the future.

What I Did This Weekend
January 18, 2010, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: , , , , , ,

Before: Well, not really before. A true before shot would have shown a lot of really badly cracked grout between the tiles and the tub covered over with badly cracked caulk, but I failed to take one. This is about halfway into the removal of the grout which can be seen strewn lavishly about the bottom of the tub.

During: MommaCodeMonkey is Dremmeling out the grout and I'm playing dental assistant and vaccuming up the dust.

After: Well, not really after. After would be a fully functioning shower. However, we did manage to remove all of the grout from between the tub and tiles (Who does that?) and repaired some cracked grout between tiles. Once the grout cures, we'll apply three coats of grout sealant then caulk between the tub and tiles. Then I will take a victory shower.

Oh yeah, I also cleaned the house, baked cookies, made pizza, went out with Lulu to celebrate her new job, went to brunch, went to spinning, and helped MommaCodeMonkey with her knitting.  I’m beat!

Just Checking In
January 5, 2010, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Family & Friends, Randomness | Tags: , , , ,

Hey ya’ll.  How’s everybody doing?  Anybody else feel like the holidays ran them over like a truck?  CodeMonkey and I have been visiting family from before Christmas to after the New Year.  It was loads of fun and so nice to see everyone, but now I need to catch up on sleep, laundry, and the giant pile of extremely urgent stuff that has accumulated on my desk at work.  So yeah.  As soon as I climb out from under my to do list I’ll post something more interesting.  Right now, however, I have a kitty on my lap and I’m going to have to concentrate on petting her.  Happy New Year!