Feb. 28th, 2017

via http://ift.tt/2m08PMO:unicornduke replied to your photo “Patched the patches I put on some patches. I’m really rough on just…”

damn the thigh rub! I keep wearing out all my work pants and then I patch them but can’t use them for work so they live in my closet for ages.

Yeah, I can’t master the art of making the patches look in any way subtle. 

I like doing decorative patches with cute contrast-colored stitching but… not in the crotch, y’know? But I have literally never worn out any other part of a pair of pants, so I can’t. I have rainbow-thread-mended my sister’s work Carhartts instead, because her skinny ass wears through the knees first. I am going to have to just put decorative patches on the knees of these jeans eventually to maybe distract from the other mending… I’m at three layers deep on the inner thighs and the knees aren’t even faded. 
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At the farm. Things are still fairly low-intensity; spring will spring pretty soon, and shit will get real, but it’s still time for projects and there’s a little time for puttering, still. Sugaring continues, but they’re mostly bored of tapping trees– they only do maple for household use really, to have enough to sell you need an economy of scale of hundreds of trees, and they only tap about 50. Most of it’s already past, but today and tomorrow will probably be good sap-running days, so they’ll probably do one more batch. (Cold nights and warm days are your ideal.)

I seeded some flats in the greenhouse today, which was pleasant. But the other project of the day was less pleasant, but possibly more interesting. Discussion of livestock processing behind cut– specifically, a pig’s conversion to pork, which I mean, that’s a thing that happens, but you don’t gotta read about it if you don’t wanna. It’s a lot… different than the usual talk of chickens on here. [Hi, new folks who may have followed since the last time this was discussed: in the other three seasons besides winter, I work part-time on my sister’s organic farm, which has a vegetables-by-subscription CSA, and also raises organic poultry on pasture, and I mostly help with the chicken processing as an eviscerator, so I talk about that sometimes.]

Nothing else behind the cut.

The current batch of pigs–remember I posted pics when they were born in late autumn?– they’re mostly grown now, and their time to get processed is coming up. But one of them had something wrong, they thought possibly a hernia? he was healthy enough, eating and growing normally and keeping up with the others and all, but there was something… amiss, he had a weird bulge and it was getting bigger and weirder, and after consultation with a nearby large-scale hog farmer, the advice came that he was likely to suffer a complication and die before the time came for them to get processed, and he’d be a loss. Best to process him now, while he’s still relatively healthy and most of the meat could be salvaged. (Also, this batch of pigs is only partly pre-sold already; it’s still far enough away that most people haven’t made their down-payments. I can explain the way small farmers manage the laws to raise livestock for meat in New York State if anyone’s curious, but it’s kind of boring– the prepayment is crucial for legal reasons though.)Well, it costs a couple hundred dollars to get a pig processed. And that’s necessary, if you’re selling the meat. But for personal use, none of the regulations apply. And as it happens, the assistant livestock manager is a biologist with zero squeamishness, and is interested, and had already arranged to follow the usual butcher on some of his rounds, so she’d already studied how it works. (The farm’s normal procedure is that a USDA-certified butcher comes and kills the animals on premises, then removes them for processing, and we just get the meat back in shrinkwrapped baggies. Quadrupeds can’t be processed on-farm unless you have a USDA-certified slaughterhouse. The slaughterhouse for the chickens is NYS certified, acceptable for poultry or weirdly, rabbits, which aren’t quadrupeds somehow? but large livestock needs different handling which it’s basically out of reach for a small farmer to attain.)

So… they got him cordoned off from the other pigs, and kept him from the food (you want an animal’s digestive tract a little cleaned out), and then today did the deed. Poultry, which we’re used to, you can restrain and then cut the neck. Pigs, you shoot. So… B-I-L courageously did the deed, and his aim was true, and it was all over pretty quickly. 

For the record: you can’t let turkeys see each other die, they get upset. Pigs, however, Do Not Care. They don’t get it, they’re not interested. They smell the blood and think it’s food. They are not sentimental. They’re okay in groups but they’re really not herd animals. They were unmoved by the gunshot and disinterested by the whole process. (Maybe if he’d screamed or anything, but he really didn’t make any noise. They don’t like hearing each other scream.)

But then we realized that the damn thing was enormous. They’d estimated him as about 100 pounds, but he was definitely bigger than that; it took three of us to get him up onto the truck liftgate. But we managed.

The kill room for poultry is suitable enough for double duty. 

Taking the skin off a pig sucks. Worse because we don’t have the facilities to scald the carcass. 

I mostly helped by holding things, helping to lift things, and cleaning things. They got him skinned, gutted, and got his head and feet off. Now he’s in the walk-in cooler to get down to temp, and tomorrow we’re going to attempt to take the whole carcass apart. Wish me luck. 

I better get a ham out of this. Although this means I’d have to cure or brine or smoke it myself. Dang it. 

