Saturday, January 14, 2012


The day started slow, but many tasks were ongoing this evening on Butterfly Hill Farm. We simmered 5 chickens in the 16 quart stainless steel pan.  That took about 2 hours, until the meat was falling off the bone and the bones were coming apart.  Richard then set the big pot with its big load in the outdoor refrigerator for it to cool.  The outdoor refrigerator is the great outdoors and on this day it was just about freezing temperatures.  When cool, Richard separated chicken meat from bone.  He is so fast about these things.  He then set things up so that we could make some rich "bone broth", because that is what I wanted to do.  That will be on tomorrow, all day. 

In the meantime, Melanie was flying through cookbooks and coming up with some creative ideas on her own.  Cornbread and a modified version of Borscht were on.  It was modified because we didn't have all that we needed.  The old version of this family would have headed to the grocery store which was about 5 minutes away.  Out here in the country, that is not possible.  Or rather, I should say that out here in the country, the grocery store is right here. Richard shifted gears and helped Melanie fix supper. 

I was lining up and cleaning jars, rims, lids, finding the canner cookbook, you name it, so that we could can up the Chicken.  While dinner was on to cook, Richard and I directed efforts toward getting the pressure canner on.  I have to say canning is going a lot more smoothly than when we first started this adventure.  We know what we have to do, we know what our needs are and we just quietly do it. That feels good. 

"Beep beep beep."  Cornbread is done. Veggies in the soup are not.  A slice of time permitted us to get the canner on.  Then we sat down to eat.  Meanwhile, Richard and I were watching the pressure indicator to make sure it stayed at 11 pounds per square inch.  That required a "look see" about every 2-3 minutes.  We don't seem to find a specific spot to set on our range where the temperature stays right where it is supposed to be.  Maybe that is a good thing because pressure canners need to be watched very very carefully. 

I was canning pints of Chicken without bone.  That called for 75 minutes of attention to the canner. It's hard to sit still for 75 minutes. The canner was sizzling and a rocking away with the gentle boiling on the inside. It's a comfortable sound.

We did dishes for dinner and got the kitchen all cleaned up.  Melanie washed her wool fibers and carded them.  She's cleaning things up now.  Meanwhile, Richard was looking at a seed catalog that came from Sand Hill today.  I got out some "designated to be rags" and cut them up into usable sizes.  We are noting that winter is a time to look at those "best supporting farm hands" who help out at every turn and wear out soon too.  Setting aside rags, cutting them up, getting new tea towels are pretty important at this season.  I got bored and agitated with being in the kitchen so I allowed myself 2 minute jobs on the computer. 

The timer went off.  Done! 

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