The wee hours of the morning always seem to be the best time to sit and write, contemplate the day and what you will do with it. What will I do with today? How many of the myriad things that exist on my list will i pull into the reality i build today? Winter is here with its icy fingers poking at me whenever i attempt an adventure out of doors. My books pull me inside and i am helpless to the eventuality that is me sitting on the couch most of the winter hibernating. Lists end up left on the counter, mornings like this spent dreaming of the first green things that will emerge from the garden this year. What will? I'm just not sure, i allowed so many things to go to seed this year, had so many experiments form themselves and take shape. i tucked whole plants away, dried some things and bagged them up, shook seed heads everywhere hoping to create a "weed" bed that was formed of edibles i could weed into a salad bowl, or form a carpet of useful mulch. Will the peach tree i planted in the microclimate i created do better than the one planted on the exposed hillside. Will my fig trees survive the winter? i placed wood mulch every where, will it provide the moisture to allow more things to grow better along the fence rows? Will the purple hyacinth bean seeds i planted there sprout? What about the sunflowers? i am excited to see what happens this year, and i am glad as well that january is around the corner and my body can rest and relax for a while. Bring on the hibernation snuggy...
I bought a pig. Not a whole pig mind you- just a half. It seemed like the smart thing to do, pasture raised and loved on by my friends at Taproot farm. They even went the extra hundred miles or so to bring the pig to a more pig friendly butcher who doesn't make its last days torture and doesn't use MSG in the seasoning of their sausage. So happy pig means happy, delish meat, right?
OHH you betcha!
In addition to the great sausage, bacon and ham, i got roasts and ribs and FAT-two 12-13lb bags of it. oh the joy i felt at seeing these bags of greasy fat was beyond describing. All the things I could cook with it and the soap i could make…. and before you know it all my available crock pots were toiling in the rendering of lard and the house reeked of fatty goodness. Once again i pulled out the computer to see what the google machine was saying about lard and found so many reasons why it was good for you, that i grabbed a bowl full o cracklin's and snuggled in for a pleasant evening of lard research.
After doing more reading than any person should do on pig fat i had to wonder why we had been so ready to trade in something as tried and true as lard, for a crisco replacement that turned out to be so bad for us. The reasons were many and went from the meat industry controlling high lard prices, necessitating the need for a cheap replacement- To the cotton industry attempting to make a cheaper alternative using cottonseed oil that was a byproduct of the cotton harvest. arch!
So many things ran through my mind as i read about the benefits of lard but these benefits were realized only if the animal was raised on pasture. Pigs dancing in the sun, rolling in muddy pits being fanned by cute farm boys and girls ran through my mind... It seems at every turn i am reminded of how we are what we eat (and what they ate and how happy them eats were before we ate them). So while crunching away on cracklin's i ended up smack dab in the middle of the most disturbing of uses- lard lotion. Yes as well as cooking and soap making you can make a wonderful lotion of this vitamin packed oil, rich in the very things you pay bunches for in the store. Ewww you say? So said I until i made some, and used it. All i can say now is next year i'll be going whole hog… Heh heh heh!
Born in New Hampshire and raised in Maine, Eva's passion for living self sustainably began with Helen and Scott Nearing. Both were homesteaders who carved their lives from the land. Eva now lives in Eastern West Virginia, with her husband Dain and daughter Shayna, carving out her own life.