Monday, October 29, 2012

Trailer Extension

#4 and I have been working on firewood alone a lot lately.  My little trailer (the green part) works out pretty good for the two of us.  It holds just a bit more than one tank of gas in my chainsaw's worth of cutting.
I bought a cargo net in the spring to cover it, but the holes are too big.  Pieces would still slip out.
So I built a little extension.  And in keeping with my power outage story line- I cut all of the pieces with my chainsaw.  Oh, ok.  In truth, I was too lazy to get the mitre saw out and measure everything.  Chainsaw construction rocks.

We also had friends out yesterday, who volunteered to assist with firewood.  Friends doing firewood also rocks!  We filled my trailer, the pick up truck, and the big trailer.  That should go a long way toward filling the woodshed!  #4 and I have our work cut out for us this week, getting it all unloaded and piled.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beef Tally

So little baby Casper grew up to be a mighty fine specimen.


I guess I should have taken more pics of him, for comparison's sake.  This was early spring, one year old.
We butchered him at 1.5 years. Here's the tally.

Steaks- a pound or more each:
Rib Steak-16
Rib End Steaks- 17
Sirloin Steaks- 6
T-bones- 26
 At least 65 lbs- 11 meals.

Tenderloin- 2lbs
Shoulder Roasts- 81lbs- 21
Rump Roasts- 108lbs- 28
Ground Beef- 72lbs- 36
Stew- 22 lbs- 12
Jerky- 8lbs

109 meals, not including leftovers- you know some of those roasts are big enough to serve double duty as hash the second night.   Roughly 358 lbs of beef. 

Compared with Steaks last year- 63 meals.
  • Beef - Ribs - (meals) 3
  • Beef - roast - 32
  • Beef - Steaks- 10 (meals) + 2
  • Beef - stew - 16
  • Beef - tenderloin- 2
  • Beef Stock- 50 cubes
  • Beef- tallow- 7 pints
Some differences to note- roasts were cut smaller the first year, with very few leftovers.  Rib meat was cut off the bone this year and added to ground.  We cut a larger variety of steaks last year, from the rump and shoulder back strap.  This year I left most of those portions as roast.  The tenderloins stayed on the t-bones this year, which meant I had to start cutting on Day 8.  Day 7 probably would have been better, with the weather getting a bit too mild.  Stew meat this year is all roast trimmings, so much more tender.

The meat is safely divided between the three freezers though, so if we lose hydro to one, all won't be lost!

I'm still working on stock and tallow, and I have yet to package the doggy stew portions. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ground Beef

I started with my little moulinex multipurpose grinder/shredder.
I think I wore it out.

Then I moved onto the new meat saw grinder.  I broke it.  

Two days old, and kaput.  Not happy.  Dad ripped it apart and fixed it.  Shoddy craftsmanship.  Probably made in China.  It's not likely to break again any time soon though!
After Dad's repair job it works better than before I bought it.  It zips through everything.  I am very pleased.

I don't usually do ground beef, preferring stew.  Ground beef is pretty cheap at the grocery store, however,  the sheer size of this job was daunting.  Doing ground beef was much less time consuming than trimming all of the fat for stew.

We decided to skip the ribs- we aren't fans anyway, and instead trimmed off all the meat for ground.  Along with the shanks, the flank that didn't get used for jerky, and bits of trim here and there, it really added up!

I have one quarter left to do today, and then tallow and stock to finish.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Food Storage- Cold Room

I'm fairly happy with the state of the cold room this year.  Despite the lack of berries, I managed to fill it up with lots of other good eats, and even added two new shelves. 
The 'store bought' shelf has more home canned goods than ever before, and I'm hoping to knock a couple more things off the shopping list on that side yet.  Here's the breakdown...

