curing bacon

We remember being taught in grammar school that Europeans took to Oriental spices because they, the poor Europeans, wanted to disguise the taste of their (pre-refrigeration) rotted meat.  What rot!  and what rot!  Meat tastes better when it has begun to ferment (controlled desirable ‘rot’); that’s why we hang it after killing.  But there is no doubt that the addition of interesting spices makes for delicious fermentation.  This is actually three bellies we had in the freezer from hogs butchered in November.  We’ve rubbed them down with a salt / sugar / pepper cure; we’ll hold them for a couple of weeks at about forty degrees, then smoke them.  Out of this world.


IMG_0118This time of year, and with no bucket calves to use up extra milk, we often have a pot of skim or buttermilk to spare.  Instead of sending it out to the pig pen or chicken run as is, we let it clabber for a day or two — until it looks like yogurt, in other words — and then make cottage cheese.  Not a difficult or time-consuming process:  just stir the clabber with a whisk, then warm it slowly (in a sink of hot water, if you have room, or just on the back of the stove, maybe with a flame tamer) until it feels warm to the hand.  Stir it once in a while to distribute the heat evenly.  Let it sit for a bit, then ladle out the curds and let them drain awhile — then salt, and maybe add a little cream.  Raw milk ferments are delcious.  The pigs and chickens will still appreciate the whey.

spare time

Here’s what wodell98 was doing with his spare time.  All that beautiful handwork of previous centuries could happen because of the slack that comes with seasonal rhythms.  Time to wedge up some clay and get to work on next year’s mugs, bowls and pitchers —

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture is hosting its annual conference February 6-9, 2019, in Lancaster, PA, this year.  They always have in impressive lineup of speakers, plus a few little guys like us who can speak to the home or small community food production questions.  Sign up here to attend some or all of the four-day conference; if you want to catch us, come Friday and Saturday.  Hope to see you there!PASA Farming Logo

Christmas blessings on you and on all the world — let loving hearts enthrone Him!

The cream line on last night’s milk is a testimony to the quality of our stockpiled forage.  In case you missed it, here it is again  (blue lines)  —  the very best hay couldn’t outshine good standing forage.  We’re looking forward to the January cheese workshop!  Sign up right away if you’re interested, there are only a couple of places left —



Correction to the last post announcing our winter cheese workshop:  our telephone number is 740-537-5178, not 704-etc.  Thank you to Jen for pointing this out!  If you would like to sign up, just give us a call at this number, we’re filling up fast!