Monday, September 17, 2012

Real Bacon

We might not have been able to have our very own personal pig in the freezer from this batch but we are making it a point to try most of the different cuts and ask for every bit of feedback from everyone, good and bad.
Sunday morning, we’re trying the bacon!
I’m writing this as I cook just because its so amazing, I had to share.
On the Breakfast menu?
Scrambled eggs (eggs, sour cream and a tablespoon or so of bacon grease)
Homegrown Bacon

It only took a couple minutes of warm water running over the package to thaw the bacon enough to peel apart for the pan.  Then When I had cut the end off the bag and cracked the package to take a sniff, I about keeled over because the smell was so amazing!  I keep  walking by and taking another smell.  It’s irresistible!
The slices that UI makes aren’t terribly thick but it really doesn’t matter here.  They cook through within minutes.  Which is good because I can’t wait any longer than that!
The first bit of a little end piece was incredible!

The bacon strips are a pretty good width from one pig, and thinner than I’d like from the other but that’s all breeding and our two retail pigs had very different genetic mixes.  From either pig however, there was definitely a good amount of fat but not nearly as much seemed to cook out and remain in the pan as other bacons.  The eggs cooked with just enough fat to keep the eggs from sticking to the pan are even more amazing than usual. (The sour cream makes them amazing to start with…)
In a .78 lb package, There was approximately 10 strips of bacon.  When I can get really quality flavor bacon, I typically save the grease after cooking for use later on.  I had maybe a tablespoon after cooking about 5 strips (after the initial bit for the eggs) to save for later.  It also had almost no particulates whereas most store-bought bacons will have a great deal of particulate remaining.  Didn’t even really need to run it through cheesecloth; I would have lost all my grease!
If I never had to eat store-bought bacon again, I will die a happy woman!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

“Real” jobs

What is a “Real” job?  do you have to be employed by someone else?  Have health benefits? Make a large salary?

I have heard the question posed to farmers (others and ourselves!) “so what is your real job?” as if farming is just a hobby for us small folks.

I have to admit, I bristle when I hear this question posed to farmers or anyone who is truly enjoying what they are doing.  it makes me want to grab a big pitcher of water and pour it right down the nose of this hoity-toity person who seems to think that enjoying ones job means it’s not “real” or that farming or being a full-time parent isn’t “real”.

I have a full time job off-farm to guarantee our bills paid each month.  I’d rather be farming full time.

Jason has two full-time jobs: Farming and being the main parent raising our children.  Most days, those two jobs blend reasonably well together.

Most people would look as us and say that I have the “real” job and that Jason’s not participating in supporting our family because he doesn’t bring home much if any income.  that is so not true.

So in short, there aren’t endeavors that cannot be classified as a “Real” job.  It’s just that not all jobs pay in cash all the time.

I was listening to Chicken Thistle Farm’s podcast and they were talking about their jobs vs. their farming.  For them, they like their jobs and they don’t want to farm full time.  For them, farming is fun, pays for it’s own costs at a minimum and not something they want to do as more than part-time.

For Jason and I, we want to both farm full-time.  We think we can make our farm pay us a reasonable salary every year.  While there are jobs out there that we can and do enjoy, they aren’t our true calling for our lives.  The challenge for us is how to we get from point A (Margaret working off-farm, farm paying minimally if at all) to Point B where we don’t have to work off-farm and we are earning a comfortable salary.

We’ve had many naysayers on our goal.  We’ve also had many people give us their full support saying “we know you can find a way to do it.” 

Food is important.  Someone has to grow it somewhere.  Why not us?  Here? Now?  And since when does that mean we can’t live comfortable lives?

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