project complete ~

After a series of cutting, seasoning, grinding, smoking . . .
Project sausage is complete ~

 I'll post again soon ~ I have some work that needs to get done for the JPD Warrior Project before I do anything else today.  The fund raiser fisheree is coming up fast .... so much to do .... so much to do.

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


project sausage ~

As promised yesterday ...
today's post is us making sausage.

Our elk, beef and pork meat is all thawed out and cut into smaller pieces.  Next step, doctor it up with our special blend of seasonings and it's ready to go to the grinder.

elk, beef and pork ~ seasoned for  sausage
pork ~ seasoned for breakfast sausage
Off to the big ugly grinder ~

All ground up and waiting to get stuffed into casings.

the elk, beef and pork mixture

These are the casings we're using this time around.  They are fiberous casings ... not the natural casings like you would use on hot dogs, bratwurst, etc...

We are using the fiberous casings for the summer sausage because they can hold a heavier amount of meat versus the naturals.  We like to pre-soak them in hot water and liquid smoke before using.  The hot water makes them more pliable and the liquid smoke just adds another element of flavoring to the finished product.

sausage stuffer 
Next step ... putting the ground meat into the stuffer.  Slim has our son Sam, his girlfriend Ashley, our daughter and son in law, Sara and Don helping him today ...

... he told them all, "You eat this stuff too and it's about time you learn how to make it because your day is coming to take over this operation."  Actually, our kids ~ Sara and Sam grew up around this life style of ours and have always helped out when it came to processing meat, etc... I think he said it for Don and Ash's benefit.

Don was filling the stuffer, Sara was cranking at the handle of the stuffer and Slim was putting on the casings, Sam was clamping on the hog rings on the ends of the casings ~ I didn't figure out what Ash was doing?? Me... I lucked out ... I get to watch!!  Although I did have to do all the dishes and clean up the majority of the mess.  I hate washing that grinder ... it's soooooooo heavy!


We ended up with 50 plus sticks of summer sausage in the smoke house ~

We went with the smaller sticks this time around... they're about half the size that we normally made them.  We're finding the smaller sticks are a lot easier to store in the freezer when done, and get eaten up faster without waste of them drying out in the refrigerator.

Now... finishing up the pork breakfast sausage ~

That meat too had it's turn with the big ugly grinder ...

Some I packaged bulk into Ziploc freezer bags ~ the rest I spread out onto pans and scored it with a knife into sausage patties ... which I'll vacuum seal today after spending a night in the freezer to harden.

We also do our own bacon and side pork ~ hot dogs, landjaegers, jerky, bratwurst, kielbasa, smoked turkey, chicken, game hens, smoked salmon, to name a few things on the grocery list ...

home cured and smoked bacon

( this ones for you Lucy! lol )
or as our grandparents and their parents before them would call it ~ SOUSE

Another aspect of our heritage ... and I hope that our children will carry on when we're gone.

  We live a very frugal and self sufficient way of life up here in the north woods.  
It's hard work ... but I think it's worth it.

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


project feeder ~

Give 2 boys (no matter their age) some wood and some nails and let them play.  

That's what Sam and Don did ~ played around with some scrap lumber and made  a deer feeder for the back yard.  I just love it ~ and so do the deer, rabbits and birds.

I can only imagine what the bluejays must have thought when they saw it ~"we hit the mother load!! Look at the size of that bird feeder!"

Feeding deer is legal in our section of the state, some places though, it's not.  However, we are regulated on how much feed we can put out.  We're allowed 2 gallons of  feed a day in a 40 acre area.  Now, we can put the corn (that's what we feed them) in the feeder instead of it being tossed all over the ground where the deer have to paw through the snow to eat it.

Been doodling again .... I drew this pic a while back; but now I'm going to draw it out on a board and try to paint it.

Tomorrow's post ...
Project sausage ~ We have some pork that is going to get turned into breakfast sausage and some elk and beef that is going to get transformed into summer sausage.

