Stocking Up and Pigging Out

annie1992February 7, 2014

It's still winter here, as you can see. Snow, cold and visibility pretty much zero:

The road to the farm is snowy and you can see that the signs on the left side of the picture are close to being buried:

It is supposed to be below zero for the next several days, so it seemed like a good time to make beef stock. Plus, I'll have pork in the freezer within a month or so, so I have to get those beef soup bones used up.

Into the big electric roaster go the bones, with carrots, onions, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaf, the usual suspects. I also had a stray package of beef short ribs, dated 2010. (sigh) Into the roaster with them too, good thing my meat packager uses shrink wrap!

Stock actually takes me two days, I roast the stuff for several hours, add water, let it simmer for 12-18 hours, put it in the (very cold) garage for a couple of hours. The fat rises to the top. I usually don't have much fat to skim, but those short know.

I considered saving that fat and rendering it down for future cooking use, but I "recycled" it instead. Right into the bucket for these guys, they'll turn it right into pork. Plus, the fat is helpful for them when it's this cold.

This is "Ham" and "Chop":

And their brothers, "Bacon" and "Oreo". That's "Ham" in there twice, he's a real pig. (tee hee) Yes, the Grandkids named them, hence "Oreo".

Anyway, I got 4 quarts of beef stock after I melted down the beef "jelly".

I was also nearly out of yogurt, so it seemed like a good time to make some. I heated a gallon of good local low fat milk to just below boiling, cooled it to 118F, then put it into jars along with a spoonful of my last batch as a "starter". Into the dehydrator at 115F for 6 hours. Now, I haven't figured out yet why I get 4 quarts and one pint of yogurt from a gallon of milk, but I do.

Sometimes it takes 8 or 10 hours to thicken, but this batch was done in 6 hours:

My last project was to do "something" with the final apples left from fall's abundance. These were picked the first part of October and just got as far as the basement stairway, not even in the cellar, but they lasted well. Each one had been wrapped in newspaper and stacked into a bushel basket so if one went bad it wouldn't cause the others to spoil. They were still pretty firm, even after 5 months:

Surprisingly, they weren't even starting to turn, and were still crisp and white inside:

Those got peeled and sliced and tossed into the crockpot with a handful of raisins and a sprinkle of brown sugar, they'll be breakfast tomorrow with some fresh yogurt and a handful of homemade granola, before it's back to the farm chores.


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Reading you thread makes me sad.

I am sad that today's people have no idea what is real food.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 11:30PM
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Dcarch, I sadly agree. Although I think that might be changing.

Annie, That reminds me I have several pkgs of soup bones and frozen containers of random beef stock to deal with. I'm afraid we're looking forward to the same weather next week. Long weekend coming up ...sounds like a good POOF n POOP project.

We're down to the last three Fujis from a box I bought last fall. They're shriveling a little,..thinking some sauteed onions and apples with a pork roast for Sunday dinner, along with the last kabocha squash. Down to the last few apples, beets, onions and squash, and the garlic's starting to sprout....Spring must be coming!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:50AM
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dcarch, I'm still amazed that there is a whole generation of people who don't like meat "with bones". They haven't figured out yet what yummy things can be done with bones, I guess.

Katie, I think/hope you are right. I think it's changing, a little. People are becoming more aware of where their food comes from, at least, and know that a pork chop was once actually a pig.

And, like you, my garlic was sprouting. That's why it all went into the dehydrator. I still have half a dozen heads on my counter and every time I smash one, I pick out that green sprout in the center.

My canned goods are dwindling slowly but all my "fresh" stuff in the cellar is nearly gone. Potatoes, apples, onions. Squash is long gone, as are beets and carrots. I know spring is coming, I actually get an occasional egg and a few days ago I got 7. Today and yesterday, nada.

Yes, spring is coming. Slowly.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 1:07AM
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Your post made me feel very happy that there are people out there like you who make the very best out of what they have.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 3:05AM
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I know Elery appreciates your talents, knowledge, and hard work from which he benefits.

When I see all that snow, I always think about the animals first. I hope they are okay, I know yours are okay but how do other farm animals survive the extended freezing temps?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Annie, your post has put me into a very nostalgic mood.
Reminds me so much of growing up on a farm,
in an area very similar to yours,
And my Mother doing so many of the things you do.
That was before crock pots, of course,
And I had never heard of yogurt back then, either.

But raising cows for both milk and beef,
Raising hogs, chickens, vegetables, fruits.
Canning and storing for the long winter months,
working hard to ensure enough food until the next crop came in,
Was our way of life.

Hard work, yes.
Also satisfying work.
I wish I had appreciated it more back then,
I ofttimes wish I could go back to it. . . . . . . . .

Thank you for sharing.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 1:57PM
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CA Kate

Annie, it looks like you had a very productive day. You have reminded me that I'm out of both beef and chicken stock. Since I really don't like using the stuff from the market, I'd better do some cooking myself.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 3:17PM
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Annie I love reading about your daily life on the farm, and pics of your livestock. You also exhaust me! LOL

I grew up around animals as well, and loved the hands-on work with them. Feeding baby lambs out of bottles, calves, milking cows, etc. Helping my neighbours feed their pigs,too, haha. Pigs are cute!

I love that you and the kids name your animals, but it also must be hard, at the end......:(

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 8:19AM
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We have a winter as I remember which was the norm decades ago.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:32AM
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I love this post! I hope to be that productive and food efficient someday.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:37AM
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Annie you are an inspiration to many who would love to be able to cook like you do!

It is sad that there are so many young cooks now days who have no idea on how to do any of what you posted. Your yogurt looks so thick and yummy.

As always, love seeing your photos of the good old home cooking!

Our hens have been laying about every other day, so we are still eating nice fresh eggs this winter. Two are molting in these sub zero temps and feel so bad for them.

Jasdip, quite a snow photo, thanks for sharing. At least you will have moisture for the summer.

In Iowa we are still going to be in a drought if we dont get a good amount of snow.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:45AM
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I love this post, too! Makes me envious of the food you get to eat, and the energy you have to produce it.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Cool pics! Don't take this wrong, how do you eat those cute little pigs? I know, I know, but I just want to pet them!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 11:23AM
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