Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Forgive me for my lack of posts:). Don't know why I feel the need to apologize, but there you have it.

You see, I'm a researcher by nature. I LOVE learning, growing, challenging the way I think, and moving forward.

Frankly, these past two weeks have been so hard, but so good. There is a lot churning around in this brain of mine. The Lord is challenging me like never before in the way I think, eat, and just plain ole' do life.

I want this blog to be real. A place that I can put whatever is stirring within me into words.

Well, I haven’t had the words a lot of times these past few weeks. I’ve tried to put lots of this digging into words only to have written a sizeable novel by the time I’m done with it. Geez! Who wants to read that??

I get overwhelmed at the amount of information that is flooding my life- some God stuff, some good stuff, some downright awful stuff, some homesteading stuff, some false stuff, some sad stuff, some school stuff, some health stuff.

All of this “stuff” causes me to dig really deep in the things that are competing for my attention. I've discarded the things that don't matter and am clinging to the things that really truly do matter. That, my friend, is freeing!

But, every time I’ve sat down to write (and there have been should see the posts that have began but not yet posted), I can sense the Lord just wanting me to “rest” in it for a while and let it truly sink in.

He wants me to put into action the revelation and words He is breathing into me.

My desire is to bring glory to God in everything I do. One thing is for certain....He is my Rock, my Fortress, my stronghold.

"The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1

Time is fleeting. Each day that goes by is one day closer to seeing the King of Kings- whether He comes back at any time or we go see Him.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A few gift ideas.....

I recently purchased Farmer Jason some Frogg Toggs for a gift. He totally LOVES them and would recommend them as a gift for any man that is outdoors quite often whether it be for work or for recreation.

They come in a variety of colors (including cammoflauge for the hunters out there). They are rain proof and windproof suits made from lightweight waterproof fabric. What we love about these is that they can be worn together as a suit or individually. Jason wears the jacket a whole lot.

Another thing we love about them is that this whole suit costs less than $100 (much less).

If you are searching for a gift for an outdoors loving guy, this would be perfect! I purchased mine locally at Academy but you can get them at Cabela's or Gander Mtn. as well.

Something I'm LOVING these days is my Kindle. A Kindle is a wireless reading device that is purchased through This wonder machine stores up to 1,500 books, is lighter than a typical paperback, and can go anywhere with you. The prices to purchase your books on Kindle are also much cheaper than buying a hardcopy of the book.

The Kindle would be a perfect gift for the avid reader in your family.

This has came in so handing as many hours of my day are spent rocking and nursing in a chair holding little Ruthie Claire. I've developed an extreme love for reading over these past few years and have read more books because of this! I have a small house and LOVE to look of books thrown into the decor, but I haven't the space for the volume that I go through.

However, let me say that any book that has a "How To" skill that will come in handy if something happens to go way wrong in America and we loose power for a good length of time or never regain power (hypothetically speaking....not going to even cross that bridge right now), I buy the hard copy. The pictures aren't that great on Kindle either so anything that is photo intensive wouldn't be good to purchase on Kindle either.

There you have it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

the making of a billboard

I saw this on a friends blog (thanks Shauna:). I wanted to post it here for you guys and gals to see this insanity. It takes about a minute to watch.

Have a beautiful day in the Lord!

Monday, October 12, 2009

How To Render Lard

****Below are steps to render your own lard.****

When people hear the word "lard", they mostly think bad things- fattening, unhealthy, bad for you, etc. Lard has developed a bad connotation over the years and has been replaced by things like crisco, margarine, vegetable oil, and canola oil.

I recently told someone that I was going to try and render my own lard for cooking. To that they replied,"I thought you ate healthy. Lard does not sound healthy."

So, this is attempt to dispell the myths that all fats are bad for you. All fats are not created equal.

"Today heart disease causes at least 40% of all US deaths. If, as we have been told, heart disease results from the consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fat in the American diet. Actually, the reverse is true. During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four. During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1%. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%.2 " (The Skinny on Fats, Weston A. Price Foundation, see full article below)

Not too long ago, our grandmothers and their mothers all cooked and baked with pork lard and butter. In recent years, these two foods have been deemed "bad" fats and we've been dumbed down to thing that baking with margarine (which is one molecule away from plastic) and vegetable oil is better for us in some way.

As a matter of fact, when you hear the words "vegetable oil" one would think good things because of the word "vegetable". And "canola" certainly doesn't sound that harmful either.

Vegetable oil is made up largely of genetically modified (GMO) soy and corn. It is even used in paints, hydraulic fluid, and has various other industrial uses. Canola oil is made from a seed called the rapeseed. Sounds freaky, right? The name "canola oil" was given to make the oil more marketable. Rapeseed has high toxic amounts of erucic acid that is dangerous for human consumption. However, the hydrogenation of the rapeseed deems it safe for human consumption because it only has trace amounts of the erucic acid in it- yet its still in the oil. Canola oil is also an industrial oil that does not belong in the human body.

