Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I have one of those scripture-a-day calendars on my kitchen windowsill. My mom gave me one two years ago for Christmas, and I liked it so much I have made a point of buying one myself to be sure I have it for each new year. This is my third such calendar. I love to have the inspiration and source of meditation in front of me when I work at the kitchen sink.

Today's scripture was from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4...

"What a wonderful God we have - He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts us and strengthens us in our hardships and trials." (from The Living Bible translation)

I am in a busy season of my life. Our eldest is in fourth grade, and we homeschool him, so five days a week that is my main focus. Our middle daughter is very academically inclined, so even though she would still be in preschool if she went to "away" school, she is doing seat work for older children. She is also a pretty emotionally demanding child. And of course Little Guy has HIS seat work... learning to get out of his seat and crawl! This new found desire for mobility means I am usually either holding him or spotting him when he is awake. There are many things I can only do when he naps. But there are more things to do during those fleeting naps than are minutes in which to do them.

I am finding myself falling farther and farther behind with the normal things, like dishes and laundry. I am finding myself with less patience, finding myself falling asleep with the baby and having trouble getting up in the morning. I am finding it hard to carve out my 10 minutes to write.

I am just plain tired, really, no matter how much sleep I get.

Today's verse really made me think. I would not say I am in a period of hardship, but I do need strengthening. My eye fell on the word "trial".

Who is trying me, and for what am I being tried?

I believe I know the answer to that question. When everyone is pleasant and the sun is shining, it is easy to be a patient mother. But what do I teach our children if I am grouchy and frustrated when things aren't so easy?

Now before I say this, let me be clear that I do not believe I can earn my way into God's love. But it is kind of helpful to think of these trials, as "try-outs", like auditions for a play. The play is my life, and I am playing to an audience of One.

Wouldn't it make sense for me to go to The Director at the end of the day and say, "How did that one go, what do you think? Was I little too dramatic in that bit about the broken glass? Maybe I need to work on a gentler tone in the scenes with unfinished chores. Oh, you liked the part when I gave out hugs and kisses?"

When all is said and done, the course of my whole life WILL have been played to an audience of One. I want to make Him proud. But each part of my life has extra audience members. In this act, I have a husband and three beautiful children, as well as many beloved friends and extended family members. I would very much like to make them proud as well.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." (Hebrews 12:1-4 NIV)

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Haven't written about Joe in a while. You may remember that we bought Joe in the summer of 2005 for our niece to train. Joe is still with us, and still green. We are probably going to sell him, as we don't know how to train him, and even if we paid to have him trained, we are all absolute beginners with horses, so really need an animal that is old and steady, not a spirited four year old.

He sure is pretty though, and we enjoy seeing him out in the fields with Dominic the donkey and Ruth the mule. I love this picture, taken by our young friend Denise...

Friday, January 26, 2007


We have a new little buck here these days. We got him back in November or so. He is a Nubian. His grandfather belongs to our friend. Ancient Abraham came and had a vacation with us last year, in the hopes of getting Snowy pregnant. Didn't work (we knew that was a possibility given his age).

So this year on a whim we bought his grandson, who Stephen named Esau. You know... Abraham... Isaac... Esau. :-)

After we bought him I realized that while he has the ability to become a daddy, he might not be big enough to reach! Not to mention the fact that Snowy and Sylvester have been pretty tough on him. I honestly don't know if he's bred Snowy. Time will tell.

He is cute though, and after our years with earless goats, he's making up by having ears in spades!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Austin's ice mania makes it on Ellen

This is hysterical. Turn your volume on to hear this:

Ellen show cancelled in Austin because of ice

Delicious vegan and wheat free gravy

This is a modified version of a recipe from Vegetarian Times in 1989, probably the November or December issue:


1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 Tbsp Smart Balance Organic Margarine
2 c. sliced mushrooms
4 Tbsp. tapioca flour
2 c. vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. molasses
1/2 tsp each: savory & thyme
dash pepper (to taste)

Saute onion and garlic in Smart Balance until soft.
Add mushrooms and simmer 5 min. over low heat.
Stir in flour; cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
Add stock, soy sauce and molasses.
Cook, stirring until thickened, about 3 or 4 minutes.
Season with savory, thyme and pepper.
Serves 4.

(This freezes well, so I like to make a huge batch then freeze in small quantities to serve with roast chicken)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sharing the adventures

(Note on January 21, 2007: I wrote most of this in March of 2006, but never got around to posting it.)