salmon- 7
tomato soup- 10
cream of mushroom soup- pints- 9
mushrooms- 16
assorted canned fruit- 12
cream corn- 10
pasta sauce- 21 + 3 quarts
apple juice- 23
relish- pints- 16.5
cream of celery soup- 1 + 8.5 pints
pickles- 2
mustard- 1
hot pepper rings- 1
manwich- 2
zoodles- 2
ketchup- 3 + 8 quarts
BBQ sauce- 8
salad dressing- 4
mayo- 3
olive oil- 8L
vinegar- 1 white, 1 apple cider, 2 quarts raspberry
beet juice- 4 quarts
pickle brine- 4 gallons

assorted jams & jellies- 196 half pints
syrop- 9 pints
crabapple sauce- 8 pints

pectin- 12 half pints
ham and potato soup- 9 pints
stew- 3 pints
tallow- 1 quart
cabbage- 9 quarts
lemon curd- 4 pints
peaches- 2 pints
salsa- 49 pints
yellow beans- 15 pints
dog food- 12 pints (chicken noodle soup, not fit for humans)

grape juice- 12 quarts
squash- 5
pumpkins- 4
seed box

I had to buy 4 more cases of pint jars and 2 more cases of quart jars, in addition to whatever I picked up at the thrift stores.  I still have a case of quarts, but I'd need to buy more pints if I wanted to can anything that size right now.  I also used all but a few half pint jars.  Which means I'll need a bunch more before berry season next year.  Some will be ready to be reused, but most of the stuff we go through quickly is in quart jars, so it'll take a couple of years to get the smaller jars back.

dill pickles- 52.5 quarts
pickled beets- 60.5 quarts
blueberry sauce- 10 quarts
watermelon preserves- 9 quarts
lemon lime concentrate- 17 half pints
lemonade concentrate- 13 pints
tomato juice- 11
coffee- 7 x 2lbs
assorted pop and juice
potatoes- 35 lbs (I need to see the potato man)
a bit of lard
mangels- 10 gallons
rice- 4 x 8kg
flour- 7 X 10kg
carrots- 5 gallons
assorted pop and juices
onions- 10 lbs

apples (no pic)- about 5 lbs

I'm waiting for sales to finish stocking up on rice, flour, onions, and pasta sauce (we use a lot!).  I'm hoping for a big apple sale, but I have my doubts on whether it'll happen or not.  Otherwise, just a few things needed here and there to top off the shelves.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's Time

Husband took aim, and made the perfect shot.  #2 jumped right in this year.  #1's knife was the sharpest.  I wish I could say I got to stand back and watch, lol, but no dice.  Casper won't be breaking out of the pasture anymore.

He's nearly double the size Steaks was last year.  We had to cut him in half.  The castration was also a total fail.  He very definitely had both testicles still. 

10 days to hang.  The weather forecast is good.  My mouth is watering already.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What happened To Fall?

Last October I was butchering turkeys, getting firewood, canning, and winterizing the garden.  All things I still need to do this year.    I sure hope this doesn't stick.  It's awfully deep for a first snow though.  Almost two inches...

In other news, I'm still canning.  Down to the crabapples- probably two batches left to do, and any odds and ends I buy.  I'm just doing my canning/recipe posts on my recipe page now, The Country Kitchen, rather than here and a shorter post there.

I'm also writing a fictional little blog, Wendy's Colony, about what I think we would do if the apocalypse started now.  It's a fun writing experience, and it makes me think about things a little differently.

It's also moose season.  We only have calf tags this year, so I guess my heart really isn't in it.  I'd rather be bird hunting.  Especially since Smitty is now The Best Dog Ever!  From day one my boy has shown me he has all of his Grandpa's instincts, and so many more.  He doesn't have his Grandpa's stomach though- not yet anyway.  The girls are thankful for that, as they get a treat when we get back.  If I could just convince him to bring the birds to me, instead of just pinning them to the ground.  Honestly though, at 4 months I wasn't expecting much more from him than to go for a quad ride, so I am super excited for the future.

Here's hoping for a bit of Indian Summer before winter really sets in.  I still have lots of work to do.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Return of Indoor Plumbing

Oh, how I've missed you, lol.  And the floor's not bad either.

Notes for TEOTWAWKI:  While a bucket with a toilet seat will work, a camping chemical toilet like this feels so much more civilized.  The sealed compartment makes carrying the contents to the outhouse much less icky, and less smelly indoors. 

Sure, we can all manage to go out to the outhouse through the day, but overnight?  I'd much rather the convenience of the bathroom down the hall...