Here is a direct quote from an article "The Oiling of America" listed below to sort of sum this up for us.

"Most animal fats-like butter, lard and tallow-have a large proportion of saturated fatty acids. Saturated fats are straight chains of carbon and hydrogen that pack together easily so that they are relatively solid at room temperature. Oils from seeds are composed mostly of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These molecules have kinks in them at the point of the unsaturated double bonds. They do not pack together easily and therefore tend to be liquid at room temperature. Judging from both food data and turn-of-the-century cookbooks, the American diet in 1900 was a rich one-with at least 35 to 40 percent of calories coming from fats, mostly dairy fats in the form of butter, cream, whole milk and eggs. Salad dressing recipes usually called for egg yolks or cream; only occasionally for olive oil. Lard or tallow served for frying; rich dishes like head cheese and scrapple contributed additional saturated fats during an era when cancer and heart disease were rare. Butter substitutes made up only a small portion of the American diet, and these margarines were blended from coconut oil, animal tallow and lard, all rich in natural saturates."

To sum this up even further for us- our bodies know how to process naturally saturated animal fats and fats like lard, butter, coconut oil, and tallow. Foreign and ancient diets high in natural saturated fats have low risks of heart disease, high cholesterol, and cancers. Seed oils our bodies don't really know what to do with because of all of the extensive porcessing and hydrogenation to achieve the seed oils.

"The relative good health of the Japanese, who have the longest life span of any nation in the world, is generally attributed to a lowfat diet. Although the Japanese eat few dairy fats, the notion that their diet is low in fat is a myth; rather, it contains moderate amounts of animal fats from eggs, pork, chicken, beef, seafood and organ meats. With their fondness for shellfish and fish broth, eaten on a daily basis, the Japanese probably consume more cholesterol than most Americans. What they do not consume is a lot of vegetable oil, white flour or processed food (although they do eat white rice.) The life span of the Japanese has increased since World War II with an increase in animal fat and protein in the diet." (Skinny on Fats, Weston A. Price Foundation. See below.)

After seeking alternatives to the modern use of crisco, vegetable oil, canola oil, and margarine I discovered the unique benefits of cooking with pork lard and raw grass-fed butter.

Here is a chart of of the best sources of obtaining good fats in your diet (taken from "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon)

- Fresh Butter and Cream from pastured animals; preferrably raw
- Lard
- Beef, Lamb, Goose, and Duck fat from pastured animals
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Unrefined Flax Seed Oil in small amounts
- Coconut and Palm Oil

Second to Cod Liver, pork lard is among the top foods in obtaining Vitamin D in our diets. The key to benefitting from vitamin D in pork lard, is by rendering lard from pigs raised in natural sun light.

Commercially raised pigs never see the light of day. So, their lard would be low in Vitamin D, not to mention that animals store their toxins in their fat therefore making the diet of the pig extremely important during its life.

Lard is a stable fat that is largely used in baking and cooking. We have our butcherer save our pork fat (we sell this as well) so that we are able to render our own lard from our pigs raised on pasture and fed 100% USDA certified organic grains.

I've barely even scratched the surface here. The subject of fats in our diet is highly complex and somewhat scientific.

As with anything, you will run into information on both ends of the spectrum. Always consider your sources. If you are interested in looking into digging deeper into this subject, I encourage you to do so and not just take my word for it.

I've compiled a list of articles from the Weston A. Price Foundation- a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated nonindustrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets.

How to render your own lard on the stove top (you can also render in the oven):

1. Find a cute farmer willing to cut up your fat for ya!!! Just kidding. Not really:)

I have a hard time cutting up the fat since its a lot! So, Jason helps me with this step and for that I'm grateful!

Here is what it looks like in the package de-thawed.

2. Place cut up lard in a large stock pot. Turn to medium heat and let the pork fat do its thing. Keep in mind that it is pork, so a splatter screen might come in handy.

You will let pork cook on medium heat for about 45 minutes and stirring occasionally. Be careful not to overcook the pork fat because it will give your lard a "pork" flavor. Pork lard that is rendered correctly doesn't have a pork flavor to it.

3. Once the pork lard begins to float and look like this, continue cooking for about another 10 minutes watching it closely and stirring the pork fat.

4. Remove from heat once its done.

5. The steps I use for straining are....

Place a strainer in a bowl.

Triple line it with cheesecloth and pour pork fat and cracklings into the strainer lined with cheesecloth.

It should look like this after you've strained it.

6. Save your pork cracklings! These are good to use in bean recipes and cornbread recipes. Yum!

7. Use your jelly funnel to pour into glass jars.

8. Once it cools down to room temperature, place it in the fridge for storage. It should look creamy white once it has cooled down.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hamburger Meat: The Hot Dog of Beef

(Feedlot in California)

I posted this below on our farm blog/website. However, I felt it was worth posting here too! I should be posting regularly again on my blog. I've figured out (not technically me, but my genius bro in law....thanks Aaron!!) why my Internet was less than poor here.