Do you ever feel like you are living out a bad movie? Like things happen that are so improbable, and so ridiculous, that someone must have scripted it for plot development or effect?

A good example of this would be that when Stephen and I shared our first kiss, we were sitting under a tree in a park in the evening, and just as we kissed, fireworks, yes, real live fireworks, went off. It was July 3, 1991, obviously the day before Independence Day, and apparently some kids had brought some (illegal in RI) fireworks to the park to play with. A reasonable scenario, yes, but still, fireworks for your first kiss?

Well, it seems that our propensity for goofy situations (see just about every entry in this blog) is rubbing off on our guests.

Visitors' Adventures take 1: When Ben and Esther came to visit us with their family, they drove out into a blizzard at 3:00am to get to the airport, and had an accident in a foot and a half of snow, 100 yards from their house. They tried to dig out but couldn't. They left a note for the owner of the parked car they'd slid into and began to trudge home through the blizzard with their 2 year old and 5 year old, when a police officer stopped them, and made Ben go back and wake up the car's owner to tell him what had happened. The owner was much more reasonable than the police officer (the car had not been damaged!) and said they'd talk on the phone later. As soon as they got home, they called the airline. Their flight was not leaving for three or four more hours. They were on hold until after the flight took off, so were considered no-shows, and had to buy brand new tickets. So not only did they arrive a day late, they had to leave a day early (their seats on their return flight had already been resold!!). The icing on the cake was that Farmer Boy ran a fever from two hours after their arrival until two hours after their departure.

Visitors' Adventures take 2: Our friends Greg and Amy (and THEIR 5 yr old and 2 yr old) are now here with us. After the troubles with Ben and Esther's flights (and his disappointment at being sick the whole time), Farmer Boy was convinced something bad was going to happen on Greg and Amy's flight. We heard not a word from them, followed their flights online; everything was on time and peachy. Stephen and The Princess went to the airport while the Boy and I stayed home. Twenty minutes after the flight arrived, Stephen calls: "Have you heard from Greg and Amy?". OY! Thankfully, they actually were there, it just took 40 minutes for them all to find each other.

So they arrive on Thursday, and on Friday they borrow our car to drive the 3 hrs to Waco to visit some old friends. Four hours after they leave, Greg calls. The tire has exploded. He's put the spare on but is hesitant about driving it back. Later that evening he calls and says they have decided to spend the night because the car was too weird to drive with the spare. Next morning, an hour before we expect them back, he calls again. He'd gotten up early to go get the tire fixed, and when he tried to unlock the driver's door, the key broke in the lock. You see what I'm saying about the bad movie, yes?

Well, they finally make it back, about 18 hours later than originally planned. Sunday is basically eventless, save the breaking of a small part on one of the seatbelts in the truck.

Monday, everyone decides to go into Austin and leave me alone on the farm for some much coveted time to myself. I help load everyone into dad's truck (the only vehicle that will fit more than 5 people), and Amy can't get her seatbelt to come out (a different seatbelt this time). It is positively stuck. Later Stephen calls to update me on their trip. All is going well; I hear about the visit to the ice cream place and playing in the park, and the bookstore Amy is hanging out at while the guys took the kids to a computer store and "The car just died." "You mean right now? It just stopped going right this minute?" "Yes." "Can you turn it back on?" "I think it's out of gas. I have been looking at the battery gauge not the fuel gauge all this time." They eventually make it back to the farm. Greg was the adult who had the most FUN of all, since he was the one stuck in the car with four kids while Stephen walked to a gas station and Amy sat in a bookstore wondering where everyone was.

Should I go on about the cows that escaped when Ben was here or the fence he and I had to repair or the sheep that left the property when Greg was here and we couldn't herd back? No, I'll let you just imagine how much fun YOU are going to have, and what exciting transportation and livestock adventures will come YOUR way, when you visit us.

Visitors' Adventures, take 3... anybody? Anybody?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Our icy world

Pictures from the ice storm...

The ice is thicker than the branches:

Sylvester, our La Mancha wether:

The workshop and its treacherous icicles:

Icy chicken wire with icicles:

The weight of the ice brought down a limb from a tree next to the house:

Chicken feed barrel:

Chicken brooder with teenage chickens:

Icy brush pile:

The kids' wagon with some rocks in it:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fire Starters

It is a rarity that the weather is cold enough to inspire us to light a fire in the hearth, but all the ice got us motivated. Farmer Boy and I dug deep into the wood pile to find dry logs, but some were still damp. It was really hard to get the fire going, so I decided to make some fire starters.

