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Friday, February 10, 2012

Pork, Pallets and a Poultry Plan

My mother is a great baker and a better than average cook.  Growing up she made sure that we had good, home-cooked meals for almost all of our meals; pizza or fast-food hamburgers were a less than once a week occurrence.  I learned to appreciate a good meat, vegetable and potatoes meal.  It wasn’t until I had moved into my own place and started working with two Italians from the New York Islands that I really learned to appreciate food.  I remember going to Long Island for a weekend and walking into the Italian deli with the sopressata hanging from the ceiling and behind the counter they were just finishing stretching that day’s fresh mozzarella; you haven’t tasted cheese until you have tasted mozzarella cheese made from hand that is less than fifteen minutes old.
This winter I learned that fresh pork is supposed to have its own flavor.  In November I told you about the first livestock to return to the farm, Bacon and Pork Chop.  December they were given a new home in the chest freezer in the back room.  The night after they were dispatched my husband cooked a pork loin roast.  Flavor – oh my, absolutely delicious.  My family visited over the holidays and my parents each left with their own package of farm raised pork.  Phone calls since confirm that their meals tasted just as good.
Earlier this week I was getting tired of plain old pork roasts, albeit delicious.  I rooted around the internet and found a recipe for pork medallions in balsamic vinaigrette; I have found a new favorite.  It can be prepared in less than 15 minutes which comes in handy while attempting to calm a crying eight-week old.
Over dinner, DH and I discussed the projects that I hope to accomplish before going back to work at my 'real job.'  Expanding the greenhouse, building a shed for hay storage, repairing the chicken coop ceiling, new fencing for the garden, electric fencing for the spring pigs, etc., etc., etc. are among a few from the list.  We have been collecting pallets from a business in town.  He puts them out to the side of the road for the trash man and luck y for us our travels take us past there at least twice a week.  Our first, tiny greenhouse is made from mostly recovered wood from pallets.  DH began recovering the usable wood from the pallets this week and weather cooperating I will start working on the greenhouse expansion next week.
Thankfully, I didn't fall prey to cabin/spring fever and start incubating eggs on the last couple of fifty degree days.  The forecast this weekend is for two or three nights of below zero weather.  Last spring, amidst a sea of morning sickness, I managed to get a brooder built in the garage.  Unfortunately without any heat out there, the lamp is not sufficient to keep young pullets alive when the temperature falls below fifteen degrees.  DH has assured me that he will not let me start the incubator until the Ides of March to ensure warm, healthy pullets.  I might try for March 1st. Dispatching a couple of three-plus-year-old hens and at least one rooster are planned for this weekend and once the greenhouse has been completed the chicken coop roof will receive some long overdue attention.  It is off to freecycle to look for some salvaged metal roofing.

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