We are drawing extremely close to our butcher date and I wanted to get the word out that we still have five whole hogs available. These were born and raised here on pasture and they are definitely happy hogs. On Saturday, March 12, we’ll be bringing them in for processing. As part of the process we had to try out the ham and bacon from the new butcher. It was excellent.
Today we ate Grilled Ham and Cheese, so yummy. The boys devoured it. We are very happy with the quality of the ham we received and look forward to the sweet Mangalista cross pork that will end up in our freezer.
Here are some of our favorite meal ideas lately to make your mouth water:
Give half a hog a try. You won’t regret it. Get your ham for Easter. They have been raised outdoors with GMO-free and soy-free feed. We charge $3.10/lb hanging weight and the butcher charges $0.58/lb for processing off that same weight. Your butcher costs will be higher if you have them make ham, bacon or sausage for you. Our average hanging weight is around 150 lbs. So a half hog would cost you somewhere around $300.00. Let us know if you are interested.
Don’t know if the title is appropriate, but I couldn’t resist. Please forgive me…
Fueling our boys for their constant activity is proving to become a big chore. Thankfully we have nutrition packed food and some quick and easy recipes to help us out. The following is now one of our favorite recipes. We had been given a taste when some family brought it over to encourage us during a difficult time. It is also easily a gluten free and non-GMO option in our home since we buy Sam Mill’s pasta in bulk through azurestandard.com; however, you can get this at amazon as well. Here goes… Continue reading
When I make beans, I like to make a huge pot of beans. So beware. These do freeze well and it’s a good thing because it takes about a day to make them. This is another in the series of what to do with those leftover chicken bones. If you do not have one of our hogs for that lovely ham hock used in this recipe, chicken broth can be substituted when cooking the beans. So enjoy not wasting that great source of nutrition straight from our farm…
What you’ll need:
– Crockpot, 5 or 7 quart
– 4 cups dry beans, washed*
– Ham hock, 1-3 lb depending on how meaty you like your beans***
– 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar**
– Water or stock to cover by 1/2 to 1 inch
Place the above ingredients into the crockpot and cook on low overnight or up to twelve hours on low. Once the beans are soft, remove the ham hock bone and then add the sauce ingredients below.
Add the following ingredients after the beans have been cooked and the ham hock bone has been removed. Mix and then let cook another four or more hours on low.
– Choose a sweetener: 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar or brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon of molasses or 3/4 cup maple syrup or 3/4 cup honey
-1 1/2 cups ketchup
– 3 teaspoons dijon mustard
– 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
– 1 tablespoon red wine or rhubarb wine (yes we make that too)
– 1 large yellow onion, chopped
– 3 large cloves of garlic
– Salt and pepper (we like Penzey’s Forward)
* Make sure there are no rocks mixed with your beans. I like to use pinto.
** Apple cider vinegar may help reduce the phytic acid in beans which helps digestion
*** Bacon can be used
Laundry, making a birthday special, dishes, bringing a toddler outside to enjoy the mud; these have all been a great part of why I have not updated you all lately. Here is a slideshow look at our lives these past few weeks (toddler pooping in the bathtub picture not included):<!–more–>
While getting dinner ready, one of your kids gets lost in a mud puddle. Well it happens to us, so quick and easy dinner recipes are a treasure for us.
This week was filled with a few great visitors. One of them, being a college student, has no idea how to cook his own meals and feels he has no time to do so. I served up this meal and he loved it. The nice thing about this is that it takes ten minutes of your time in preparation in the morning and produces a great aroma to come home to at night. Now all I have to do is teach him to cook bacon in the oven, sausage and pork chops in a skillet, slice ham for sandwiches and grill brats in the park. Then he’ll be ready to order a 1/4 hog from us. Pork, for me, has become the easiest, quickest, and tastiest meat to prepare. Try it this year, we still have a space to order some more hogs.
This recipe is easy, requires ten minutes of preparation, and is also kid friendly. It can be prepared in winter or summer since it is prepared in a slow cooker. I found this recipe at: Stephanie O’Dea’s “A Year of Slow Cooking” blog. Click on over to check out her version without my changes and to see other great ideas for slow cooker greatness.
