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Posts posted by sparrowgrass

  1. I use a long handled pair of loppers to dispatch my chickens.  Just quietly walk up, slip the loppers around the neck, and crunch.  I am afraid of my aim with an axe.  I have to admit that I rarely dispatch a chicken--it is unpleasant work and laying hens generally have little meat..  Most of my girls live their lives out, eggs or no eggs.

    • Like 3
  2. Our wild hogs here are a mix of domestic hogs and European wild boars.  Ozarks farmers used to free range their hogs, and round them up once a year.  They notched ears to show ownership.  Of course, some of those hogs escaped.  It doesn't take many generations for a domestic hog to revert to the wild type--hairier, leaner, and with striped babies.  The European hogs came in as escapees or purposeful releases, by hunters looking to 'improve' their prospects.


    It is illegal now to release any hogs, but it is still happening, much to the detriment of our native species.  A Fish and Wildlife guy told me that the hogs breed early, have litters twice a year, and "out of 10 pigs born, 15 survive."


    It is quite difficult to hunt them, because they are very smart, and because they don't have real territories, they just follow the food.  Hunting for wild hogs on state/federal property has been banned.  It takes a long time to set up a trap--they erect part of the trap, feed the hogs, put a few more panels up, feed them, finish the trap, keep feeding them, and then they spring the trap when the animals are all inside.  If a hunter comes upon a group feeding and shoots one, the hogs will scatter and all that work is for nothing.  In the winter, the state guys shoot them from helicopters--a couple winters ago, they got 700 that way.  Meat is left in the woods--the state agencies will not give it away, due to liability issues.  


    On private lands, it is open season, kill all you can.

    • Like 4
  3. I am in the southeast section, and wild hogs are definitely a problem here.  I have eaten them--very lean, dark meat, NO fat at all.  Good cooked like andi said--long and slow.   


    I am not much for those 'grey dumplings' either, but people drive to Ste. Gen just to eat them.  They would be fine if you left the liver out.


    Oberle's sausage is great--Stonies in Perryville also has good sausages and other deli items.  

    • Like 3
  4. Shelby, it sounds to me like your tomatoes are siphoning. Siphoning can happen if you increase or reduce heat too fast while the food is processing, or if you release pressure too abruptly.  Let the canner cool on its own, don't move the canner until it is cool.  Also, leaving the heat on high during canning can cause siphoning, but turn it down gradually.  


    I got a new stove a couple years ago, and had a lot of siphoning, especially with tomatoes until I learned that while I can start the processing on max heat, as soon as the canner reaches pressure I need to gradually turn the flames down until the weight jiggles slowly.

  5. Free range is a marketing term.  Legally, a free range chicken has to have access to the out of doors, which generally means there is a door to a small enclosed area with a concrete floor.  Meat chickens are special crossbreeds, developed to get to butchering size within 8 weeks.  For the first 4-6 weeks, minimum, they have to be indoors, because they can't regulate their body temp.  For the second 4 weeks, they are kept in big barns, thousands of chickens, but they do have a door, and if they are close, they might go outside.  


    Most 'organic' feed right now is being imported from Europe, and many of those loads of feed are not actually organic at all, they are just labeled organic.  Of course, you realize that organic does NOT mean pesticide free.  There is a huge list of pesticides and herbicides that are approved for organic use, and many of them are more toxic than modern, targeted compounds.


    SO, pay more for that if you like.

  6. Yep, chickens are great garbage disposals.  Even the stuff they don't eat, like onion skins and orange peels, gets scratched around and disintegrates.  I line my 'chicken bucket' (a covered enamelware bowl)

     with a sheet of newspaper, and toss the whole thing in the chicken yard.  The paper (and paper napkins) disappear in an hour or so.  The only things I don't toss to the chickens are bones, because I don't want the dogs to dig their way into the yard for them.


    ChocoMom--I don't bother with separating out the egg shells.  I just dump them in the chicken yard whole.  My girls have never eaten eggs, unless they get broken somehow.

    • Like 2
  7. Clean as I go, always.  Start with an empty dishwasher and a sink full of hot soapy water.  By the time I am ready to plate, everything is either washed or in the dishwasher, except for the pots and pans I cooked in.  They are scraped and set in the sink.  I cannot abide waking up to a dirty kitchen.


    • Like 1
  8. I have hard water and lots of white spots on glasses. A repair guy told me to put a custard cup of white vinegar on the top shelf before I started the machine.  The vinegar gradually overflows during washing and rinsing, and I have no spots now.  Some people put vinegar into the bottom of the machine before washing--waste of time, because the dishwasher pumps out all liquids from the sump (which prevents sewer gas from coming up) and that vinegar is just pumped away.

    • Like 3
  9. Sartoric, I think our dogs are separated at birth.  This is Stella.


    I use the fly tape on the porch--and occasionally, when I want to feel like a real Ozark granny, in the kitchen.

    speckles 020.jpg

    • Like 4
  10. Not the Appalachians--the Missouri Ozarks.  Taum Sauk Mountain, highest place in Missouri (at an *astounding* 1609') is about 5 miles to the south of me.  


    The 'mountain' in the picture is called Pilot Knob, the site of a small but important Civil War battle.  


    Here is a picture of my 'other' stove.  It is in the sunroom, and not working.

    familyreunion 041.jpg

    • Like 13
  11. My humble kitchen--small, but cozy.  The house was built in 1883, and the kitchen was a small building behind the house, connected by an open breezeway.  This picture was taken in the 40's and shows how the breezeway was enclosed (and a bathroom added!)  

    summer house.jpg


    See the clever flaps just under the eaves to let the hot air out?

    • Like 8
  12. On 4/27/2016 at 10:41 PM, kayb said:

    Bumping this up to ask a morel question, inspired by a photo I saw on Facebook today of morel hunting in Missouri. Since I live some 40 miles south of the MO line, I'm wondering what the area of the country actually is where morels grow. When are they "ripe"? In what kind of terrain/ground cover does one find them? Any tips on morel foraging? I'm contemplating a road trip to the nearest morel hunting lands, should they be nearby. The foothills of the Ozarks are within easy striking distance, and I know people who have hunting land who would have no objection to me hunting life forms which do not move about on four feet.


    Morels are pretty much over for this year in my part of Missouri (70 miles south of STL).  You have a year to do all your research.


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