Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hamming It Up For 4-H

Recently, my daughter joined 4-H. I might add that this was not of my doing, I had intended on her joining just not right this second. However, her grandmother stepped in, made the phone calls, had the Extension office mail the packet, and the deed was done. The only problem is that one of the projects is the country cured ham. You see, the 4-H er's that are on top of this sort of thing start curing just after the new year, today is February 12 and we just got the ham. So, needless to say, we are about 30 days behind schedule. Not to worry, being the courageous folks that we are and unhindered by this whole time constraint thing (not to mention I had little choice in the matter since Kylee already had her heart set on showing and selling a ham at the fair) we cured that ham.

 Please forgive the pictures, I forgot my camera at home and was forced to use my phone. It doesn't take the best pics and this is as big as I can make the picture while keeping it somewhat focused.

Kylee trimmed the ham to make it pretty. She was a little scared of the knife at first and really didn't want to touch the meat but after a while she got use to it and I think she did a great job.
Here's the ham after Kylee got done trimming it. Ain't it perdy.

 Once the trimming was complete, it was time for the curing. She actually enjoyed this part because she got a chance to get messy (although she didn't want to stick here finger down the hock). She smacked, rubbed, patted, and piled the cure on gingerly.

After all was said and done, they wrapped it and bagged it and now it is sitting in preparation to be hung in a few days.
 This big boy (or girl, I didn't meet the pig) will soon be hanging from the rafters in my parent's riding shed. Now that the easy part is done it's up to Kylee (and me, of course) to keep an eye on the ham. I can't wait until she has to open it in about 30 days to clean it. I won't forget my camera for that event!

A BIG thank you goes out to Richard and Kristen, owners of 4 Quarters Processing in Perry. They were great with Kylee and she really enjoyed the process.

Stop by and try their sausage. Waylon loved it!
Thank you again Kristen and Richard!

Have you ever done a country cured ham? I love to here from you.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Soupy Winter

With all this blizzard talk and snow caked in the corners of my windows, I can't think of anything better than a big bowl of hot steamy soup. So, here are two porktasitic bowl fetchers that you will just love. Grab your bibs folks, you're bound to drool for Hash Brown Soup and Pork Chili...

I just love me some chili on a cold winter's day and nothing tastes better in chili than a mix of ground pork and a little ground sausage. Next time you make a patch of chili try two parts ground pork and one part ground sausage and let me know what you think. Trust me, you'll love it!
Chili is a very personal recipe--at least in my opinion it is--but this is how I make it:
  • Diced onions (however oniony you want it)
  • 1-1.5 lbs. ground pork and ground sausage (it depends on what I have thawed in the fridge)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (if I have fresh I will use them, if not I like the chili ready ones)
  • 1 big can of chili beans
  • 1 reg. sized can black beans
  • 1 can beef broth
  • I also swish a little water in each can and add it to the pot with a beef bouillon cube
  • The seasonings are up to you, smell, add, smell, add more, taste, smell, add, taste again, etc.
After you finish off that big steaming batch of pork chili try some hash brown soup with ham. I used leftover ham steak for this recipe. It's really easy, all you need is:
  • 3-cans chicken broth
  • 2-pounds hash browns (approx., it depends on how thick you want your soup)
  • 1/2 pound Velveeta (you can add more if you  like it really cheesy)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • tid bits of ham, however hammy you want it
  • Again seasonings are up to you, lil' salt, lil' pepper, whatever you fancy

Grill up a cheesy sammy and enjoy!
What are some of your favorite soup recipes?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I prefer DQ Blizzards!

They say the worst is over; now it is just a matter of cleaning up the mess Mother Nature has graciously left us. But I will be the first to admit Mother Nature could have left us a DQ blizzard instead of this icy mess. Dutifully, my husband is out shoveling awaiting the big tractor (it lives at his brother's house) to come and rescue our driveway. Fortunately, we still have power and for that I am thankful. You can see the blizzard (and my husband out in it) in the latest BaconCam YouTube video. Enjoy and be careful out there!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Come Sleet or Snow or Monstrous Blizzards...The Farmer Never Quits!

In Missouri, like much of the mid-west, we are in the midst of a blizzard. We are down to less than a quarter mile visibility, the wind is blowing like crazy, and my husband is out in this weather caring for our pigs.

I hated to see him get out in the weather but he has to make sure the pigs are warm enough, the barn is running properly, and the feeders aren't clogged. The barns are climate controlled and fully automated but we still have to be in those barns every day caring for the pigs. My husband met his brother over there this morning to hang brooders so the pigs would have extra heat. Anyone who claims we don't care for our animals is full of it! You don't brave white-out conditions because you don't care about the pigs, you get out there because you do care!

Nothing burns me up more than a person claiming that farmers are soulless businessmen that only care about making money. If this were just a paycheck, if this were just a job would we be out in this severe weather? Would we be risking life and limb in order to get to the hog barns because this is just a job? I don't think so! For all those people who stayed at home today but still have the audacity to claim that hog farmers don't care think again! The farm doesn't close because of inclement weather, the farm doesn't close because you have the flu and don't want to get out of bed, the farm doesn't close--period.

Hog farming is a business, there is no disputing that, but it is much much more than a paycheck. I don't know a single person who would dedicate this kind of time and effort for just a paycheck. This is our life and I am damn proud of it.