A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Posts tagged ‘pork’

September 2012 Newsletter

Another season rolls in.  Here in Wisconsin the leaves are turning, the air is sometimes crisp, sometimes warm.  On the warm days the yellow jackets, hornets, and box elder bugs come alive and they’re everywhere.  We’ve already had a killing frost, so our growing season is over.  Lee is out on the combine harvesting soybeans.  Grain prices are up because of the poor crops in much of the country and world.  Hog and lamb prices have gone down.  I just heard today that there is going to be a pork shortage worldwide.  We’ll see.

Collin left for his deployment and called last week to say that he’s settled in.  My goal is to send him a box from home every month.  His birthday is in October, so that box will celebrate his birthday, with a little Halloween/Autumn thrown in.
Some of the other grands have relocated.  A couple have transplanted to new cities, and one to a new apartment.  It seems there’s fallout, a domino effect when families go through traumatic times.

For me, I’m learning that I need to live my own life and not worry so much about the others.  I can only do so much, and the older I get, the more draining it becomes.

We’ve had some very windy days lately and on one of those days a large tree limb came down in Cody’s pen.  I didn’t think he had been hit by the branch at first but later I realized that he did get either hit or grazed on his head.  His left eye was very swollen and the eyeball was hemorrhaged.  Fortunately the swelling went down and I could see that the blood in his eye was reabsorbing.  By the 4th day he was nearly as good as new.  Poor guy.

The kittens continue to grow.  The little female calico went to her new home and is doing very well.  They named her Luna.  I still have the 3 males.  I’ve been advertising them on Freecycle, but the only takers were no-shows.  They’re so entertaining and I waste so much time just watching them play.  I love baby animals 🙂


Kalua Style Pork in the Slow Cooker

   Kalua Pork is a Hawaiian comfort food, served at luau’s, parties, and in restaurants and diners in the islands.  It’s also frequently on the menu in Hawaiian homes.  You can make a delicious Kalua style pork in your slow cooker with only 3 ingredients.  Start with about 5 or 6 pounds of pork shoulder roast.  Rub it with liquid smoke, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons.  Then salt it well all over.  Hawaiian sea salt is the salt of choice, but if you don’t have that you can use any coarse sea salt. You have to plan ahead with this meal because it goes into the slow cooker on low heat for 16 hours.  I start mine the night before I plan to serve it.  You won’t need to add any liquid to the pot.  When it’s done, remove the meat from the slow cooker, and let it cool enough to handle.  Remove the juices from the pot and place in the freezer for  30 minutes or so, to solidify the fat for easy removal.  Remove bones and fat from the pork, and shred the meat using two forks.  Return the meat and the defatted juices to the pot, and keep warm until ready to serve.  Typically Kalua Pork is served with rice, but it’s also good with noodles.
Because you started with a large roast, you’re likely to have leftovers.  You could make sandwiches with your left over meat, adding barbeque sauce if you like.  I turned my leftovers into Spicy Pork Burritos and they were so good.  Lee liked them a lot.
First make a sauce:
1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with green chilies  (I pureed the tomatoes, undrained) mild for us
1/4 cup chili powder
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
salt to taste
If you want it more spicy, add a chopped jalapeno, or use the spicy Ro-Tel tomatoes.  Season it the way you like it.
Heat the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the shredded pork and continue to simmer on low for 15 minutes.
Serve on large flour tortillas with lettuce, avocado, and sour cream.

Do you Eat Rare Pork?

There are new recommendations for cooking pork.  We’re being told that pork cooked to 145 degrees, or medium rare, (160 degrees for ground pork) is safe to eat.  Do whatever you want with that information.  Personally, I can’t make myself eat undercooked pork.  I’m 64 years old, and it’s been ingrained in me for most of my life that eating rare pork will give you trichinosis.  Trichina worms are not good to eat.  Apparently, nowadays, most pork in the US is free of trichinosis because they’re no longer fed slop and scraps.  They eat a balanced diet of  soybeans and other grains.   Notice that I did say “most” US pork is trichina free.  From my reading I learned that there are some hogs being fed scraps from grocery stores and restaurants, and I learned that “free range” hogs may be more susceptible to trichina.

