Dry Canning Meat

Pressure Canned Beef no liquid added

What happens to the food in the freezer when the power goes out? It thaws and you either eat it or throw it out, right? Nope, pressure canning meat not only saves that possible loss, but it also provides safely preserved, good tasting meat for quick, meals.
I dry can ground beef which will be used later in any recipes that call for loose, browned ground beef such as meat sauce, tacos, etc.
One pound of ground beef fills a one pint jar. Brown the meat, drain off the liquid, and loosely fill sterile jars removing air pockets as usual. Tapping the jar on the counter will help settle the meat into the jar without tamping.
(the little bit of fat in the jars is harmless and was forced from the meat during the pressure canning process). These jars each contain one pound of beef which fill the jars to the bottom ridge and became packed down during processing.
Wipe the jar rim with a cloth dipped in vinegar, add lids and rims, and process for your altitude; 75 min, 11 lbs for pints or 90 min 11 lbs for quarts at elevation below 1000 ft according to the USDA directions for beef. This Canning Times is what I use.

Living in yesteryear…. would you?

I was born while Harry S Truman was President, television was very new, we still used an ice box (I was in school when we finally went electric). We got dressed up to go anywhere away from the home. People wore hats, men and women alike. Ladies wore gloves and we matched shoes with handbag/purse. I loved my petticoats which made the full skirts of my dresses puff out. I am glad these dresses are coming back …. I have several but no frilly petticoats.

I would stand by the wringer washing machine watching with fascination at the wet clothing got squeezed through the wringer, and had to stand on a chair to wash dishes at the sink. (I have an old wringer washer and absolutely love using it, also still do dishes by hand).

Our grocery store was a tiny corner store, much like Ike Godsey’s store in The Waltons, where Mr. D would cut meat to order for my grandmother while I browsed the penny candy shelves. Grandmother would also phone the store to place an order which would be delivered later in the day by Mr. D’s son, Johnny. Johnny also delivered the blocks of ice for the ice box. I can still “see” him chipping off big bits of ice for us kids on hot summer days.

It seemed everyone was polite and thoughtful of others.

There was one telephone, usually hanging on the wall in the kitchen (I hate cell phones and have one only for emergency) One television, if you were lucky enough to own one. We have one tv which is more than enough since even with 100 channels, there isn’t anything to watch.

Kids were sent outside to play right after breakfast and didn’t come back inside until lunchtime, and when the streetlights came on later in the day. Kids could walk to school or to their friends’ homes safely.

I miss those days and try to live as close as possible to those days as I can manage in my own little space and if there were a time machine available I would return there in heartbeat.

The world today is a frightening place.  Everyone seems to only think of themselves, countries are caught in a seemingly never-ending war,  and even privacy, along with manners and good taste, seems to be a thing of the past.

Indeed, if it were possible, I would return to a better time a never miss these past few decades.

It’s Been a Difficult Summer at the Farm

To put it mildly, it’s been a difficult summer at the farm.  Our flock of breeding chickens disappeared a few at a time, seemingly by unidentified predators.

We considered ourselves fortunate that at least two hens had hatched a combined total of 28 chicks.  That good feeling didn’t last long.

There are a dozen chicks hiding behind and beneath the hen

The chicks were born in two groups a few weeks apart, so by the time of the second hatching the first chicks hatched were already big enough to be outside.   We kept the new chicks in a large dog kennel for protection inside the hen-house with their Mama until she was ready to leave them alone in the kennel.  The two Mama hens however remained inside the hen-house most of the time keeping watch over the chicks.

When Nick went in to collect eggs, and tend to chickens he discovered a black snack with an obvious bulge lying on the floor.   All the little chicks were safe, so we assumed the snake had managed to get one of the older chicks which were outside.

Over the next few days he found and removed a couple more snakes before they could feast on our birds.

