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Life and Garden Update!

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So sorry for not posting in a while.  Life is hectic, strawberry is still getting out of her pen so she now has a date with the freezer.  Won’t be till close to Thanksgiving but still.  The “last straw” is when she got all the way to the front of our property and to get her back Silver made a chain leash to go behind her front legs so we could at worst drag her back.  Well.. she dragged him.  Not good for a 56 year old with RA and diabetes. *sigh*   Also doctors put Silver on insulin, odd thing about that.  Last few mornings with his shot the night before his blood sugar has run high.  Last night he forgot to take his shot and is was much lower, go figure.   Sadly however, his toe is no better and might  actually be a lot worse.  So bad it might have to be amputated.  We’re waiting on the VA  to contact the podiatrist so he can go back to seeing him.  The VA drives me nuts sometimes.

Another downside, for those of you who know.  While I am trying to get us “food sustainable” here , right now we are not.  Also because of living on disability we get Food Stamps.  We just went up for re certification, was told a worker would call for an interview here back on Friday at 9am my time.  Ok, no problem.  ..yeah, I sat in the house all day waiting for that call.  At about 10 am I tried to “talk to a person” via their various phone numbers.  Yeah, nope sorry.  Seems you can’t talk to a person, but I did wind up leaving 2 messages on their  “person call worker” interview option.   So it’s possible we’ll lose our food money.  Plus side is it’ll be when our garden is producing and we have eggs so I’m not terribly concerned.  However it irks me.

As for the garden…

I have PICS!

This is my acorn squash, we are hoping to have a lot of these for this winter, I have put some marigold seeds in the center to both attract pollinators and to make the insects that don’t like them to run away.  Funny thing is I planted these about the same time as my zucchini and look…

Definite difference in size there.  The zucchini  is smaller right now.  Though I know it will catch up eventually.  We’re planning on drying over have of what we produce of these for animal feed this winter.

Here is one of my bunches of snow peas (I got my first pod off them this morning!), they are loaded with flowers though not many pods just yet.  I’m hoping they finish before the Cherokee purples and the lemon cucumbers get too big or the peas will be coming out.

Speaking of the tomatoes…

If you can see, just past that pea is one of my tomatoes.  They are starting to flower already!  We’re definitely waiting on these to produce fruit.

This is one of the bell peppers, it’s also looking like it’ll flower soon even though it’s not very tall yet.  I am debating pinching the first flowers off to let it grow more.

My pole beans have sprouted, we’re hoping for a lot from these for chili making this winter.  Also this is one of two varieties of dry bean we are growing.  I planted tiger’s eye as well.  They grow as a bush however and can also be eaten as a green bean.  I don’t have pics of those as they only just started coming up.

Here are the cucumbers I planted for pickling.  If we have an over abundance of the lemons don’t do well we’ll be eating these too.  They were planted next too the pole beans.  I am thinking of growing some kale for the rabbits and the chickens for winter on the other side of these.

Now, this “mess” is my spinach patch.  It’s really taking off after the rains we got this weekend.  Seems to be very happy.

These, would be the sunchokes.  They seem to be a prolific as I have heard and seem to be growing just fine.  That is a two foot stake in the foreground, so you have some prospective.  I have discovered that I have a few surprises in my sunchoke bed however.

Apparently, there were some tomato seeds in the chicken manure I added to this bed.  I staked two of the tomatoes this morning.  However, it seems there are five plants growing in my sunchoke bed and they seem very happy.  So I will let them grow where they are.  Also I have no earthly idea what kind they are as I  grew three different kinds last year.  So I will wait and see what they produce, here’s to hoping they are edible at least.

I thought I’d share this.  It’s one of the wild roses from around here.  Seems all the blooms came out white on the roses this year.  It’s wonderful to walk past this and take a deep breath in.  I do wish I knew why they all are white though.  Last year they were all pink, so maybe it’s yearly change?

Oh one of the rabbit moms had her littler and it seems she had between 6-8 babies, they have a date with the freezer in 2 months.  (yes i eat my rabbits and if one bit you they wouldn’t be cute anymore)

Well I need to head back out and weed some more, happy gardening!

BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…


Pot Bellied Pig info

Well since Sunday I’ve been searching online for info on raising pot bellied pigs for meat. Well, oddly… there isn’t much info on it. The most of the info online about pot bellied pigs is on the “pet” trade for them. The only places where they even mention it tend to be online forums. So I went around and posted pretty much the same question to all of them.


“I’m getting 5 pot bellied pigs, once I can buy and set up the fencing for it. However I’m not finding much about how to care for them. I’d like to know some basic info about care.”


Well, I’ve had a few responses. A lot say DON’T it’s too fatty that it’s only good for lard. Also that you don’t get much from them. I expected with a small pig you wouldn’t get much, small pig; small meat. Now the ones saying it’s only got for lard have from the responses only butchered one pig and it was one they bought at what they considered proper weight.