I keep a metal can into which I put old stubs and drips of candles. I boiled some water, put the can into it and melted the wax. Then I tied string around old pinecones that we had collected, and dipped them into the wax.

Here's the fire, all set up... the two ends of the string on the pine cone are lit...

Hooray! It worked! We kept this fire going until bedtime...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


For days the local meteorologists have been all abuzz about an exciting weather event, and it has come. Already dubbed Ice Storm '07, we have been getting dire warnings along the lines of:

- Be sure to wear warm clothing
- Layering is important for increased warmth
- For safety walking on ice do not wear high heels, and take short flat steps.

We couldn't help laughing at "short flat steps." I know, not everyone grew up where ice was a normal part of every winter. But it always takes us by surprise how intensely locals react to winter weather around here. And how little people know about how to deal with it.

Everyone is cautioned to stay home, and for good reason. The fact is, most Austinites don't know how to drive on the ice. Not that it is a safe proposition anywhere, but around here it is doubly dangerous because of other drivers.

To give a juxtaposition: last February our friends were scheduled to come from Virginia for a visit. The day before their flight they got a foot or two of snow. The airport they were flying from was not closed. So they tried to go to the airport. They didn't manage (the roads were still impassible), but the point is, the airport wasn't closed!

Around the farm the cold and ice mean that chicken waterers are filled in the tub (due to frozen hoses), dogs get to sleep in the laundry room, Mamas bake special treats, and kids turn the driveway into a skating rink:

We're in for another day of sleet and freezing rain tomorrow. It's a party!!

Monday, January 15, 2007


I grew up in Rhode Island. There were four seasons every year, each distinct.

Winter was fun at first. It came right before Christmas, and we even had snow at Christmas sometimes. We'd love those first snows... sledding, snowmen, snow angels. I'd even be eager to shovel the driveway at first. But winter in Rhode Island, there by the ocean with its temperature raising effects, was mostly grey and slushy. Those beautiful snow blankets would come, yes, but on their heels would come ever-so-slightly warmer weather, which would start to melt the snow. Then the cold would come and a layer of ice would form on top of the snow, then melting, then freezing, until it was all a big mess of icy slushy dirty snow spraying everywhere from under your car wheels. And just so very much (heavy) work. I got pretty depressed from January to March, and I always got my worst grades in the third quarter. It wasn't until I took a psychology class in high school and learned about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that I recognized what was going on. There was not a lot of sun from December through March. After that I'd make a point to study sitting by a window, and it helped.

Spring was a joy, a relief. It was lovely and bright, with pale green leaves everywhere and daffodils growing in everyone's yard; still a little nippy, but usually sunny... a promise of summer to come. I loved to cut branches of pussy willow and rub their softness against my upper lip. School filled my days, but the sun made things manageable again.

Summer was warm, but rarely hot. We spent our days barefoot, wearing our soles thick on pavement and the rocks at the little beach we visited as often as possible. I can still feel the crunchiness of my skin after swimming in the ocean, the smell of seaweed in my hair, the sand between my bathing suited bottom and the vinyl seat of our station wagon. Every morning I awoke to the birds singing, a sound I only heard in the months when it was warm enough to leave the windows open all night. Sometimes we'd get really lucky and one would build a nest in the Christmas tree my parents had planted right outside one of my bedroom windows. We'd peer down into the branches from my second floor window to see if the eggs had hatched, and then watched as the babies grew. In the evening my brother and I would catch fireflies and put them by our beds in glass jars with holes poked through the metal lids. I'd ride my bike around the neighborhood and pick wild blackberries in abandoned lots. Our Labor Day party would come, and then, back to school.

But oh how lovely the autumn was. As hopeful as spring was, and as magical as summer was, the fall was a time of pure beauty. There is a certain blue that the sky gets in Rhode Island in September that I have never seen anywhere else. The slow turning of the colors never ceased to capture me. I would look for the signs each day. Here a yellowing tree, there a blush of red, until an explosion of color surrounded me everywhere I went. Red, yellow, orange, green, with vibrant blue above, pulsing with life. Perhaps the fact that winter's death was coming made it even more unbearably lovely; I did wonder that even then.

And full circle to winter again.

We are Texans now, all of my family. My parents, then my brother, and lastly me, have each moved to Texas. We own homes here. Stephen and I have three little native Texans for children. We no longer have four seasons.