By this time our flock had been reduced by half the adults by predators.  We still can’t figure out how they were taken.  The chicken run is made of goat fencing, which has been layered with chicken wire.  There is also one run inside another, making three runs.  The older chicks were kept in the innermost run.  All the runs were also covered above with plastic chicken wire to prevent birds from swooping in and chickens from jumping out.   No sign of forced entry anywhere.

A few weeks later when I went to collect eggs and tend to the chickens I was shocked to find all the remaining adult chickens dead, and most of the older chicks missing.  The little chicks still in the dog kennel were safe, but terrified.  Near their cage were the bodies of the two Mamas and the one remaining rooster.

At this time we have one chicken who somehow managed to survive by hiding somewhere.  All the other chicks disappeared after becoming large enough to go outside.   The lone hen is now living within the branches of a tall bush near the pig shed. She spends her days with the pigs, foraging and even drinking from their water taps.

The pigs escaped a total of three times during these summer months.  First they were gone overnight and were back in their pen the next day.  The second time, they forced open their gate and were gone for four days before finding their way home.  Three weeks ago they broke through the electric fencing and were gone for 2 1/2 weeks!  We figured that’s it…. their gone for good now.

We figured wrong as they somehow reappeared a few days ago and are now back in their new heavily fortified pen.   With a bit of luck it won’t be long until they are in the freezer.

No garden, no chickens, run-away pigs …. it has been a difficult summer.

Piggy Update

Our little piggies have settled in and have stopped running and hiding when we approach.  Now they come running to meet us at the gate where they line up waiting to have their head scratched.    They also come running when we call out.    They now weigh about 50 pounds each.

We constructed this automatic water from a 55 gallon barrel (it had held peppers and is food safe) and four “pig nipple drinkers” set at 12 inches from the bottom of the barrel.  Water flows while they apply pressure to the lever, then stops when they stop drinking.

Total cost for the automatic watered was  under $50.

Next project is an automatic pig feeder.


Our First Piglets

We got our first piglets yesterday. They are not pets… they are all destined for the freezer in a few months so we cannot get emotionally attached.

They each weigh about 25 pounds and all fit into the same large dog kennel to give an idea of their current size. We expect them to reach 250 pounds each in about 3-4 months.

One is for our table, the remainder have already been sold.



Do You Remember Life Before “Technology”

There seems to be always someone on my FB that posts photos of things such as a wall telephone with a rotary dial and asks “Does anyone remember these?”  or some other relic from what young folks consider “the old days”.

Inevitably there is usually someone who will post a photo of the base of a treadle sewing machine and ask “What is this?”

I miss “my” old days, and the way life was so much simpler and peaceful…. even with the peace marches and bra burnings.  Those exhibitions of social outrage seem so peaceful compared to the riots and vulgar displays happening in our world today.

I miss not being tethered to a telephone when I leave home, and not being bombarded with images of overly buxom Barbie impersonators each time I turn on the tv or needing to fast forward through a movie because of totally un-necessary to the plot, intimate scenes.

I miss morality and good taste.  I miss the days when people kept their private business to themselves.  I miss the days when boys made the first timid attempt at holding a girl’s hand, let alone try to get that first kiss…. rather than today’s girls who are the ones “notching their bedpost”.

I miss the days when no one would dare leave home without being properly dressed…. these days they go shopping wearing their pajamas and slippers…and some wear next to nothing.

I miss seeing 13-year-old girls who look and dress like 13 and not 25.  I miss seeing 8 year olds playing with dolls, and not texting on cell phones or reading books and not playing video games.  And boys being more interested in comic books and baseball than girls, drugs and guns.

I miss having three work shifts, and not flex-time.  I miss when companies hired people for 40 hour work week, and not 39 or less in order to avoid providing benefits such as medical insurance for their employees.

I miss the days when a family could live comfortably on one paycheck, and kids were raised by their parents to be respectful, moral and educated.

I miss the days when people weren’t offended by other people speaking their mind.

I can keep going with this all day….. but I have ranted enough for now.

What do you miss?  If we could turn back the years, would you?  I would, in a hear-beat even if it didn’t include making me younger.