Thursday, December 24, 2020

'Twas the Night Before.... The Farm Report 12-24-2020

 'Twas the Night Before....

The Farm Report

"Before what, Tim? Before what? Spit it out buddy! I can't wait to hear - before WHAT?" This will be Annie Oakley's first real Christmas and she's probably pretty excited. 

It has been a crazy year, but this is Annie a summer ago. She obviously had the attitude, but she was just too little to know about Christmas fun.

We've both grown a lot this year. (Ahem....) Some of us in ways we might not prefer to acknowledge. COVID-19 gain anybody else? Annie has her favorite leather boot to chew on, and she's becoming more of a lady now. She's still a temperamental teenager with mood swings to prove it, but she's coming into her own as a great dog. Can you say, 'Intense!'?

OJ remains 'scabbard and sheathed' but on the ready all the time. Fully armed and very dangerous, he doesn't spend his time worrying about things he can't control. When the need arises, he will take instant and corrective action, but otherwise he lets life slide on. A lesson there?

Just below the surface, is OJ's surprise. Annie still hasn't figured out where his knives come from. She does know he has knives, and they are in his feet somewhere!

My neighbor, Ron, has been working on a project here on the farm. Smoked turkey legs! No, those are not lamb's legs or pork shanks. Those, ladies and gentlemen, are turkey drumsticks. Think how huge those toms must have been!

Really! Them was serious birds....

All for fun, and really - they are wasted on me. I've never eaten a smoked turkey leg, so I wouldn't know the difference between a good one and not. The only way I can tell the difference between good wine and vinegar is by the shape of the bottle they come in; and these legs didn't come in a bottle.

We soaked them in a curing brine overnight, then added some smoking meat rub seasonings - and then in the smoker they went.

After several hours in my Grandma Chlorus' favorite smoking resource (plain old Iowa field corn cobs) they were done. Now, the joke is on me. They are delicious. I think if somebody cut the meat off and served it to you without your knowing what it was, you would think it might be the best smoked ham you'd ever tried. I'll definitely try this again sometime - but I'm making ham and bean soup with the meat right now.

Out on the farm, we had to have Dad's old Farmall H repaired. The tire rim had rusted out. One of my school mates is a farm tire guy. He knows how to do this, and came out to fix the rim and give H a new tube. Wonderful to have the repair, but sadly I think this might have been my friend's last 'big' tire repair. He is retiring. Maybe it is just 'sadly' for me - and I hope he has a joyful retirement! He's almost as old as I am, and beating huge tires off farm implements is really a younger man's game. Still....

Trees get old and die just like everything else. Cutting up good solid oak for firewood from a tree that served it's days is fun - and a little dangerous, of course. That's what makes cutting wood fun!

On nice days, Annie spends her time sleeping in the driver's seat of the Ranger. I think she's dreaming of the days when she can start it up and go for a ride on her own. She only made it as far as Puppy Kindergarten in school, so she couldn't pass the written test. She doesn't have thumbs either - so the driving test would be hard for her, too. I doubt she'll ever be able to get her drivers license. Doesn't cost much to dream though.

"Don't keep changing the topic, Tim! Let's get back to that 'night before' stuff. What's coming?" Well, you know and I know that what is coming is a day we all celebrate for its Joy, Peace, Love and Hope.  Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, we can all enjoy a season with those four words as goals.

OJ doesn't do a lot of celebrating, but we can all be at peace as much as he is. Here's my prayer for you and yours to have a Merry Christmas and for goodness sakes, here's to a much better and much happier New Year.

Merry Christmas from Oakdale Farm.

Oh, and the new seed catalogs are coming!