Monday, January 23, 2006

Another Monday

Time for another blog entry I guess. I have been a terrible blogger lately.

It is winter, but not a bad one. We got one 1000# bale of hay for the field animals and they plowed through that. We’ve opened up the neighbor’s field for them. Interestingly, the cow’s milk production fluctuates mostly with how much she has to eat. She has been fresh for more than two years and except for that first flush, it is that food varies her production. And at its lowest ebb, her milk production has still been more than we can process. So that’s where you get your holy cows from -- from that much food.

The hothouse has been skinned, and some things planted. The hot weather stuff will likely not make anything, but you never know. The cold weather stuff will. We haven’t quite got the four seasons harvest thing down but each year we learn more, do more. Husband is great at this stuff. And winter is the time for plans and schemes.

It isn’t so cold but it is that suicidal grey. I remember a February, 1982 to be exact, that the whole month was like this. We’ve had a few sunny days, and the forecast is for a few more. The buds are swollen already, the hair itching on the horse, the grass green at its base. Wood gets cut along as we use it.

We’ve almost processed through the pig. If you remember, we salted both shoulders, both hams, the middlings and the jowls. All but one ham is now cut up and in the freezer. It was colder with this salting and thus I used less salt and this meat is not salty per se but just well preserved. A very interesting process. When we process, we usually eat some, so there have been big batches of gravy and biscuits to eat with the middlings, and usually one of the bones with some meat left on is added to a pot of beans even as we cut up another section. Yesterday’s beans were Great Northerns, cooked to nearly mush, seasoned just a bit with some onion and garlic and sage, served with a wedge of onion and another of corn bread.

I’d heard for ages about that computer game Oregon Trail. Especially in homeschool circles, this was supposed to be a great thing. My opinion: it sucked! Why? Well, outfitting my wagon, I bought (taking up money and weight allowance) extra salt (and dried beans). Then, when I had a layover on the trail (like someone got sick surprise surprise), I went hunting thinking I could up my food supply and my chances of survival by salting and drying the meat, and the damn program would decide that I could keep 10 pounds out of an entire buffalo. Right.

It is hopeless, I guess, once your eyes are sensitized to see that there are so many more possibilities than anyone else even begins to allow for. Doctor my eyes.


madcapmum said...

Hmmm. I was sure I left a comment earlier, to the effect that the Oregan Trail game did indeed vaccuum with great suction, and was it above average for a cow to stay fresh for two years. Now it seems to be gone, and I'm wondering if I was just DELUSIONAL again. Anyway, consider it all said and asked. Probably I'll hit "post" and it'll show both and I'll look like a prize twit. Oh well. Won't be the first time or the last. Here goes.

the Contrary Goddess said...

Well, you know, I'm wondering about the cow thing, if maybe it isn't above average, just that the "normal" gallons required from a cow is closer to the freshening flush. We've found any number of things to be that way -- like an overbred milk goat on high powered (and expensive) feed will produce so many pounds of milk, enough so that she is often sick, but a mixed goat on browse will produce less but be healthy and cost nothing. A commercial operation operates on a slim profit margin and an extra % makes or breaks their bottom line, but a homestead's bottom line is way lower!

Oh, and hallucinate here anytime!