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Cultivate Simple 55: Piles of Pork

November 25th, 2013

In this weeks episode we discuss butchering our pork. We get into the supplies that you should buy and our suggestions for easier and more efficient processing. The first time you do something is always the hardest.

Books of the Week:

Quote of the Day: Mlle. Souvestre

November 24th, 2013

“Even when success comes, as I am sure it will, bear in mind that there are more quiet and enviable joys than to be among the most sought-after-woman at the ball or the woman best liked by your neighbor at the table, at luncheons and the various fashionable affairs.”

Mlle. Souvestre to Eleanor Roosevelt in a letter from Hazel Rowley Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage

I really love this quote, it’s amazingly true, and so against what mainstream culture tells us. Quiet and enviable joys, I’ve been working hard to cultivate these things in my life.
grilled cheese and tomato soup
The sun coming up right in front of my kitchen window,
enjoying a simple meal with Mr Chiots,
a warm cup of coffee on a frosty morning,
a big wooly blanket on my bed.

What quiet and enviable joys are you loving this week?


November 23rd, 2013

There are power lines down the hill from our house, they actually cut across the very front corner of our property. We can’t see the lines because we’re up a hill and about a third of a mile away. You don’t even notice they are there, until they start doing work. The local power company is adding new lines, so there have been loads of trucks, lots of noise and recently, lots of helicopters! It’s been fascinating to watch. Every now and then, when I’m washing dishes, I’ll see a helicopter come up over the trees carrying a few guys dangling from a long rope.
power line work with helicopters 3
power line work with helicopters 2
power line work with helicopters 1
One day I went down to grab a few photos. What a job and what a commute.

Anything crazy going on around your neighborhood this week?

Friday Favorite: Curling

November 22nd, 2013

This Friday Favorite is for Mr Chiots. Many years ago he started watching curling during the winter Olympics, then he was hooked. He wanted so badly to learn how to play, but the only club near us in Ohio was over an hour and a half away. Lucky for us, the only curling club in Maine is only about 20 minutes from our house. Last year we went to a Learn to Curl event at the club and Mr Chiots couldn’t wait to sign up for leagues.
Curling 6
Curling 11
Curling 14
Curling 1
This year he’s curling two nights a week and loving it. I haven’t been able to get to one of his matches yet since it’s been a bit busy around here, once things settle down in December I will. One thing is for sure, Mr Chiots is in seventh heaven!

Is there any strange sport you’ve always wanted to try your hand at?

Bacon, Canadian Bacon, and Sausage

November 21st, 2013

Slaughtering two pigs amounts to loads of work, thankfully I arranged my schedule so I could take a few days off. Yesterday my entire day was spent making bacon, Canadian bacon and sausage. Mr Chiots helped with the sausage in the evening, that chore is easier when there are two hands. I know you’re probably sick of hearing about pork, but it’s what is filling my day so it’s what I’m thinking about and what I’m doing. I thought some of you might be interested in the recipes and techniques I’m using for curing some of meat.
bourbon bacon 1
Bacon, hams and most cured meats are extremely easy to make. I made bacon a few years and and was amazed at the simplicity of the process. Essentially you salt a piece of meat, and then smoke it if you want, or not. I highly recommend giving it a try if you can, you won’t be disappointed in the results. If you’re used to buying regular bacon from the grocery store, your homemade bacon will taste nothing like it.
bourbon bacon 3
If you are ever lucky enough to have fresh pork belly in your kitchen, here are a few recipes that I’m using. I used half of one belly to make German Bacon, the remainder was used to make . Another whole pork belly was used to make Ventreche, or French bacon. Two entire pork bellies were used to make classic bacon using the recipe from The River Cottage Cookbook. The last half pork belly was used to develop my own recipe which was made with bourbon, bourbon steeped with vanilla beans, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sweet cinnamon and nutmeg. I’ll smoke half of this and leave half unsmoked, it will be tweaked for next year and will hopefully become my signature bacon.  I’m thinking this one is going to be very good.
bourbon bacon 2
I made Canadian bacon using this recipe, I’m pretty excited to try this out.
canadian bacon
It’s an amazing thing to cure meat with salt. I also like knowing that the sea salt I’m using is rich in magnesium, a mineral that many people are deficient in nowadays. Being that I can be a bit of an insomniac and have a tendency to crave salt, I’m most likely a little deficient in this mineral. Making my food as nutrient dense as possible is one of the reasons I grow, raise and process my own. My pigs were fed a varied diet, along with molasses, minerals and sea salt to make sure their meat is as rich in minerals as possible.

Have you ever wondered if you’re deficient in any vitamin/mineral?

Seeds and Sundries
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Berkey Water Filter

This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.