I’ll take better pictures tomorrow. Today was a little gory and gross, and I really didn’t want to document it any better than grainy cellphone pics. It was kind of… both more and less affecting than I’d expected. The pigs are so damn cute. But I’m pretty inured to the concept of livestock death by now, I think. And pigs are so goddamn delicious. Also in terms of like, circle of life stuff, they’re an incredibly effective all-purpose animal, for purposes of soil rejuvenation, weed control, soil improvement– and conversion of plant matter into meat. If you can’t obtain enough nutrition from plants, it’s tough to beat pigs in terms of sheer nutritive value. Pound for pound they’re just– so much more of a rapid turnaround than cattle, so much bigger and denser than sheep or goats, and really less waste than poultry, and fewer diseases believe it or not. 

Anyway. He died noble and quick. I’m a little unprepared, mentally, I think, for what the hell we’re going to do tomorrow, but I’m willing, so. We’ll see. 
via http://ift.tt/2lQlBeZ:bedbugsbiting replied to your post “unicornduke replied to your photo “Patched the patches I put on some…”

My thighs have killed every pair of pants I have ever owned.


I don’t even have particularly bodacious thighs. But every pair of pants I’ve ever owned has just independently been weak as fuck.
via http://ift.tt/2m0xqBt:torrilin replied to your post “At the farm. Things are still fairly low-intensity; spring will spring…”

No wool tho, or mohair. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a milk pig. Not ruling it out, but pigs are a bit more focused than sheeps or goats. They seem a lot easier than cows tho.

No, they are absolutely single-purpose animals– meat only. You can’t use them for anything else.

But if you’re using them for soil improvement, they’re really goddamn good at it.

And you get a lot more meat off them relative to how much you feed them than most other animals. They don’t need near the space cows do, and they can eat literally anything. Like, really anything.

And a cow needs nearly 10 months gestation for a single calf; pig gestation is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days, and they have litters of up to 18 at a go. Like… there is no single animal you could raise for meat that does it better than pigs. They’re sexually mature in 8 months or so, and market-size for slaughter (~200 lbs) in about that same period of time. 
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Checking the weather app to divine today’s fortunes. Too much chance of rain to hang out the clothes!


Feb. 28th, 2017 01:01 pm
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“Green Four to base, ready to take off!”

“You’re not Green Four, I’m Green Four,”  Shara corrected as she pulled the boy back into her lap and finished adjusting the safety straps.  “And you have to finish pre-checks before you tell flight control you’re ready.”

“What am I then?”

“What’s your favorite color?”

“Black!”  the boy exclaimed, his hands clapping together.  “Black One!”

Shara chuckled and pulled on the strap on his helmet, making sure it was nice and tight on his little head.  “One isn’t a call sign.  It’s Black Leader.”  She guided his hands across the controls, showed him the engine diagnostic, tested the flap controls, all the other things before nodding that they were nearly ready for take off.

The boy took a breath and licked his lips.  “Black Leader to Yavin control, we are ready to launch!”

There was a stifled laugh on the other side of the comm before the response,  “Roger that, Black Leader.  Clear for launch.”

“Okay, gently now.  Keep her even.”  Shara’s hand wrapped around her son’s on the flightstick.  She showed him the stabilizers, but his fingers weren’t quite dexterous enough yet to control all four.  It was a little bumpy, that first pull upward, but Shara was patient and Poe was determined.  “Pull left… now right… good job!”

“Can we roll?!”

Shara grinned, but gave a slight shake of her head.  “Not today.  Got to make sure you get your space legs before we try any acrobatics.”

“I’m not gonna barf, Mama.”

“Oh, I believe you, but let’s go see the stars.”

This month’s prompts - AO3
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Learning new skills. I tell you what a proper butcher is worth every penny, this is complicated and hard!
(My first attempt at a 2-picture post, I dunno if it’ll crosspost!)
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Do you want to talk about how badly The Force Awakens shortcharged Finn’s character? One thing that no one to my knowledge is talking about is his phenomenal skill with blasters. This is LucasFilm’s fault, not the audience’s, because it was shown right on the screen but never properly foregrounded.

I don’t mean the time he picked up starfighter gunning with a ten-second tutorial, then combined that with lightning-fast tactical judgment in a thirty-second firefight to get himself and Poe out alive while still minimizing Stormtrooper casualties. No, that was an amazing scene that blurred by too fast for almost any reasonable viewer to fully appreciate, but it wasn’t… what’s the word… unthinkable.

What’s unthinkable, and what passed right under the audience’s noses because LF filmed it but didn’t emphasize it, is what Finn does with a handheld blaster. As I will discuss, his style is very different from the way we’ve seen the heroes use blasters but also different from the way Stormtroopers use them, combining his training with his own astounding skills and strength.

For reference, this is what I’m talking about: 

[Image: Finn, on one knee, shoots one Stormtrooper down, then turns to shoot another.]

And this:

[Image: Finn runs at and shoots down a Stormtrooper who is firing at him]

I hesitate to even call this style “good,” because it could be very bad indeed for certain purposes, e.g. survival. It does, however, showcase his athleticism and sheer boldness in a breathtaking way.

This is hard to tell, though, on a casual viewing because it goes by so fast and is treated more as background action to Poe’s aerial acrobatics than a focus in itself. I didn’t realize just what was so special about this sequence until I did a deliberate comparison with how other characters and groups used different types of blasters in different situations. Let me explain below the fold just why Finn’s blaster style shown here is incredible and unique.

Keep reading



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