Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March 20, 2019

Today was quite a day in the life of homesteading.  It started with retrieving a blue bird from our wood stove pipe.  The tulle leftover from my daughter's wedding has been used to catch birds three times.  Before, a bird would get completely down to the firebox.  This time, we had to raise the flue, as he had kicked down dust and creosote that blocked his way into the firebox.  He was quite happy to fly away once I carried him outside.

Of course there were usual chores such as making sure my husband had a lunch and to go breakfast, dishes, laundry, and mopping the floors along with all the extra dishes from rendering the pig fat.  I rendered the leaf fat inside and the back fat outside.  I don't think the heat was low enough on the fish fryer, even though I turned the propane as low as possible.  To lessen the time/electricity used/propane used, I first cut the fat into strips, then ran it through the food processor.  It only took about an hour to render.  It wasn't the best way if you really want cracklins, but we didn't care, so I gave all the little left over pieces to the chickens.  I got about two pints of rendered leaf fat (for cooking), and enough rendered back fat for about a batch and a half of soap, so I was happy.  Then there was the continuation of the work on the smokehouse for smoking the bacon and hams once they are finished with the salting process.

Today I dug out and poured the concrete base for the fire pit.  That was quite the adventure.  Once I finished digging and leveling the area I wanted to pour the concrete, I mixed one 80 pound bag of concrete at the time.  With the first one, when I started stirring the concrete mix with water, the axle came out of the wheel on the wheelbarrow.  I had to haul it to the hole to dump it in (without a working wheel) before I frantically had to fix the wheelbarrow before the concrete set up.  I ended up needing only two bags of concrete for this space.

Once I finished that, I went to put up the wrenches in the tool kit, and I made the mistake of closing the wrong side, so all the sockets rolled out and went behind the workbench.  Then I had to crawl on my belly and use the broom to try to get them recovered.  I somehow tore my jeans in the process.

The two pigs that we grew (Red and Freckles) grew well.  One was 406 pounds at processing time, and one was 377 pounds.  Our freezer is overflowing with the beef and pork, and we ended up borrowing freezer space from a neighbor.  I wish I could pull out some pictures, but my computer crashed.  We didn't have any trouble getting them to go into the horsetrailer for transport.  We just started feeding them several days ahead in the horse trailer.

Still, life is good.

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