The farmers ’round here are in full harvest swing. The two-week dry spell means it’s almost a guarantee to see farmers out in their fields from daybreak until well after dark. The tractors lights are a bit eerie, when you come upon one suddenly late in the night. Harvest also means that it’s pretty much impossible not to get caught at least once a day behind a tractor pulling two gravity boxes along at about 20 miles per hour. Word around here is that it’s been consistently record harvests. The hot, wet weather earlier this summer and dry harvest period was pretty ideal.
A few weeks ago Mark’s co-worker told him that she had just dropped off our pig at the meat locker and it should be ready for pick-up in a week. He stared at her. It seems we both somehow forgot that we had ordered a half a hog from her early in the summer. She and her husband raise small batches of Berkshire pigs (a rare breed originating in England) without using any hormones or antibiotics. Mark, the locker, and I played phone tag for an afternoon trying to figure out exactly how the pig should be cut; we primarily deferred to the butcher’s best judgment, though we did have a lot more ground into sausage than is typical. The two full boxes we picked up several days later contained:
- 6 lbs. bacon
- 2 12 lb. hams
- 16 lbs. sausage
- 10 “Iowa Chops”
- 5 lbs. loins
- 11 lbs. roasts
- 3 lbs. heart/liver/tongue (not sure what we’ll do with these…)
- 5 lbs. lard (we have ambitions to make chicken sausage with some of our chicken)
Total cost, including purchase and butchering, was right around $2 a pound, pretty cheap, even for Iowa. And well worth it to us, if it means having safer, super-local meat raised in a manner we’re comfortable with. Between the chickens and this pork, our freezer now contains more meat than I bet we ate all of last year. Hopefully we can get through it all.
This past week was the local county fair. We thought we would show some pictures for those of you who aren’t sure what the main attractions of a Midwestern fair are.
Since we’re aspiring livestock owners, we spent some time in the 4H animal barns, where we instantly learned we know nothing about farm animals when compared to real farm kids.
Hairy Cow Calf.
Turken (Chicken meets Turkey).
Sheep in weird cloak thing.
After I had really demonstrated my comfort level with cow tongues, we moved on to my favorite part of the fair–the 4H project booths! It was hard to come away unimpressed by the creativity.
Here, we have a washers yard game, cameo pjs, an apron, and 8 snickerdoodle entries!
A blanket, a cake shaped like a turtle, and a cross made out of old Squirt pop cans.
Place settings (two), more baked goods, and an “eggselent” diorama of a crime scene investigation.