There was an article in The Houston Chronicle yesterday about commercially raised beef. The article focuses in on the slaughterhouse practices in factory farming.

Butcherers of large meat producing plants grind up various undesirable parts of the cow (instead of whole cuts) and can use multiple cows from different slaughterhouses to make up their hamburger meat.

This particular article spotlights a young woman who thought she was purchasing top quality meat labeled "American Chef's Selection Angus Beef Patties" and paid a premium price for the meat only to be stricken with E. coli and paralyzed from this deadly food-borne illness.

With many recent food borne related illnesses and recalls in the news, I feel its important to pay attention since the government does not have our best interest at hand when it comes to food that are commercially sold and processed.

Instead, the FDA and USDA are trying to crack down on small farmers by trying to pass certain legislation (read this article here) instead of tackling the bigger of the two beasts. I feel this is nothing other than an attempt to look as though they are "handling things" in regards to food. When in reality, most small farmers that we know exceed all government standards and regulations.

The article gives insight into the awful practices of the commercial meat industry and how the USDA is doing virtually nothing to combat the problem of the spread of E. coli throughout the commercial meat industry.

This quote is taken directly from the article.

"In August 2008, the USDA issued a draft guideline again urging, but not ordering, processors to test ingredients before grinding. Dr. Kenneth Petersen, an assistant administrator with the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said the department could mandate testing, but that it needed to consider the impact on companies as well as consumers.

“I have to look at the entire industry, not just what is best for public health,” Petersen said."

Another feedlot. "Hey Edna Earl....where is the grass??"

Scary, huh???? The "not just what is best for public health" part doesn't sit right with me. As a small farmer, our biggest consideration in raising food is always the consumer and their health. Always. We have structured our entire farming practices with that very notion.

The article makes a case to buy from local farms without even directly stating it. I don't even think its intent was to promote small farms. By simply stating facts, its obvious that consuming factory farmed and slaughterhouse butchered meat is not in our best interest.

Our farm is very particular in who we use to butcher our meats. We have established a wonderful relationship with a local small butcherer to ensure that we receive only our cows. Our cows are never held in a slaughterhouse. They go straight from our pasture and are slaughtered right when they arrive at the butcherer.

On the days our cows are butchered, we go to great lengths to make sure that our cows are butchered first before any other meats. The hamburger meat that we sell contains none of the "junk meat" that you would receive from commercial hamburget meat. We use on whole cuts of beef and then have our butcherer grind them up. Its a bit more costly to it this way since you are most likely grinding up what could be roasts and steaks. However, we prefer to do it this way over using less than desirable cuts of meats that the factory slaughterhouses would use to cut corners and save a buck.

If the USDA won't look out for our best interest, then we have to take it upon ourselves to do so. Factory farming is not the answer. You DO have a choice. To find a farm near you who has good farming practices you can visit

To view the article in the Chronicle, CLICK HERE.

Graphic yet telling, a commercial slaughterhouse pictured below. Its no wonder various cows and cow parts are getting mixed up in the ground beef.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Uncle D....we will miss you.

Jason's uncle passed away last Friday morning.

It still doesn't seem real.

This uncle, Uncle Durward, lived on the farm with us and his sweet wife Aunt Debbie. Over the last few years, we have grown extremely close to them since we have lived life alongside them.

He passed away in their home with all of us around him. We prayed many prayers and cried many tears as we watched him slip away from this earth and into the Kingdom of Heaven last Friday. We felt the presence of the Holy Spirit right there with us each step of the way. It was one of the most beautiful and most difficult things I've witnessed.

Aunt Debbie was truly by his side "till death us do part." I've learned so much from watching her serve him through this entire battle with cancer. She is an amazing woman and I'm blessed to have her as such a huge part of my life.

We will miss Uncle D so much. Kaylyn, our oldest, has cried many tears- as we all have.

She summed it up at the funeral by saying these words behind her tears,"Mommy, I'm glad he is in heaven. But, I'm going to miss him."

That is so true my sweet one. We KNOW where he is.

Death is hard and inevitable. One of the things that the pastor of the funeral said that resonated so beautifully in my heart was,"Let death be a teacher to you." Jason's sister wrote about this too. Her words are beautiful.

Death can be used to show us whether we belong to Christ or not.

We have confidence that Uncle Durward knew Jesus and sought after him throughout his life. This makes the journey of death a little less heavy because we KNOW where he is. The body we saw shortly after he made his exit from this world was but an empty shell.

We are going to miss so many things, Uncle D.

Your silly songs.

Apple fritters and Dr. Pepper for breakfast:).

The sound of your pick-up truck driving up and down the driveway as you came and went on your many journeys to church, to serve, to help.

Your uncontrollable laugh.

"That's powerful good."

You knocking on my door just to hold one of my babies.

Cashew cans with coins.

Plaid shirts and wranglers.

Watching you model before us one of the most GENEROUS hearts we've ever witnessed.
We love you so much and will miss you.