In Texas (at least where we are, in the Austin area) there are two seasons. Central Texans joke that the seasons are "Hot and Really Hot." It's not entirely inaccurate. It is hot here for about 8 months of the year (when high temperatures are 90 or above), and then there's the not so hot time. Occasionally it actually gets genuinely cold. And that's when Central Texans kinda lose their cool (no pun intended).

Here's an Austinite mathematical statement to ponder (and a teaser for tomorrow's post):

Cold + Precipitation = Panic

The Iceman cometh....

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Things we've learned on the farm

Today's post is a collaboration between the five Browns. Well, Little Guy had a bit of help.

Things we've learned on the farm....

Little Guy:
1) Must eat Mama's face.
2) Must eat marble.
3) Must eat dog's face.
4) Must eat!

1) Don't try to make a dog your horse (the dog will just sit down).
2) You might like owning a cat.

Farmer Boy:
1) Don't stand under the tree in which the hens sleep.
2) A 6 month old baby should not go in a 9 year old's room.
3) Nice roosters never eat until they make sure the hens have enough.
4) Two plywood boards that are wet from the rain make an excellent slide when propped in the chicken coop window.

1) Never lean over a cow to take food from it (you'll need stitches but you'll refuse).
2) Mules bite.
3) When trying to pry the jaws of a goat open in order to stick your arm down its throat in order to extract a nail from its innards, it will let out a blood curdling scream.
4) Mesquite thorns go through rubber boot soles.
5) Tractors break a lot.
6) Always wear your pants on the outside of the boot.
7) Other people's fencing is much more interesting than it was three years ago.
8) If you plan a vacation to do fencing, the rain you keep praying for will come.

1) Never kiss a goat (can you say fat lip?).
2) Do not straddle a goat to give it medicine. It will not sit down like the dog (see Princess #2).
3) If you have work that must be done today and can only be done when the baby is sleeping, the baby will not nap.
4) Ground beef from the slaughterhouse is best packaged in 1 lb portions, not 2 lb.
5) Free range chickens would rather lay their eggs in the dog house and baby bike seat than in the chicken house.
6) Children do not automatically understand that getting in the horse trough is a bad idea. You have to make a rule.
7) Husbands who were dragged grudgingly to fireworks shows in the past will become 10 year old boys when they have their own box of fireworks and a 68 acre farm.
8) Goats will eat latex gloves. And trailer wiring. And your bike seat cushion. And chicken feed. And horse feed. And the window screen on your front porch. And your baby trees. And all the flowers around your house. And a nail.
9) Hens will occasionally catch a ride in the van to the post office with you.
10) If you're a farm dog, the ideal day includes a dip in the muddy pond, a nice shake right next to your favorite human, then a fragrant roll in a fresh cow patty.
11) The most comfortable place to sleep, if you're a dog, is either on the chair on the front porch or on the welcome mat. Not only does this bring you comfort, but it lends a homey feel to the porch. See number 10.
12) The following can not be given access to a pretty yard: dogs, gophers, goats, moles, chickens, ducks, children. And occasionally husbands.
13) Pretty yards are not nearly as much fun as: dogs, gophers, goats, moles, chickens, ducks and children. And always husbands.
14) The second most important thing on a farm is good fencing.
15) The most important thing on a farm is a sense of humor!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Who needs organized sports?

I'm telling you, billions of dollars and loads of brain cells would be saved if everyone came to understand this basic concept:

You do not need organized sports if you have farm animals.

We have 50 or so two month old chickens in the brooder house. They need to move out of the house and its attached porch, not because there isn't enough room for them, but because they are flying out whenever we open it up to feed and water them. Today the kids and I (all three... Little Guy on my hip in the sling) teamed up to tackle the chore. In the process of removing, refilling and replacing three feeders and two waterers we lost three birds. Well, not LOST exactly. They flew out.

Let the games begin!

For a while there was a rake involved but I did not feel confident that we could avoid decapitating or otherwise maiming a chicken, so that got set aside. There was chasing, there was stalking, there were clever strategies involving feeders, and brilliant side moves to distract dogs. There was lunging and missing. And a lot of laughing.

Guess who won? They might not be smart but they're small and they're FAST.

Round two begins tomorrow, assuming the final winner isn't a coyote swiping his breakfast from under the brooder.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I like my husband

I've been chatting with Stephen about the fact that I can't think of anything to write about for my 10 minutes today. He has given me many wonderful suggestions. Which got me thinking about what a great guy he is, so I'm going to blog about Stephen.

