Tuesday, January 19, 2021

After Further Review: The Farm Report 01-19-2021

After Further Review
The Farm Report

We've had another blizzard. Winds up to forty or fifty miles per hour, and cold, and snow. It is also January in Iowa. It is miserable, but we know how to handle it, and it keeps out the city people. No Big deal. 

Annie decided it was a good day for a nap - IN MY CHAIR! No No No No.... But I hated to bother her when she looked so peaceful so....

OJ has his own place, and likes it that way. He don't move much from one day to the next.

Outside, this is what the beginnings of the Blizzard of '21 looked like. Ominous.

I wanted to get pictures of the huge snowflakes falling, but it didn't work out like I had hoped. There isn't much that is prettier or quieter for me than a snowstorm. Right then, I needed a quiet snowstorm to offset all the other storms we've been weathering. I have a fridge magnet that says, "It is easier when you plow around the stump." I'm trying!

The parking lane between the old granary and the shop is a wind tunnel! We didn't plan it that way, it just is. 

I've tried and tried to get a picture of Annie's whiskers. She has a ton of 'em all around the front of her nose and chin. They are little curb feelers. She loves to 'Bop!' me when she is playing or wants something. She never ever bites, but she pushes with her nose. I realized a long time ago that she is doing it by feel, not by sight. This is how she knows.

Annie and I probably both need a shave. She uses her whiskers though. I have tried growing a beard during the COVID Quarantine, but I just can't get past the 'Harvey Weinstein' phase. I don't have any good use for my whiskers, and they look ugly and feel worse. I shave while Annie watches.

What else to do during a snowstorm but make weenies!?  Why did I name this blog 'After Further Review?' Well, I originally thought about calling it 'Girls with Whiskers, and Weenies.' Then I thought that it wouldn't be very nice if the comma got left out or if somebody didn't read it right. Even in our 'enlightened' times, I decided somebody might get offended so I changed it. There's nothing worse than an attempt at a joke that falls flat on its face. Still, for a guy with a Junior High sense of humor, 'Girls with whiskers, and weenies' does make me chuckle. Have I been sequestered on the farm alone too long????

My weenies are made with synthetic (man made) collagen casings. They are easy to use but they don't 'twist' right. So, I just tie them off with string. EEEEther or IIIIther. It all tastes the same.

I do use a recipe. Of course, the recipe is just a guideline. I like more garlic in mine. I used half pork and half beef for these. No eyelids or lips (or other unknown parts) for me. I'll make my own, thank you.

Weenies aren't traditionally smoked, but mine are. Really, they're more like Kielbasa than Franks - but a rose by any other name would smell (or taste) as sweet. Corn cobs, of course, for about an hour. Then they get cooked to proper USDA temps in a poaching hot water bath. Finish with a shock of ice water to cool to the core and prevent shriveling, then into the fridge or freezer for later. (This is about the only time ice water won't make your weenie shrink or shrivel. OK, Junior High again. I'm sorry. I'm a kid at heart. OK, I'm really not so sorry - but I am a kid at heart!)

Ya can't have weenies without beans. I like to can my own beans, too.

Canning beans is about as easy as it gets. These are pinto beans I like to use with beans and rice, or tacos or chili or - lots of stuff. I started canning beans when I started law school about a hundred years ago. That and making bread were my stress relief therapies. That lady I lived with for so long was a dedicated and educated foodie professional. I had a good teacher. We started doing this to save money, then we learned how good they were. I still do it for the fun, and the good eats. I like to grow my own beans, too! I'm really ready to get back into the garden.

You're never too old to learn a new trick. Thanks to family and friends, I've been discovering the fun and deliciousness of Souse Vide cooking. The meat goes into a sealed bag, into a water pot of very precisely controlled temperature and sometime later, it is cooked to a T. Browned after the fact, it is a little 'odd' but it works a charm - and I don't have to keep worrying about the timing. I love it!

Annie gets the failures, and she's a pretty good cleanup girl. She does not - let me repeat that for anybody with questions - she does NOT like broccoli. George H.W. Bush didn't like broccoli and said that since he was the President of the United States, he didn't have to eat it; neither does Annie Oakley and she simply won't eat it. Everything else is good though. Remember, NO broccoli for Annie.

I use a cute little snow plow on the front of the Ranger to dig out from the snowstorms. It works like a charm, and it is fun to do.

I'm not the only one who thinks it is fun to plow snow. If you look closely, you can see who wants to drive. No thumbs, no drivers license, only went as far as kindergarten and can't read. She couldn't pass the test. Annie rides Shotgun.

Miss Kitty, the Official Shop Cat, made an appearance long enough to let me get a pic for you. She is like the Phantom of The Workshop. She is there, but she lives in the attic mostly. She loves to be petted - about 3 times - and loves her free food. Then she disappears until the next day. She was rescued off the side of the road as a kitten, and after taking up lodgings at Oakdale Farm, has refused to leave the building ever since. The Ranger is Annie's; the shop is Miss Kitty's. She runs the show in the shop - and Annie likes her. She's not too sure, but she loves to pull Annie's chain right before she hops off to go back up to her room.

And that's what's going on out here at Oakdale Farm. Stay well, stay sane, stay calm. "Tomorrow," as Miss Scarlot said, "will be a better day."