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Camping Fun and Fail… :-/

I forgot the third sleeping bag!!!

We had a blast though. I took the girls and Long Dog up to the mountains to play, shoot and camp. We all got loads of sun. Explored the area.

“Cool a snake mom can we eat it?!”

“No it’s too small.”

We’ve caught and eaten snake before but it was a 5″ long gopher snake. My girls are very adventurous. They make this momma proud!

Roasted dogs and smores for dinner.

And did a little target practice. My 11yo fell in love with shooting which will make getting ready for hunting season loads of fun.

She was so proud of hitting her target she wanted a picture. She’s a natural like her momma.

Collected enough firewood from around the area to last us until bedtime and for breakfast making in the morning. We got tent set up and unrolled the sleeping bags to discover I failed to bring one sleeping bag and it got into the 30’s last night so we packed up and made it home about 9pm.

We were all really disappointed. We’ll probably try again next weekend.

Honestly it’s probably a good thing we had to come home early, cause boy camping fun takes a different set of muscles because I am sore in new ways.

2700 calories burned in one day! It usually only takes 2100 for my average on the farm day.

Sunday is definitely going to be a day of rest. Someone bring me a Bloody Mary!

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend!

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Bringing Home the Bacon

Frank & Squeak

One of my biggest evolutionary steps of cooking on this farm was in the form of Frank and Squeak. I’d never owned or even spent much time with pigs before these two but as many of us are I was/am a believer that bacon goes with EVERYTHING.

A conversation this week has had me thinking about the journey of growing bacon from the ground up. All pork for that matter and the health benefits of growing your own food. Mainly speaking it’s a whole lot of exercise to get the bacon from the piglet to the table.

franknsqueak
Homegrown ingredients from the hoof up.

I quickly learned the fastest way to a pigs heart is a good beer. Squeak like myself loved a good porter and made it clear whenever I got out of the car with a six pack. Frank on the other hand didn’t care for the dark beer and preferred a lager (particularly Hamm’s – no pun intended).

The couple of times they got out of their pen or needed some hands on attention all I needed was a bottle of their favorite beer and they would heel like well trained retrievers. It was quite fun.

FrankGrown

Squeak was meant to be kept for breeding more pork each year but after a year of watching her grow I decided she wasn’t the best suited for the job so my search for a new pig for compounding chops and bacon continues.

Homegrown cured and smoked bacon
The true love of cooking is growing the food from the ground up and being part of every step of it’s creation.

I don’t think I’ve ever met so many disagreements as when it comes to talking about homegrown bacon being healthier than the highly processed counterpart you get at the store.

Bacon in general gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, no matter where you get it from. I always sat in content with the knowledge of how much work and time spent outside no matter the weather when it came to measuring the health benefits of growing food, even bacon.

Low and behold though bacon really doesn’t deserve such a bad rep. I borrowed a couple of screenshots to emphasize my point. I’ll provide a link below also so you can check the references like I did to make sure the article was a creditable source. You can’t just believe everything you read online. Right?

What’s even better about bacon is the quality of the fat. Yeah, who’d think it?!

Check out the entire article.

I think the hams were my favorite part of the whole experience of raising pork from the ground up.

Thanks to a couple of University websites and a couple of YouTube videos I learned the art of curing hams “country style”. This is done by rubbing the hams with salts until they can’t absorb anymore, leaving a thick layer on by wrapping the ham in brown paper and hanging them in a cool shed/spot for a couple of months. I converted what used to be my garden shed into a larder because it’s location keeps it extra cool and even temperature without much help. I used the same bags that I cover deer with it’s much like a cheese cloth to hang the hams.

After a couple of months the brown paper is taken off a new bag is used to hang it from the rafters for what’s called a “summer sweat”. The hams are very dry at this point which helps with mold and the salt keeps the pests away. It’s pretty fascinating to learn how people used to do things before refrigeration.

When it’s time for smoking, the ham is soaked for 12-36hrs to get the extra saltiness out. The below picture is a ham ready for smoking. It’s not the most beautiful thing.

After about 48hrs of low smoking the ham looks delicious!

I use a charcoal smoker which means checking on it regularly. After smoking two hams some bacon and summer sausage for Christmas I think I lost all the weight that I ended up putting back on from eating over the holidays! Nice trade off if you ask me.

A true summer sausage is left to hang for a few days to ferment before it’s smoked to perfection. I could post a chapter on pork alone so I’ll leave you here with some mouth watering pictures of bacon and summer sausage until I get another chance to sit down and share some more.

It’s 8:30am on a Saturday and after some awesome homegrown bacon and eggs it’s time to go play!

What do you think, is homegrown healthier or is it just the health benefits of exercise and being outdoors raising food which evens up the score?

Either way I can’t wait to bring home the bacon (and all the other porky parts) and start the journey again.

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TGIF!?

In my quest to get fit and lose weight I wear a Fitbit Charge 2. It watches my heart rate and movement and is pretty dang smart in knowing if I’m asleep or not.

The above is a peek at last night’s sleep which makes me happy it’s Friday. I haven’t been playing with the horses all week because I’ve had to come straight in from farm chores to get breakfast ready before my teen leaves for school.

I won’t be sleeping in just because it’s the weekend but I think more exercise in the morning playing with the horses will help me sleep better.

You ask, why not play with the horses later in the day? Unfortunately the rest of life happens after breakfast and a quick blog post. Homeschooling the tween, my own education, house work, business stuff and then it’s time to make dinner, go to bed and start again.

The weekend is my downtime from all things school, besides farm/outdoors education. It’s amazing what you learn when you get busy with animals or in the mountains.

This morning was a bit of a drag due to craptastic sleep, luckily there were Omelette Bites left from yesterday although I had planned on making burrito bites this morning. I had some left over burrito makings from last night. I might make them in the morning.

Ok back to trying to wake up. Or give in and take a nap. Hmmm…

Happy Friday!