This summer, the Sunday after Little Guy was born, we started going back to our old church in the big city. When we moved we decided we should try to find a church home in the community in which we live. Three years later we were still homeless churchwise. So we decided that the 45 minute drive was worth it.

Since being back, Stephen has thrown his heart and soul into this little community. He became a part of the music ministry soon after we rejoined, and this Christmas played guitar, flute, and trombone, and sang choral music. This is in a church with about 100 people, so we're not talking about a mega church with fancy gear. This is a bare bones tiny church. I was SO proud of him. His enthusiasm, along with that of another church member, helped them to pull off wonderful music (without the help of the paid music minister who was on vacation), that included many church members who had previously not gotten up to share their gifts with the church at large. He spent countless hours researching, rewriting musical arrangements, and practicing. He was at church from 9:00am until 10:00pm on the 24th, just because he wanted to be. He is so good at identifying others' gifts and seeking to include them. He brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. Did I mention I am proud of him?

That is just a taste of the wonderful man that Stephen is. He works so hard to allow me to stay home and raise and educate our children. He makes wise financial decisions. He is always willing to sacrifice his desires for the benefit of his little family. He works a full time job, runs a farm, helps educate the kids, took a class last semester, and in his spare time in 2006 he learned to play the mandolin and banjo, as well as improved at the guitar, flute and piano. In 2007 he is diligently practicing sight reading music, and learning the cello.

Stephen is a man of integrity and wit. He is passionate, yet is the first to admit to making mistakes or being inconsistent. He loves to argue and loves to win, but will always tell you if he thinks you were right in the end. He is an excellent problem solver and has the capacity to marry seemingly unrelated concepts in a way that is almost shocking.

The boy I fell in love with is "all growed up" now. Turns out I married Mr. Right. Thanks for asking, Stephen... I'm glad I said yes.

In case you're wondering what's in that fabric around his shoulder...'s Little Guy in a sling when he was about a month old.

I love you Stephen. :-)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Calf update

When I left you in March we had a bottle fed calf. She miraculously went back to her mother after several weeks. Mom did manage to relactate to some extent, but our little girl never was quite right. We ended up trading her to a neighbor for Ruth the mule:

The little black calf spent several months trying to put on weight at our neighbor's. He bottle fed and grain fed her. Last I heard she was heading for the auction.

The black bull managed to sire more calves; three were born in the summer.

We also took our first calf (a little over a year old) to the slaughterhouse in October. The meat was quite good, especially the ground beef. Being a free-range boy his muscles were strong, so the meat was tough if not ground or tenderized, but what flavor! A good soak in wine for the steaks, and a long slow cook in the crockpot for the roasts have helped make the meat more easy to chew. It feels good to now have our own beef, chicken and eggs. Now if we can get the garden in, and get a goat to actually give birth, we'll add produce and dairy and we'll be practically self sufficient!

Peanut Butter Cookies (wheat free, dairy free, egg free)

1 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. Smart Balance Organic margarine
1 1/2 c. oat flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

Mix brown sugar, vanilla, peanut butter and margarine until creamy. In separate bowl combine oat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add flour mix to peanut butter mix slowly. Form balls (if crumbly, flattened patties might be easier), place on ungreased cookie sheet and press with criss-cross pattern using fork. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Food sensitivities

When I was four years old my mother discovered that I was a much nicer person when I did not drink cow's milk. She took me off all dairy products and I went from miserable child to stable member of the family. When I was seven I was able to consume dairy products again, but I retained a sensitivity to them that still shows when I am under stress.

Our second child was clearly sensitive to foods in my breastmilk, presenting with the classic symptom of eczema. For The Princess we narrowed it down to dairy and chocolate. I removed them from my diet, and she grew out of it by age two.

Little Guy, our third, has been the most challenging and complex case for us yet. I eliminated chocolate, then tested it. Definitely bad. Then I took out dairy. Yup, that too. But he still was having problems. I finally went on a multiple elimination diet, reducing myself to meat, vegetables (except tomatoes, peppers and potatoes) and fruits other than citrus and berries. I took out everything that was a common allergen, and then some. After two weeks I slowly started adding things back in. Now we know he can't have dairy, chocolate, wheat, eggs and tomatoes. And that's in breastmilk! Imagine if he actually ate it!

