imageI frequently have people ask me how to figure out live- versus hanging-weight, and how much they are paying per pound for their final cuts of meat. It can be very confusing figuring out the whole “weight thing”. I worry that consumers will feel misled and be frustrated if we aren’t transparent with them about how it works.

Case in point- here is an anonymous post on craigslist from a week or two ago, from an obviously disappointed lamb customer. I have no idea who this is, nor do I know the two farmers to whom he/she is referring (but I know from the descriptions neither one is me!).

A lady advertised her lamb weighs 110-120 lbs and the actual hanging weight was 75lbs according to the butcher’s written receipt, and I received about 40 lb of meat. The second time, the other farm processed the whole lamb for me. They bagged and wrapped the box and put in the trunk for me. It weights only 40 lbs from a 100 lb lamb, and visually inspected after I got home – all four leg meat were missing. Buyer beware, so I learned.

So, how does it really work? This person’s example is actually a great one!

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imageThere is an interesting discussion on foodborne illness going on over in my raw milk post, and when looking up some stuff about that, I ran across a tidbit that reminded me of a pet peeve of mine. And that is, the widespread misunderstanding of incubation periods of bacterial infection in humans.

I am one of those people who was a victim of e. coli infection from a restaurant.

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MilkI have been curious about the raw milk movement for a while. Unpasteurized milk is supposed to bring so many health benefits: enzymes, probiotics, and undamaged vitamins and minerals. It’s thought to aid digestion, and be tolerable for people who have been declared “lactose intolerant.”

It’s been in the back of my mind to try to find a source for it, but I assumed I’d have to drive a long ways to get it, and that would be unsustainable. It would be great if we could milk our ewes, and they could certainly support it. But we aren’t set-up for it, time-wise, or equipment-wise, at this time.

Naturally, I was excited to read in the latest Conservation District newsletter about a brand new raw milk dairy that opened just south of Monroe. It’s called The Art of Milk. Yay! I drove out Saturday to pick up a couple of bottles to try. It’s only a four-minute drive from downtown, and the farm is very well-marked with a gigantic sign that says RAW MILK. They have an espresso-stand style drive-up window for added convenience.

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PestoWe froze a bunch of fresh basil from our garden last fall, so we could make “fresh” pesto during the winter. Pesto is simple to make for a weeknight meal, and is oh-so-good on pasta. I wasn’t sure how well basil would freeze, because if you’ve ever seen what it looks like in the garden after a frost, it turns a nasty, goopy black! Smile with tongue outBut it worked fine in vacuum sealed bags.

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CukeAndCarrots

Our garden produce is winding down for the year. We got an amazing amount of stuff, considering how little effort we put in. We have a whole basket full of potatoes in the pantry, which we are rapidly eating down. I love to make mashed potatoes with either a sweet potato or yam mixed in- a tip I learned from a past neighbor of mine, Barb, who felt that sneaking those in improved the healthiness of regular mashed spuds, while still pleasing her kids! 🙂 It improves the flavor, too, I think!

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RoastedDuckSunday we had a coyote attack on our ducks, after going all summer without losing any. Usually a coyote will just take one duck and make off with it. But this time, it was a major fray, in the middle of the day. We had fourteen ducks, and I think this little doggy managed to bite every single one of them! It was either a group of coyotes (though Kirk only saw one streak across the driveway when he went outside) or a young pup that got carried away with enthusiasm and unskilled efforts at dispatching birds!

Three ducks are outright missing (sewn-up duck is one of them, I am sad!). I found two freshly dead, and another died later from apparent internal injuries. So, we are down to eight from fourteen, in one incident! Ouch! I’m not certain we have a boy left in the group either, uh oh!

The two freshly killed ones I decided we could eat, they were still warm when we found them, and I had time, so I butchered them up! A hillbilly would never let a coyote’s leftovers go to waste, after all! 😉

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NewFridge

We bought a new refrigerator last week, and boy what a luxury it is! Our old fridge was only 18 cubic feet, the classic style with the freezer on top. We chose a new LG brand, 25 cf, with “French door” style doors, and the freezer on the bottom as a drawer. The thinking goes, you don’t open the freezer a lot, so why put it at eye level and the most convenient location; while you constantly have to stoop to reach the often-accessed produce drawers at the bottom of the fridge? (more…)