Saturday, January 19, 2008

7th street casino

Here's mom playing the royal reels.

This tribal casino is across the state line from downtown kc. It has no table games.

I am up $0.01 by finding a penny on the ground and by not putting any money in the machines.

I overheard a woman in reply to the comment, "I sure have seen you here a lot," say, "I guess I'm gonna keep coming 'til I win." That's exactly the false hopes that keep casinos profitable.

Friday, January 18, 2008

mike and preident truman

at the truman library

I love the Midwest!

note the baked potato pizza!

Monday, January 14, 2008

wine rack

well, had to put the homemade wine somewhere

Sunday, January 13, 2008

5 panels up

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hog hnging weights are in!

Hog #1: Hanging Weight 154 lbs. (/.74) = 208 lbs. live weight (One half of this one went to Tina the other half to Val)

Hog #2: Hanging Weight 144 lbs. = 195 lbs. live weight (1/2 to Darla; half for us)

Hog #3: Hanging Weight 138 lbs.= 186 live weight (whole to Cathy)

Here’s what I ordered for our half:

From the Loin:
- pork chops (no pork loin) ¾ inch (for easier grilling) (I paid $.45/lb to have 2 to a package – this will force me to eat small portions)

From the Shoulder:
- 2 little picnic roasts (to make pulled pork – they’ve already been skinned so no crackling will be available)
- the rest in shoulder steaks

Leg: normally I would do cured ham. However, I’ve never had ham from Mohawk before so I don’t know if I’d like the flavor.
- pork cube steaks (pork cutlet): I’ve never ordered this before but I wanted something different than the typical ham steaks or cured ham that I usually buy. I envision breading them and frying them for sandwiches.
- Hocks: normally I would have these ground for the sausage but I read that they are a good veal substitute. Since veal is my favorite food that I cannot eat, I’m going to try the hocks in osso buco.

Belly: normally I would do cured bacon but I ordered it all sliced fresh (basically fresh pork belly). I may be getting a smoker and try to smoke some bacon myself as a little experiment. Otherwise, I’ll fry it like bacon and see what I think.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

2007 perry

Racked 3 gal. of perry. Added 8 ozs. of sugar to balance the crisp acidity for a final specific gravity of 1.011

1/3 of greenhouse roof

The livestock trailer

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ever read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle?"

This photo shows 585 lbs of hogs after I loaded them into our new 3-foot wide livestock trailer.

Having raised hogs every year since moving to the farm, you’d think that I would have figured out the difficulty of getting hogs to go where I want them to go.

Friday morning I woke up early to an Oregon monsoon as Jacy headed to court. I figured it would take fifteen minutes to load them. I had withheld feed Thursday night and had visions of leading them out of their pen, across the pasture, through the yard, and into trailer with a bucket of feed like some sort of farming Pied Piper of Creswell.

Knowing something was amiss, the three not-so-little pigs chose to play in new puddles/ponds that the storm produced instead of following me.

Thankfully, they led themselves into the ruminants’ feeding stall on their own. I closed that door and thought up a new game plan.

Having faith in four-wheel-drive, I backed the Montero and ghetto trailer across the wet yard, through the gate and up the hill within 4 feet of the barn door. This was quite an accomplishment considering the 2 feet of muck and mud in front of the barn stall.

Luckily, last week I bought a sixteen-foot hog panel, which I cut in half for the 8-foot feed rack. Grabbing both eight foot halves, I tied one end of each to the four-foot-wide barn opening and the other ends to the trailer.

As I knelt down to tie off the panel to the barn with some bailing twine (a farmer’s most plentiful tool), the pigs tried to eat me. I gently encouraged them to chew on something else other than my boots and my hams. All the while I had a fear of Jacy coming home to three pigs and a Chiefs hat but no Mike remaining.

My plan was for them to get into the chute, lock it, and then entice them up a plywood ramp that I made.

I then opened the gate and loaded the trailer with their favorite treats: chicken eggs, grain and orchard grass. The girls were apparently preoccupied with rooting up the fresh straw in the stall. Grabbing a pig farmer’s favorite tool (a piece of plywood with handles), I spent the next fifteen minutes getting the girls into the make-shift chute. Hogs apparently will root their way through anything except a plywood wall.

At this point, I’m soaked to the bone in my coveralls and have already had one casualty: my favorite Chiefs’ hat. I had hit my head coming into the stall and it had a soft landing in a pile of cow manure. Undeterred, I pressed on.

Once the girls were in the chute, the black hog attempted to ascend the ramp with some gentle pushing on her hams. However, it proved too slick and she got high-centered on the ramp.

With 590 lbs. of hogs in a 4 ft. x 3 ft. space, there wasn’t much room for me to remove the ramp.

So, we started over: girls back in the barn and me removing the ramp.

This time their leader, the white gilt, went into the trailer with minor encouragement and the other two eventually followed. Victory!

The ride to Mohawk Meats 7 miles north of Springfield was uneventful until I missed the turn. Being the expert trailer driver that I am, it only took ten minutes for me to negotiate the trailer out of the narrow turn-off that I wisely chose on a blind curve between two deep ditches.

The next mission: getting the gilts out of the three foot trailer and onto the 8-foot wide loading ramp without them escaping to ran amuck through Marcola. Always resourceful, I found a couple pieces of plywood and made another makeshift chute and got them onto the scales, where they weighed in at 590 lbs. live weight. I then negotiated them down the stairs, around a corner and into the stall that I chose for them. Mission accomplished!

They seemed to enjoy their new sheep neighbors on Slaughterhouse Row. They spent a lot of time sticking their snouts between the panels and smelling the sheep.

Then it was back to Creswell to drop off the trailer and to change into office attire and then a trip from the farm to the firm.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Roofing sheet #1