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Friday, July 29, 2011

Busy Days of Summer and Rendering Lard

Rendering lard, why would anybody in their right mind do this? Well, when we process the pigs they always send us home with nicely wrapped packages of lard, such as below. In the past I have promptly thrown it in the garbage, not wanting to tackle this project. However, the more I read about "Good Fats", I thought why not give it a try. I have to tell you it is a long process. I should have started earlier in the day. I just did not realize.

The lard starts out a nice white and pink color when first going in the pot.

You put little chunk pieces in a stainless steel pot on the lowest stove setting. Stirring often the lard will slowly begin to cook down.

Then it starts to turn a grey color as it is rendering down. You will be left with small pieces of cracklin. The end result of hours of rendering. I could not wait on it all to render down so I finally just filtered out what I could and ended up with 3 pint jars. I poured the lard through a cheese cloth several times to ensure a clear end product. The jars sealed themselves during the cooling but I still think I am going to run them through the canner for a little while. It's beautiful and I can't wait to make a pie crust!! Today, I am rendering more lard. I am starting wwaayyy earlier and using a smaller pot. I hope that speeds up the process.
The turkeys are now 12 wks. old and are just so interesting looking. I thought they might be bigger by now but they aren't. Lord willing by Nov. they will be a good size.

Here are the turkeys walking across the backyard during a good downpour. They just absolutely refuse to stay in the acreage that we fenced in for them. We need to clip their wings but I don't know that that will help.

Our days are full right now on the mini farm. We have been canning pickles, freezing peas, squash, and zucchini. We are also really busy with all of the animals around here.

I will leave you with this last little snippet of happenings around the homestead. We have a small game chicken, who we lovingly call bird, because she looks like a bird up next to regular size chickens. Anyway, we had not seen her in weeks and thought that a predator must have gotten her, as she comes and goes as she pleases, out of the pen. Well about a week and a half ago we found her and 7 baby chicks in the barn. We promptly put her in the chicken tractor. I would have loved to let her walk around the yard with her babies but from past experience we knew that she would be too vulnerable to predators. Lord willing, when the babies get bigger, we can let them out to run around together. I am thankful that we have some chickens with the natural instinct to set and care for babies.

Have a great weekend!!!