Life in the Slow Lane: Winter is here

Photo by Denise Domning

Photo by Denise Domning

Typing this post is going to be interesting. I've got tape on three fingers, two of the cuts are on my fingertips. I'm hoping writing this will break in the tape, as it were, so I can go back to work on the novel in progress.

Winter appeared Friday night, bringing my first hard frost of the season. When I got up Saturday morning and stepped out to feed the cats I immediately stepped back inside to get my coat. It was 20 degrees!

Moosie suggested he should come inside. Bear said he was finally comfortable.

I still haven't cleared away all the frostbitten tomatoes. The sheer amount of fruit is daunting. But I'd like to add more lettuce and cabbages to that garden so I'm going to have to get busy. The picture is of the tomatoes I took from just one plant.

Speaking of getting busy, this is the first Thanksgiving in 4 years that I haven't spent this Monday (and the prior Saturday and Sunday) slaughtering turkeys. I counted birds the other day. I have a total of 17, counting Tom who really doesn't count because he'll never be slaughtered. Among those 17, I have only 2 toms close to full grown. It looks like I'll be slaughtering the week before Christmas instead. With so few birds to cull, I'm not selling any. Instead, I'll keep what I take for my freezer. A few of those birds will go into the freezer whole, but I really love turkey meatloaf, so I'll strip the rest of them ground turkey and save the bones for broth.

That brings me to bone broth. The first year I sold turkeys someone asked if I made bone broth. I think I must have cocked me head and looked at her as if she were speaking Greek, because she went on to explain about bone broth and how healthy it was, especially when the animals have been raised on pasture. At that point I think I burst out laughing. I told her that I'd been making chicken and turkey broth for more than 40 years. Did I know it was incredibly healthy and all that?

Heck no. I was just cheap. Why buy canned commercial chicken broth when I can throw the carcass of the roasted chicken my family just picked clean into a pot with water, salt, pepper, bay leaf and onions and get it for free? I've used bone broth made from beef, turkey, or chicken bones for the base for all my soups, stews, and bean dishes forever.

But not pork broth. First, until I started raising pigs, I hadn't eaten pork for years. As much as I'm enjoying the meat from my own hogs, the broth is so rich that it's almost overwhelming. I can barely choke down a half a cup. That's got me experimenting with it to see how to fit it into my existing recipes.

And speaking of pork, this is why my fingers are taped. While finishing piggy girl #4 this morning, I cut two fingertips. The third injury happened last night while I was sizing logs for the fireplace. My little handsaw bounced out of the log I was cutting and hit me in the knuckle.

Hmm, typing this last sentence was easy, far better than the first sentence in which I hit the wrong key seven times. Looks like the tape is reshaping. Good. Faucon had just started interviewing his first suspect in this newest murder mystery. I can't wait to see what he thinks about the guy. I'm never really certain until the words appear on the page.

Back to work.

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suemrotek 11 months, 3 weeks ago

LOVE your articles. Got a skunk story that might make you smile: I live in Bridgeport and take care of a neighbor's chickens when she travels on holidays. Always has been uneventful -- however, THIS time when I went down to close them up for the night there was a skunk sitting in a nesting box alongside a very tolerant hen, happily devouring eggs (three of 'em, if I counted half an egg and two empty shells correctly). Couldn't get him out even after much thumping and rattling from me. Called husband who came marching down the hill armed with a rake, lots of guts, and his pistol. He eventually got the critter to scamper out using only persuasion and the rake handle! Y'know, I'd lay money that this skunk has done this before 'cuz the hens were going about their evening chicken rituals with him digging around and enjoying the buffet under their ample warm bodies, and he just tried to hide when I disturbed him -- never threatened to spray or bite. Needless to say, I now go down more aware of my surroundings to close up the ladies BEFORE total darkness.

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