Hog Harvest 2016 – Part 1

Following is a post I wrote about four weeks ago…  Since writing this post activity on our little homestead for my part has come to almost a complete stop.  Soon I will share with you why that is.  Until then I hope you enjoy the read.


We harvested one of our hogs and by far this hog was the best harvest and quality meat we’ve gotten from any of our hogs.  Don’t get me wrong, they have all been good, but this one is just exceptional.

This year we called on our local processor to help with the harvest and he skinned and quartered the hog for us.  That saved us so much time, and I’m glad to support a local small business.  Also, with me having a little more experience I’ve gotten better at my butchering skills, seasoning skills and packaging skills.  I enjoyed the entire process.

I am so please with our bounty from this hog.

Bacon…  Oh the bacon….  My favorite part of the hog!  We got about 35 lbs of bacon.  Here you can see the pork belly prior to me adding the cure mixture.



Here is the bacon with the brown sugar, salt and fresh black pepper cure.  It will cure like this in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days with me flipping it over and applying another coat of cure to it after the 4th or 5th day.

Then the cured pork belly will go into the smoker for 4 – 6 hours over smoked hickory chips.  I truly think someone should package a perfume that smells like bacon smoking in the smoker.  It’s the best!



We got 2 beautiful tenderloin, which is actually the back strap, because it goes down the length of the spine at the top.  After trimming we ended up with 4 pork loin roast weighing 3 – 4 lbs each.


Also trimmed from the tenderloin was 8 thick boneless pork chops.


And to the left of this picture you will see what is called the fish, which is actually the tenderloin.  It is the most tender part of the hog (and the deer for that matter).

All of the tenderloin, chops and fish were brined overnight then dried and vacuum seal packaged for the freezer.

The racks of ribs were trimmed and vacuum seal packed straight to the freezer.

This is a lot of work, but it is one of the most rewarding things we do on our homestead.  Our hogs live a happy life on the homestead and the harvest of our hogs or any animal on our homestead is a peaceful and respected process.  Knowing where our food comes from is a priority for us, one that we enjoy working hard for.

Up next will be hams, hocks, sausage and boston butts.  We’ll be starting the smoking process too.

Till next time,




Clean Food, Is It?

Choosing a clean food diet is a personal choice.  It is a choice that I made to help with my digestive issues, and I’m 100% sure that it has helped me stop the Prilosec.

The Z Man and I are not 100% clean food people, we are probably more around the 75% range.  But it is a conscious effort for us because we want to know what we are putting in our bodies.  Still there are times we backslide a bit.  We are human.  But honestly when we do eat something out of the norm for us, more often than not we immediately regret it and wish we hadn’t.

Sometimes even the healthy choices can be deceiving.  For example during the busy summer months when I was working 6 days a week I would sometimes swing by the grocery store for a bag salad to have for my lunch.

  1. An entire bag salad complete with croutons, dressings, fruit, nuts (you get the idea) is $3.00 whereas a salad from a restaurant would run around $7.00
  2. Choosing a salad for lunch IS a healthier choice than restaurant food and most certainly healthier than any drive thru food.
  3. A bag salad is quick and easy, just dump in a bowl and eat which is very convenient.

Take a look at these pictures of what actually comes in a bag (caesar) salad.



Take another look at the ingredient list for this bag salad in the second picture.  YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Granted that the unwanted ingredients are mostly in the dressing and croutons, but even the cheese has unwanted, unclean ingredients.

That is why I make my own dressing.


A simple but great basic salad dressing is:

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake to blend.  Done!

Then you don’t have all those unnecessary and unwanted ingredients in your salad, and you are eating clean.

The basics of a clean food diet for us is

  • Five or less ingredients on the label.
  • No unpronounceable ingredients.  If I can’t say it and don’t know what it is then I don’t want to eat it.
  • Natural sugars such as raw honey and pure maple syrup.
  • Cook real food – think of it as what your grandmother or great grandmother cooked and put on the table.
  • Cook your own food so you know what’s in it even if you have to do weekly or bi weekly meal prepping.
  • Read ingredient labels, read all ingredient labels even on the simple items.  Trust me, you’ll be surprised!
  • No meals received through a drive through window.

Like I said earlier, eating clean is a personal choice and one I’m glad I’ve made for me and the Z Man.

And if you decide to try it, then I hope these few tips will help you get started.  Just remember, it’s not about being perfect it’s just about being comfortable with your choices.

Till next time,




Let’s Put It In A Pot

I was just sharing with a friend who has a couple of mean roosters how my Grandma more than once put a (mean) chicken in a pot.

I was very young but I remember being chased and pecked at by a mean chicken and before I knew it she had that bird in her arms and a pot was on the stove.


It’s what’s cooking for dinner tonight and I love that I have such fond memories of my Grandma.

Till next time,





Day 10 – No Prilosec – Update

I’m not proud to admit this, but to be thorough with this process, all needs to be noted which includes the good, the bad and the ugly of it.

Last night I had a bit of a melt down and was really having a pity party for myself.

See today is the 10th day of not taking prilosec (omeprazole) and for the past 7 days I have been experiencing some considerable discomfort with heartburn and reflux.  It’s not constant, but it’s pretty typical after any meal I eat.

With this has come a bit of depression and I recognize it, but recognizing it doesn’t make me able to ignore it.  This depression has caused me to be a bit of a short fuse.

The depression stems from constantly worrying about what I can eat, and how it will affect me causing pain or not.  Like I said in a different post, when I was taking the prilosec I could eat or drink anything I wanted and it didn’t affect me.  Just take a pill and it will be all better.  This includes wine.  I have come to realize that I simple can not drink wine, and as shallow as this sound I’m a bit sad over it.

The Z Man encouraged me last night not to give up and to do more research, to keep on keeping on.  Which is so incredibly generous of him because he is the one who suffers the most from my mood swings and frustration.

The potato soup and cornbread I made for dinner last night was a lovely meal, but even the small portion that I ate caused me great discomfort.  I suppose it was the onions in the soup.

I went back to my natural foods store this morning and got very lucky because there was a representative there who knew a lot about the subject of the PPIs drugs (prilosec, nexium, omeprazole) and was able to share some information with me as far as diet including bone broth (which I happened to bring with me for lunch today)

We went over everything I’m currently taking and he was in full agreement with all of them, however he suggested that I’m just not taking enough of them.  So I will increase the doses of my current supplement regimen which you can read about here.

Sometimes, like last night I needed something for fast relief of heartburn and reflux, so I picked this up at the natural foods store this morning too.

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I know I’m on the right path, and I know it will get better in time, I’m just being a bit impatient.  For so long I was able to eat and drink anything I wanted and now (at least for right now) I’m not able to do that.

But I will keep on keeping on.  30 days of increasing the supplements and a stricter diet.  Here we go!

What’s Cooking 5/18/16?

  • Breakfast: bone broth (homemade – chicken)
  • Lunch: same as lunch – bone broth
  • Dinner: same as lunch and breakfast – bone broth

I’m taking a break today from food, giving my digestive system a rest.  And guess what, so far no heartburn or reflux.

Have a great day,

Till Next Time,