Jun. 9th, 2017

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unicornduke replied to your photoset“random photo dump– there’s a whole album on facebook of just the…”

that’s really cool! I always get a little squeamish thinking about it, but I know if I actually just did a few I’d get over it. Learning to butcher animals is something I want to learn at some point, especially if I want to start hunting deer. I really liked the album! It was really interesting to see how it all worked!

A lot of people are super interested to see how it works. Because, here’s the thing, your food comes from somewhere. Even vegetarians I know are often fascinated– and here’s the thing. Your organic vegetables were probably fertilized with slaughterhouse byproducts– bone and bloodmeal are the best non-fossil-fuel sources of nitrogen and phosphorous out there. Eating only vegetables doesn’t opt you out of this system. (And if you’re eating non-organic, well. It’s not like it’s better.) I have a lot more respect for someone who is willing to look critically at it than I do for the people who cover their ears and say “oh if I know too much I won’t be able to eat it!” Come on, man, you refusing to learn doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. 

I’m also planning on taking up deer hunting– they’re a huge pest on the farm, so. Middle-Little and I are signed up for the NYS hunter safety course this fall, and we’re going to have our dad teach us whatever he knows about hunting. I also would love to find some of the local weird old hunter dudes and kind of interview them, but we’ll see. I’ve helped take a deer apart before, and it didn’t gross me out as much as I thought it would. Farmers around here get nuisance permits and then just shoot the deer and let them lie, so I figure I might as well use the farm’s nuisance permit to take ones we’ll eat. Because we will eat them!

But I can say, I’m sort of a squeamish person and I just– it never really grossed me out anywhere near as much as I thought it would. It was hard, and remains hard, to watch them actually die, and sometimes, less and less often as I do it more (this is my third year of doing it regularly), it does strike me as extremely icky in some fashion. But mostly it’s just– not. 

(Now it’s usually only if something’s abnormal that it grosses me out. One of the carcasses I processed had an impacted crop, meaning the weird little food bag in the chicken’s neck that usually holds a little bit of food getting pre-digested was, in this case, hugely swollen, and it was so disgusting I had to cut it out really quick and chuck it in the gut bucket without looking before it made me gag. It was just– it wasn’t that it was squishy, or swollen, or anything, it was just that it wasn’t normal and clearly wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t even infected– sometimes they are and it’s repulsive– it was just swollen and gross, and it freaked me out. That’s the only thing all day that bothered me, though.)

It’s not even as gross as handling regular raw meat, because the skin’s still on. And you’d think it’d be gross that they’re still warm, but it’s really not. For some reason it’s less weird. (Chickens are about 104 F when alive, so they’re always warmer than your hand, until they go into the chill tank. Sister monitors their temperatures and the fresh carcasses, rinsed repeatedly with cold water, are always 100 to 101 degrees still.)
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Spent the morning digging out Brother-in-Law’s beer-brewing supplies. He hasn’t used them since parenthood happened, though for a while he was quite into beer-making. 

The beekeepers who keep hives on the farm (and sell their honey in the farmstand next to the egg fridge, and also have some kind of massive network of places they keep bees and sell honey, they’re some sort of benign Russian mafia) pay their rent in honey, big plastic tubs of it that my sister always mildly complains are hard to get any out of, and you get it all over your arms. This latest tub was so solid you had to kind of chip gooey chunks out with a butter knife, a rubber spatula wouldn’t do it. 

So I submerged the whole thing in hot water while I did all my setup, and when it came time, I hauled it out and made a total mess getting two quarts of it into a giant stockpot, and the rest into quart or pint jars for the pantry. I used two quarts of honey and ten quarts of water, plus some strong-brewed black tea and a teaspoonful or so of diammonium phosphate. And a cup of molasses, for good measure, because I have it. 

Once it’s cool enough, I’m going to dump it into a nice glass carboy, and let it go for a couple of weeks. The more I read, the more I think it won’t be done before I leave, but maybe I’ll be fancy and rack it for a secondary fermentation before I leave, and let it settle until I come back and I’ll distill it in July sometime. 

It’s the first flower harvest today, but there was so little to harvest that I wasn’t needed at all, and Sister has gone on to do the vegetable harvest with the others. It’s been so cold, we don’t even have the screens in the doors yet. She had a customer who wanted a bucket of unarranged flowers for the last week of June, and the poor lady had gone to Facebook and looked at last year’s pictures, and was like “so this is what will be blooming?” and Sister looked, and was like, ha, last year they were, this year, I don’t think I’ll even have zinnias yet. Nothing is blooming except the peonies, which she harvested in May last year… The zinnias aren’t even starting to set buds. 

Anyway. While there’s time, I figure I’d get some mead going. I’m not being as fussy as some of the winemakers who get really into it: I’m making the most basic-ass kind, because it doesn’t matter what it tastes like, I’m going to distill it. 
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I realize I drew the Bi Pride Flag two different ways but… well, that joke writes itself.

This is a story about a little thing, and some big things. I have lots more on Patreon! I love you. Happy Pride.
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A post shared by Bridget Kelly (@bomberqueen17) on Jun 9, 2017 at 1:54pm PDT

This is the view from the composting toilet, which has no door and is right near the yurt. It’s. .. not unpleasant.
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Transformation. (at Laughing Earth)



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