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Sometimes this time in the winter feels like the “dog days” of the season.  The sun yesterday was inspirational, though.  We all got outside, worked on various projects, enjoyed the warmth and UV rays. 

The pigs are lazy fellows.  Their house flooded in the last thaw, so they’ve been camping out.  It really doesn’t faze them much unless the temps drop to zero or so.  They do look for their potatoes and any leftover chicken parts.  This week these early rising fellows got a bag of chicken bones that got left in the cooler.  My accident, their treat! The blond Mangalitsa sows and piglets enjoy getting out, too.  The little fellows dig in the snow for any missed potatoes. 

One of the projects on Sunday was making a batch of thermally modified biomass.  The batch turned out really well–this piece is all the way black and the grey is simply the light’s reflection.  As a pleasant benefit, we enjoyed a hot dog roast from the burner’s heat.  Made for a pleasant and productive afternoon.

Last week, thanks to President’s day, we had help processing chickens.  In addition to one of our summer helpers, Keith got to teach his cousin Connor how to gut chickens.  Bet there are very few boys in his neighborhood who can boast of having done such a deed!  We had a few overgrown chickens in the bunch–leftovers from a previous group.  What can you do with a 6.5# chicken?  We’ve got enough roasting chickens already.  It’s hard to cut up to sell as you get a one pound breast off each side of the bird.  Hmmm…  Our solution was confit!  Confit is a method of preservation whereby the meat is salted and allowed to set overnight to season, then is slow-cooked submerged in fat.  When cooled, the fat makes a seal around the meat and can act as a preservative.   It’s one of our favorite ways to have chicken.  When you re-heat it to serve, the skin gets crispy and the meat–even the breast–stays moist. 

That’s the news from the farm for today.

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