More Lard

With a forecast of lows in double digits below zero, I will be feeding hungry wood stoves for the next two days. It’s a good time to render another batch of lard This fat from Turnip Rock Farm was processed at a locker where they don’t grind the fat. I find it renders better if chopped or ground. So today I started chopping. Will finish chopping and start rendering tomorrow

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The Sun Has Power

Since Groundhog Day the sun has more and more power. Today, even with wind and cold temperatures, I caught all the animals basking in the sun. The cat, Big Red, chose to sit outside on the south windowsill. The geese chose the end of the walk, and with the snow piles on either side they were mostly out of the wind. Oscar was on the other end of the font walk by the house. He …

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Like the Groundhog

Each year around Groundhog Day, the sun begins to have strength, and the earth starts to waken. Several cultures have names for this time – Candlemas, St Brigid’s, St Blaze’s, Imbolc, and Groundhog Day. Like the Groundhog we all feel it – plants and animals Most people recognize the times of solstice and equinox. Old cultures also recognize that magic time between – February, May (May Day), August (Assumption, Lughnasa) and Halloween. This is when …

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Wood Heat

Ken and I always heated with wood. There are advantages and disadvantages like any heat source. Ken used to spend a morning felling trees. Before we had a splitter I would go out with him after lunch and upend each piece that needed splitting and as he split I loaded the trailer. Then we would stack it in the yard. Downstairs there is a culvert queen stove. It takes 24″ wood and will heat the …

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Local vs. Anonymous Food

I took a year off gardening. Why? Well, I knew I could not do it as we had and I had no idea how I wanted to garden alone. Quantity, for example. But i do miss walking to my root cellar and having a second pantry – of “fresh” food. This morning I realized I have quite a bit of local food for my meal. No, the rice is not local; nor is the ginger …

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Rendering Lard

When Ken and I raised pigs, I grew accustomed to rendering and cooking with lard. Before you say eeew, let me point out a few things: people have used lard for eons – it is not some created or highly processed oil or hydrogenated fat. If the pigs are outside it has the “sun vitamins” like D. I can use less and cook hotter than most other fats and oils. A friend asked why one …

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Sub Zero Alone

This week the temperatures have dropped. And I find rather than my usual confident, calm self, I have felt less capable, vulnerable, even at times helpless. I am in transition from a working two person system to creating a single life With cold weather coming I thought about bringing wood in alone. With a bum knee, I am slow and the door is open far too long each trip. So I got out the bulb …

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Swimming and…

My focus for a workout program has been swimming. I go regularly and increase speed and number of laps as I get into shape. My Dad, the self appointed coach, expressed concern that I was only focused on aerobic exercise. Did I lift weights? Was I doing weight bearing exercise? I told him I thought I had that one covered!

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Taxes Done (just waiting for a couple forms)

I was a bookkeeper in a former life back when I worked in a law firm in the 80’s and early 90’s. Although it does not come to me naturally, I enjoy the tidiness of it. And once I have the tax prep done I move on to tasks I view as a treat like sewing or weaving. Now I am just waiting for a couple forms like the interest from the bank.

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