We’re hog producers.  We know what’s being fed to our animals.  We don’t give them growth hormones or antibiotics.  I still want my  pork chops well done.  I’ll leave the medium rare chops for those of you who weren’t programmed to refuse them. I’m fine with rare beef though 🙂

Here are two recipes for pork chops.  I’ve used them for decades, and they’re tried and true family favorites.  They’re fall off the bone well done.






5 pork chops
5 medium potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup, low fat
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons olive oil

Brown pork chops in olive oil.  Remove from pan. Add soup and milk to pan and heat through,

scraping up brown bits and stirring well.
Slice potatoes and arrange in sprayed 8×12 baking pan.  Place chops evenly over potatoes.

Pour soup mixture over all.
Bake at 325 for 1  1/2 hours.  Serves 5




4 pork chops
3 cups soft bread cubes
2 Tbls chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning, or to taste
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup water
Brown the chops on both sides; place in shallow baking dish.  Lightly mix together the bread

cubes,onion, butter, 1/4 cup water, and poultry seasoning.  Place a mound of stuffing on top of

each chop.  Blend soup and 1/2 cup water; pour over chops and stuffing in baking dish.  Bake

in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
Serves 4


I Was Gone

But now I’m back…..

My laptop was in the hands of the Geek Squad for 2 weeks.  Longest 2 weeks I’ve seen!  I was able to use my very old desktop for emails and such, but it gave new meaning to Ramona’s “turtle time” expression.  How slow can you go??  You won’t understand that reference if you don’t watch NY Housewives.  The Geeks replaced my defective battery and all is well in my computing world.

This is Lee’s new (to him) tractor.  If you care about tractors, you can click on the picture to see it  full size.  He can’t wait to try it out on the land.  Oh wait…the land is still too wet to work.  Here we are nearing the end of April and not a lick of field work has been done.  It’s been cold and wet and spring has been a long time coming.  The wheat and hay fields that were already existing, have some concerning bare spots.  Crazy weather.  Weather is causing price fluctuations in the grain and livestock markets.  Purchasing corn to feed our hogs is not fun.  It’s really high priced right now.  On the other hand, the hogs are  getting a good price at this time.  I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing we’re not making a profit though :).  We’ve been using a somewhat local butcher shop to process the hogs we sell to private customers and the ones for us and family members.  Not long ago the butcher shop lost their supplier of hogs and asked Lee to do it.  He takes them a specific number of hogs each week, so that’s been a nice boost for us.  First because the butcher shop likes our hogs enough to want to sell them in their shop, and also because it gives us an easy weekly income to count on.

In other spring farming news, lambing season is over.  Our little ram must have been incredibly fertile because all of the ewes lambed within an 11 day period.  We had 3 or 4 single lambs, 2 sets of triplets, and the rest were twins.  Sadly, we did lose a ewe due to complications from a prolapsed uterus so her little son is an orphan and being bottle fed.  I named him Goldie because he’s worth his weight in gold!  We had the vet out twice for his mom.  On Easter Sunday.  Combine emergency charges with Holiday charges and you’ll understand the expense.  Plus, powdered lamb milk replacer cost $50.00 for a big bag.  I don’t think we’ll recoup our losses on this one, but he’s awful cute.

Anyone who knows me understands that I’m a serious fussbudget. When  I was a youngster, and the Peanuts characters became so popular, my Dad bought me a Lucy doll because Lucy and I were kindred spirits.  The thing is, that my family and friends continue supplying me with reasons to fuss, fret, and worry.  Lately it’s been the weather.  Tornados and floods and lightening strikes keep me on my toes.  If you live in an area where bad weather is happening, rest assured that I am here in my house,eyes glued to CNN, fussing and fretting about you.  Pestilence?  Bring it on.  I’ll worry it to death.  Some of my family have been inconvenienced by storms but they’re physically all right.  Some of my friends have lost possessions in tornados, but they’re safe and alive.  Maybe we all should move to a place where nothing bad ever happens.  No earthquakes or tornados or hurricanes or volcanos or floods.  Where would that be?  Most will say Heaven, but I really do wonder if there is any place on earth that is devoid of natural disasters.