The meat is thawed ~ the spices are mixed up and waiting ... along with the sausage casings ~

and the old Hobart grinder is cleaned and ready to do it's grinding ~ NOTE TO SELF ... That grinder sure would look better with a fresh coat of paint. It's exterior is getting rusty... but the interior is as pretty as the day it was born.  We only paid a $100.00 for that grinder when a grocery store went out of business about 25 years ago.  It certainly has been used by us a LOT in the time we've had it.  I can't even imagine how much hamburger has been made with it... and with us making our own sausages over the years ... it's more than paid for itself.   Another project I'll have to tackle one of these days... grinder painting.

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


some days ~

Some days they just crack me up ...

Like when G'love Brooke pretends she's three again and can fall asleep in the middle of Christmas gift opening  in a box ....

or when Uncle Sam puts on a fashion show  
Yes ~ that's my boy!
~ still a work in progress ~
a little more dabbling with the painting today again ... going for a little more depth in the picture ... worked on the pine cones and added some darker feathers ... I hope it's starting to get the horned owl look ...

from this:

to this:

~ still a work in progress ~
Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


Christmas at g'ma's & more owl painting ~

This evening we are having our first Christmas celebration at our house ~ while all the Grandloves can make it.  We'll be doing Christmas Eve over at my Mom's.   I'm cooking up a ham and some baked beans, the girls are doing dinner rolls and veggie tray and cheesy potatoes, along with all the other little side dishes and cookies and fudge and all that stuff that makes you go YUM.

All three of my granddaughters still have school yet today and tomorrow.  They'll be getting off the bus here today ~ so come 4:00 the peace and quiet of the day will be gone :)   I'm looking forward to it.

I did a bit more on my painting ~ added a little shading, worked on some tail feathers, toe nails and started on a pine branch and some cones ...

from this:

to this:  

~ still a work in progress ~

What a change in pace when it comes to working with the oil paints ... like I had mentioned earlier ... this is my first time ever using them.  I think I like them!  I also like how vibrant they are compared to the acrylics.  One thing I've discovered ... it sure doesn't take much paint on the brush ... or pallet (in my case a waxed paper plate).  A little dab goes a long ways.  As you can see on the board ... I've been cleaning out my brush on the background.  I don't know if this is how you're suppose to paint ... but it's working for me.  Aren't you suppose to paint your background first?  I haven't been in an art class since 6th grade ... my memory fails me. I do remember Mrs. Wiita telling us that as she was filling up our water color paint trays.  Oh well ... to each their own.   That's how I've always approached anything artsy crafty ... it's your own creation and as long as it pleases you ... that's all that matters ... and if it pleases others ... BONUS!

note to Fred:  you had mentioned that "maybe" you should go get some paints ... DO IT!!! How are you going to know if you like it or not if you don't give it a try???

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


tuesday owl painting and snow dogs ~

It's still Tuesday, and here I am making another post.  I figured my prior post really should have been a Monday post ~ because I made it like 2:00 in the morning.  Another night of insomnia ...

I have been having so much trouble sleeping.  I toss and turn and can't shut the brain down.  Last night was one of those nights.

I decided to go out in the garage and find a board to paint on.  I had a set of oil paints in the closet that I haven't used and figured last night was as good a time to crack them open as any.

I got my board and couldn't decide what to do with it ... then decided to draw quick sketch of an owl.

Please bear with me on this ... I have never oil painted before ~ this is my first oil painting ever ...  this is a whole new medium to me.  I've used acrylics in the past ... so I do have a little feel for painting ... but wow ... there is a BIG difference between the oils and acrylics!  Oils are a lot harder to work with ... but I do like that they don't dry as fast as the acrylics ... giving me more working time.  I know one mistake I made right off the bat ... not putting gesso on my board first.  Learning by trial and error... that's the way I do it!

I worked on my owl for 2 hours last night before crawling into bed at 4:30 this morning.  Here's what I have done so far ~

It's still a work in progress.  

Woke up this morning to another beautiful dusting of snow.  I just love watching the dogs run and play in fresh snow.

Even the old gal, Brandy came out to check out the snowflakes ...
and after some encouragement from Sam ... she decided to run around a bit too
while Ashley cleaned off the car.  I think Sam got the better end of this deal :)

I had to chuckle at Amber when she jumped off the driveway into the flower bed ~
I think the snow was a little deeper than she expected.

Amber and Rambo were sure having fun!

Time to fill the bird feeders ~ a chickadee is waiting for me ...

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.