My weird diet has forced me to get creative. We are eating a much more varied diet grain-wise. The thing I miss the most (besides pizza, for which there is no substitute) is baked goods. I have found several recipes that really work (and have had plenty of flops... eww!). I will be posting successful recipes here every so often in the hopes of helping other folks like me who have to take large categories of food out of their diets.

BTW, Little Guy is the happiest, sweetest baby, but I did not know that until I had eliminated these foods. So many of his symptoms would have been called colic, or reflux, and he would have been medicated for them. In the end such a simple solution. If you have a fussy or rashy baby, do consider food sensitivity. And if you need support, I'm here!

Friday, January 05, 2007


The sausage making experiment turned into a three day affair.

The first night I ground 2 1/2 lbs of breast, leg and thigh meat. It took about 45 minutes. While it wasn't as physically demanding as grinding wheat is, it was definitely slower because I could not get any meat to actually come out the little holes, like it showed in the helpful picture on the box (did I mention this did not come with instructions?). I did get about 1/2 lb through, most of which was given to the dogs because it "cleaned" those nice holes which were still full of machine grease, despite a thorough washing. I am sure all you house dogs out there are salivating just thinking about that raw meat, but Molly looked at me dolefully as if to say, "Chicken again? Can't I just sleep on your bed instead?" Poor deprived farm doggie.

The 2 lbs that I kept mostly came back up out of the hole into which I'd put the chicken pieces originally. Ah, whatever, at least it was the right consistency.

In the morning, using a recipe I found online, I mixed in spices and whatnot and fried up some patties. Not bad. But too sweet (maple syrup in the recipe... I put in way less than called for and left out the brown sugar!), and not salty enough. I also found a critical piece of the grinder which I had accidentally left in the sink during my original cleaning, hence the pitiful first grinding session (DUH!).

The second night I roped Stephen into grinding, and he did a great job. He ground over 5 lbs of thighs and legs in less time than I had done 2.5. He still had some trouble with the meat coming up out of the big hole. The leg meat is full of tendons and membranes that are pretty annoying too. Hard to cut off the bone and hard get through the grinder.

This morning (day 3) I tried another recipe, and this one was a success! It was a bit too salty and I think had too much thyme, but I am going to tweak the recipe until we come up with a winner!

After all my excitement about the hog casings, real life is winning out (with its sick babies, and breaking down vans), and I am freezing the sausage into logs to cut for patties. Three nights of staying up late dealing with dead chickens is enough for me. But I WILL make sausage links some day by golly! There's all that beef in the freezer....

Here are the winning sausage patties cooking:

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The weird things that make me happy

I'm all excited now. I just received my hog casings from Ask The Meatman.

Yeah, empty pig intestines are making me happy. 1/2 lb of cleaned out pig guts will hold 25 lbs of homemade chicken sausage. I have 12 birds that Stephen slaughtered Satruday that have just finished curing (being chilled in ice for 3-5 days) and are ready to be frozen or otherwise finished up in preparation for consumption. The last 37 I froze whole but these guys will be cut up into breasts, legs, etc, and at least 25 lbs will become sausage.

If the teething baby with a cold ever sleeps. ;-)


Little Guy!

A 9 month blog writing break was just enough time to make a baby! :-) Okay, he was actually born in June and is now 6 months old. Here he is having his first bite of "solids" (actually a banana/breastmilk smoothie) on New Year's Eve:

Monday, January 01, 2007


Today I received this quote in an email:

"Perfection is the enemy of the good." (Gustave Flaubert)

Alas, as much as God has done to heal me of my perfectionist tendencies, they still hover around me here and there. One area in which I find them quite present is in my writing. I have been writing for myself - poetry, prose, fiction - since I was 10. I was 30 before I let anyone read anything that was close to my heart. I am far more comfortable sharing what I write now, thanks in great part to email and the internet. Nevertheless, I find it hard to start sometimes because I want it to be "just so".

In my mid twenties I worked for a woman who became aware of my perfectionism as I wrestled with setting up a display case in her shop. I agonized and fretted and arranged and rearranged, and really didn't accomplish much. Through gritted teeth she pointed out, "Done is better than perfect." That phrase has stayed with me lo these many years.

In the interest of exercising my "done is better than perfect" muscle, I've decided to make a New Year's resolution (I rarely do this because, yes, you guessed it, I am a recovering perfectionist and I dread that I might fail).

Ten minutes a day of writing. Most of it will probably be posted here.

You've been warned!