This is so easy. Chop the onions and place on bottom of crock pot. Place pork on top of the onion. Pour everything else into the crock pot. Let cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with rice.
I learned many lessons about God’s creation while at the University of Minnesota. Even though there is a strong emphasis on evolution being the explanation for our origins at the U, God’s beautiful and efficient design could not be hidden. In a class that studied the ecology of managed landscapes I learned about God’s design for diversity. One of the main emphases of the class was that diversity is directly related to resilience. As diversity within a population increases so does the population’s resilience to disturbance and disaster. As I pondered this I realized that this is true not only for landscapes, but also people in general and the church specifically. Thus the adage “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is wisdom that God has woven into the fabric of creation.
Where do we see this diversity? Take a walk through the woods and you will see the trees towering overhead. There will likely be 5-10 different species of trees overhead. As you look out at shoulder level there will be dozens of species of shrubs and as you look down many more plant species will be around your legs. And this is only the plants. If you sit quietly for a while many birds and possible other animals will come by and thousands of insects will buzz, crawl, and whir around you. Then kick back the leafy duff on the ground and you will see many more crawlies chewing up the dead plant material. Get out your microscope and you will see billions of lifeforms alive in the first couple inches of the soil preparing nutrients for the plants. All of these species are dependant upon each other to carry out the duties which God designed them to do.
Now take a walk in downtown Minneapolis. See the flurry of activity of business people making their way to work. See the bus driver picking up and dropping off these people. In and out amongst the traffic you see bicycle couriers delivering important packages. There is a hotdog stand feeding the people who are too busy to make their own lunch. You walk past stores filled with sales people ready to sell items needed or wanted by shoppers walking along the streets. There is the street performer reminding people that we live in a world that has beauty in it. There is a street evangelist reminding people that we live in a world created by a holy and just God and that we need to be reconciled to Him. And there is the homeless man begging for money, his dependency upon others an uneasy reminder to many of their own dependancies. All of these people dependant upon each other to carry out the duties which God designed them to do.
Now take a visit to your church. See the people at the door welcoming you in. Hear the Sunday School teachers teaching the kids. The church librarian is organizing the books and the nursery workers are taking care of the young. The prayer circle is praying for the day, the church, and the pastor. Now the worship team is leading people in worship. There is food being shared in fellowship. The men are meeting together to encourage each other with God’s word. The elders are equipping the saints, and the deacons are taking care the needs within the church. All of these parts of Christ’s body fit together, dependant upon each other to carry out the good deeds which God had prepared for them in advance.
Thus a forest filled with a myriad of plant species ranging from the lowly mosses under the leaves to the majestic oaks towering above, along with multitudes of animals, fungi, and bacteria in between will have much more resilience than a mono-cultured corn or soybean field. A city filled with multitudes of people skilled in various things will be much more resilient than a city full of accountants. And a church that is abounding with the all the parts of the body of Christ is much more resilient than the church that has many feet but no eyes.
All of this to say that God designed the pattern of necessary diversity into creation for a reason. The interdependencies diversity creates within nature, within humanity, and within the church all point to one thing, that nothing in creation is truly independent. Yet all creation is not merely interdependent upon itself as panentheism teaches (think Avatar). Rather just as a body needs a head and a stable forest needs its mature trees, and people in general need leaders, so to on a grander scale all of creation depends upon its Master and Creator, Who sustains all things. Thus in the diversity of creation we see that God has woven a fabric of interdependence that ultimately points to Him. Sadly many of our culture are seeing this interdependence and are turning to the godless pagan idea of panentheism rather than to turning to God our Creator.
So I encourage you to do two things. First, as you see the necessary diversity woven into our world and lives marvel at its beauty and declare your dependence upon the Creator of all things, Our King Jesus! Second, help your neighbors to see that higher diversity equals higher resilience and that that was God’s design from the beginning to help us see our dependence upon Him.
This is an article I wrote in our latest newsletter – Mathew