Now aside from the ones who wanted to know more as well there were a few that raise pot bellied pigs normally who have ALL said… “..if you are getting a large amount of lard then the hog is OVERWEIGHT.” Seems that a pot bellied pig NEEDS to be a bit on the “trim” side. Also every one of these regular raisers of them have said they prefer to butcher them a bit on the old side. As in older than most would butcher a typical hog.


They have all said you will get mostly sausage out of them. Though you will get some small hams. That is fine by me, though I am thinking of trying to get some chops out of them. I am not expecting to get roasts out of them at all.


That’s what I have learned at the moment. If/when I learn more I’ll pass it on!


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

2011 Drought/heat wave

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I have read some interesting stuff about what has been going on with this drought that has been bothering the central US, ourselves included. I know that some of my plants are not doing as well as they did last year and that it has been hotter. I have stumbled on this article about poultry farmers and their plight in this heat wave/drought:


Expect your Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys to go up in price. However, that is not the only thing to go up in price from what I have seen.


One of my favorite bloggers on Blogger Phelan, lives in KS and has been looking into what has been going on around her. The people who grow the hay that she buys has nothing in their fields, and she is seriously thinking of getting rid of a good amount of her cattle because of it. She’s got rabbits dieing as well as chickens dieing too.


Now like Phelan I have not heard a great deal about this drought/heat wave on the mainstream media, that does bother me. What will people think when they go to the store and find that prices have gone up? Especially when there is no explanation by the media that is suppose to let them know what is going on in the world.


Folks keep an eye on this situation and remember that if the plants can’t grow the prices will go up!  Also please remember if you are in one of the areas with the intense heat please stay out of the sun at the hottest point of the day and keep hydrated and watch your salt content as you -WILL- lose salt when you sweat.

BE Well, Be Safe and Blessed Be…

What is the Date?

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That should be a simple question correct? Even when talking about food correct? Well it isn’t sometimes, as I have learned the short time I worked a stint in a meat department. Yes, I said meat department; and in this age when we have to worry about E Coli in our foods on a dramatic increase. To have to worry about the date on your packaged meats in the grocery store isn’t a good thing.


A few years back I found myself in a job working as a meat wrapper in a grocery store and it was a first time doing that particular job. Having worked in fast food I was very good about checking dates on things and that was one of the few things my boss did not have to teach me.


Now my boss had learned the butchers trade back when they still taught by having the students work from the “primal” cuts, which effectively means just cut from the carcass; then cut into the “cuts” we know today. Most butchers are not taught this way any more, my boss also had a side job of butchering people’s deer for them in season.


He loved to complain about how long some of the people would leave the meat hang before calling him to butcher it for them. One man it seems left it hanging for two weeks before calling him and well, at that point it was way to far gone for him to do anything with it.


He would also complain about one “full service” butcher shop in one of the other towns. His complaint was it’s sanitary practices, which I do have to say seemed a bit lax. My bosses where much better sanitary wise, but I’ll leave that there for now.


Now here is a bit of useful info for any meat eaters out there. By law (in most states) ground meat can only be sold for 24 hours, after that they must be tossed due to possibility of bacterial growth. Meat departments will put them on discount to get them out instead of tossing them. This is a fairly normal practice from what I have seen and asked about.


Now my boss in the store I worked when something would come into the back due to a date, my boss would “check”. Now to check anything, he would open it, sniff it and move it a little and see if anything is discolored past normal loss of color. Yes, red meats do lose color as they sit. Well if there was no bad smell he would have me re-wrap it and put a one day date on it and then after that day we’d do the same.


Now sometimes, he would take red meat and put it into the ground beef if it was past the initial date. Sometimes if a turkey was past date he would open them, cut them up, and have me wrap them with a 2 day date on them and then they’d be tossed.


Now a days due to seeing all this I am very careful about meat I buy. If I buy something “old dated” I make sure I know it is before I decide to buy it. I will buy something discounted, I have no issue with this. However, I do not like it when there is a possibility of the meat being bad and I don’t know it. I have gotten sick off of foods and not knowing why. Until I worked in that meat department. I no longer buy fish unless I live close to a water source big enough that there are fishing boats, or it is frozen.


Food poisoning is no fun, I’ve experienced it before. Also, when I took the food safety class I learned something that most people don’t know. I learned that there is no such thing as “24 hour flu”. My instructor told my class that these people most likely had food poisoning and did not realize it.


The time I spent in the meat department is one of the reasons I am working towards growing all my own food, even the meat portion. I’m no vegetarian, I like eating meat to much for that especially chicken and fish. I do want people to keep their minds and eyes open while they shop. Otherwise you might wind up with a surprise in your fridge or freezer and not know it. So make sure you know what the date is.

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