I’m posting this photo because so many people have told me they’ve never seen or heard of yellow headed blackbirds.  Well, here they are.  They’re similar to redwings in their habits and habitat.  Larger than redwings and very noisy.  We see them every spring.  Some hang out here and nest, most move on to the marsh.

Now that I’ve cleared my head of all the flotsam and jetsam that is on my mind, I’m finished with this post!

Sharing a Post by Another Blogger

Anyone who knows us is very aware that we’re farmers and that we raise hogs, and sheep.  You also know that we eat meat.  This morning I was surfing some word press blogs via Tag Surfer, and  read this one.   I could have written it myself!  I also saw the Oprah Vegan episode and came away from it with similar feelings.

That’s all I’m going to say and I’ll just let you read the post from The Pleasant Farm.

Big Family News, and Farm Fun too

You might have noticed that the background theme of the blog has changed.  I was tired of the coolness and serenity of the blue theme I had been using for so long, and I needed something green and springish.

We’ve been taking care of business on the farm.  The farrier was here to trim the horse’s hooves.  We do that every few weeks.  The vet came and gave them their vaccinations.  We only have to do that annually so we’re good now until next spring.  We’re so fortunate to have a vet who will barter for her services.  We provide her with pork in exchange for vet work. 

The sheep shearer was here to clip the wool off of the sheep.  We have it done shortly before they lamb every year.  They’ll begin lambing around April 13.  It never fails that the weather is cold/bad on the day we shear.  Poor things are naked and the temps plummet.  They do have a nice barn to go in and keep warm, and they make good use of it for the first few days while they get used to their lack of wool.  Here’s a bit of sheep and wool trivia….the fleece of each sheep weighs 7-10 pounds.  A sheared sheep takes up 1/3 less space in the barn.  You can make 2 adult size sweaters from the yarn of 1 sheep fleece.

Now, on to the family news.

Nikki and Ken spent last week in Oklahoma, and attended Collin’s graduation from basic training.  This picture is of Nikki and Collin.  Collin should be in Georgia now, if his flight ever left Oklahoma.  They had some very nasty weather with snow and ice.  Nikki and Ken had a rough drive home on the weekend.  They were also able to spend some time with JD and his family.  We’re so very proud of Collin.

This little bundle of cuteness is Payten Margaret, who joined our family on March 20.  The proud parents are Paige and Lucas.  Payten was 8lb. 5 oz. and 21 inches long.  She was delivered by c-section.  Being born into this large family assures her of lots of love and attention.  We love babies 🙂

Speaking of babies, my barn cat Sissy has a kitten.

Pigs versus Flu

crispy_bacon_1Since we’re raising hogs and selling them for meat, you might be interested in how the H1N1 (swine flu) virus is impacting  pork producers.The biggest effect it’s having on us is the drop in prices for hogs.  We’re getting less money for them.  Why? Because there’s less demand for pork now.  Why? Because some countries are not allowing US pork to be imported, and because people think they can get the flu from eating bacon.  Really?  Do you really think that?

From Time.com

On April 29, the CDC announced that swine flu would no longer be referred to as swine flu, but as the “2009 H1N1 flu.” It’s less catchy, but more accurate. For one thing, there is no evidence that this virus makes pigs really sick. And the H1N1 virus actually contains genes from swine, avian and human flus. The virus also cannot be spread through pork products — you can’t contract swine flu by eating bacon, hot dogs or anything else that was once a pig. Nor will culling pigs, as authorities did in Egypt, do anything to stem the spread of the disease. H1N1 has jumped to humans and is passing easily from person to person, so it’s now a human flu that needs to be controlled in us, not the pigs.

 Me again…

Taking that a step further, we need to protect our pigs from you, the human, because if they get the flu, we lose a lot more than I like to think about.  Our ag publications are telling us how to take strict biosecurity measures  to protect our herd from the virus.  No more little kids visiting with the little piggies.

porkchop-main_FullCome on people!  I promise you won’t get “swine” flu from pork.  Have a pork chop for dinner.  Would you like a little inspiration?  Here’s an easy marinade recipe to try.   You can’t go wrong when you combine pork chops and beer!  Marinate your pork for 2-24 hours and then grill it.



1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup beer, room temperature

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root




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