Saturday, August 5, 2017

This week was awesome

I gotta admit, this is one of my favorite posts. It was an epic last couple of days here. I'm pretty sure if there is some kind of "Redneck Homemaker Of The Year" award I'm now in the running. Keep on reading for the zinger at the end.

What happened?

The little man and I went to the post office Wednesday to mail in my application for an anterless tag.  After spending $20 for a hunting licence in the middle of summer, I had to write out a check for another $7 and send it into the State for the privilege of an additional tag to harvest a doe. Which the state has millions of and, who are we kidding, I have never managed to shoot a deer anyway. Here's hoping this is my year, finally. Although I have no idea where we are even going to be hunting since my grandparents' farm was sold.

When we got home I taught my two year old how to hand wash laundry using a salad spinner. I nearly got rid of the thing when we had the yard sale but it really does a great job of spinning the water out of clothing and is more fun than a trip to the dry cleaners. Who needs electricity.

Updated my Craigslist ad for this rooster, Mr. Boots, who is too beautiful to put in the freezer.  I mean, I will totally eat him if no one wants him but so far no takers. His feet are like two feathered dust mops.  If anyone reading this wants him - he's free for the taking.  Let me know.

The second batch of quail hit maturity and were starting to crow.  I separated the extra males off earlier this week into the rabbit hutch and have butchered 13 over the last couple of days.  I don't remember how many that leaves me but there are 4 of the biggest males left out in the quail tractor with somewhere around 16 females.

Dug up my garlic and a small patch of red onions.  Immediately sowed fall lettuces in that space.   I never cut off some of the garlic scapes and they made these tiny bulbs. What happens if I plant them? Also found some fingerling potatoes in the garlic patch that must have overwintered.  That was a really nice surprise.

Remember all of the $1 laundry baskets bought in May?  I'm using them to dry the garlic and onions! 

Look! A monarch caterpillar!  The butterflies these turn into will migrate thousands of miles south to winter in a very specific part of Mexico.  Then they'll come back to lay eggs in the spring.  It's just amazing to think about.  Let's hope Trump lets them back across the border when the time comes.

That's an interesting picture.

My father brought over two huge catfish for me on Thursday morning.  They're very good with panko crumbs, chilli and lime.  Very grateful for fish that does not come in the form of a frozen plank from the store.  I went fishing on Tuesday and caught several small mouth bass.  I don't think they're in season so I didn't keep them, but it was exciting because I've never caught one before.  

So, remember when I said that some groundhogs needed to be put on a plate?  We have so many of them digging holes all over the place.  I have a toddler running around.  Not a good situation.  Well, an opportunity came up to participate in a project I couldn't pass by.  It's related to a certain internet crush I have and when he asked for helpers I pretty much sent an e-mail begging to be included

Also, for years now I've been running my mouth about how elitist Americans are about protein sources, that groundhogs are probably very tasty "free range, organic" meat since all they do is eat grass and apples and nap in the sun, etc. etc. so there may be a point to prove here too.

One of my prizes.

Not trying to be gross with this next picture but I can't help but show it because it's fascinating -  this animal is a vegetarian and hibernates all winter - would you LOOK at that fat.  There was a half inch layer there.  This is a great example of how impressive nature is.  All of this fat and energy reserve from grass.

Ok, I didn't have much to go on when taking the legs off of these except my 1930's copy of The Joy of Cooking.  It states that there are several scent glands or "kernels" on the groundhog that need to be removed when you butcher it.  I could not find one single picture on Google of what these were supposed to look like.  Also it said "in the armpits'  which I took to mean the front legs.


This is what they look like and I found these in buried in the fat pads behind the knees on the back legs.  Size and shape of a kidney bean.

Have you ever, as an adult, had a moment where you took a hard look at your life choices and said to yourself: "Come on, WTF?"  This was it for me.

That's a paw.  There was a bowl of legs in my refrigerator.  With the damn paws attached.  My poor, suffering husband. Coincidentally my best friend and I had a talk this week about how as educated, liberal women we can display a certain amount of class when needed and then, well, yeah... shit like this happens.  And it's fun.

Cleaned up, they look pretty much like rabbit legs.  Does anyone out there own a meat cleaver that they like?  We're past the point here where I can pretend I don't need one.

That's it.  Butchered 13 quail, 2 catfish and 2 groundhogs in 48 hours.  Garden chugging along  Fall lettuces planted.  Can't wait to see what next week brings.


  1. We all were wondering about the Groundhog incident, fearing the worst and wa-la, there it is ,revealed in it's naked truth. Let me know in advance what your next dinner menu is,please. Love that little man.

    1. Oh, Nancy. I would never do that to you. Hmm. Or would I?
      You should take this rooster off my hands, he would look great in your gardens.

  2. So who's the internet crush? I'm interested if he's eating groundhogs! I have so many of those "what am I doing moments". The other day I was cutting up four cockerels when the online shopping order came! I'll eat pretty much anything and not squeamish. To be honest I think we'd make a good pair! My wife will eat anything (although she doesn't think she's tried squirrel - she has) but won't touch it until it looks like meat!

    1. The internet crush is the wonderful Mr. Hank Shaw. I have three of his cookbooks and am one of the recipe testers for the upcoming small game book.
      That's funny about the shopping order. Once I was out in the yard butchering a duck on the picnic table when a load of school kids stopped in front of the house. Oh well.
      I am a lucky woman, my dear husband declared the groundhog dish delicious.