Homemade Sausage

We’ve talked about making homemade sausage for years. We have finally done it! We split a hog with our neighbors, and butchered it ourselves. Our friend Mike came over to help. He kept apologizing for taking so long, and we had to point out that he – the blind dude – was parting up the carcass faster than three sighted people were able to keep up with.


We ground it twice; once before we added our seasonings, and again to finish mixing it.


Most of my meat is in the freezer waiting to be made into pulled pork, but I made up 12 pounds into maple-blueberry sausages. We haven’t eaten any of the links yet, but we fried up a bit of the meat and it tasted wonderful!


Here is my recipe, cobbled together from multiple others:

  • 3 lb. ground pork
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 1/2 T. Sage
  • 2 t. Fennel
  • 1/2 t. Pepper
  • 2 t. Garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 t. Onion powder
  • 1 t. Anise
  • 1/4 c. Maple syrup
  • 1-2 c. blueberries (We started adding these after the first two casings.)

We used Oversea natural hog casings, ordered from Amazon. Once we got used to them, they worked just fine.

Can’t wait to have our own sausage for breakfast! I made smaller links, so that we could control our portion sizes. Homesteading: the next great adventure!


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Busy, busy

We’ve been crazy busy trying to get ready for winter around here! Between choir and band rehearsals, homeschooling and college, it’s been hard to get to the “important” stuff.

We got a few things dealt with this weekend, though! Saturday we canned beef broth, after letting it simmer in the roasters overnight. Waking up to broth smells delicious, but is also a test of our abilities to handle delayed gratification- it has to be strained before tasting, and even then, it’s better as soup than drunk straight. We canned 21 quarts.

Today was chicken broth day. When we walked into that wonderful smell after church, I caved and bought fried chicken. Broth is out of the canners now, sealing on the counter.

I snagged end-of-season bell peppers from a local farm (Jones, in Granger), and chopped those for the freezer. I must remember to plant bell peppers next year!

The last of the garlic is now chopped and frozen, and sliced and dehydrating in the garage. We should be vampire-free for a few more days.

Mr. Caffeinated is out collecting the leaves off the lawn and driveway for the garden. One of last year’s geese is roasting for dinner. All in all, I think we can let this weekend go down in the books as productive!


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Busy day

Major accomplishments around the homestead today by the Villa team:

1. Planted 50 cloves of garlic.

2. Peeled a dozen more bulbs, sliced them and started them in the dehydrator. In th garage. Which, by all olfactory evidence, is completely mosquito and vampire-proof for the foreseeable future.

3. Prepped the garden for winter. Removed and disassembled drip system, found three onions and two kale plants left to harvest, sacrificed the celery to the goats (it froze before it sweetened up enough to eat), completed the fencing and brought in the hens and their henhouse.

4. Spread a couple yards of cut grass on the landscaping.

5. Made three pounds of butter from this week’s cream.

6. Removed the sparkle tape from the blackberry bush.

7. Loaded the dump trailer and eliminated one major pile of junk that’s been bugging me for three years.

Incidentally, they really ought to make a tool for pulling apart compression fittings. Our current hack is to set teenagers to playing tug of war:





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Newest addition to the worship band

Look who got recruited to play with the big boys in the worship band at the Presbyterian Church with me!



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I purchased two boxes of green Bartlett pears last Friday at Jones Farms in Zillah, and they all came ripe Sunday night. The kids helped me bust out two canner loads plus a big batch for the dehydrator.


14 quarts, six trays dried slices plus a baker’s dozen left to eat fresh. Not too shabby for two hours’ labor!

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She waited for snow

Because, you know… the goats all got a BLIZZARD when they gave birth in February.

Well, Bella almost made it – there was snow on the hills surrounding us this morning, and we set all kinds of records for weather today.


I blame Bella.  We ought to have a real autumn, now that she’s got that out of her system.


It’s a boy!


No name yet.  Big sister Mooie was quite intrigued, so she got sent to Purgatory, also known as Field 3, along with all of the goats.

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New hack for scrubbing burnt pots

I love finding new hacks, especially when it comes to getting burnt pans clean without ruining them.

Last week, I tried making three gallons of goat milk into caramel by mixing the milk and the sugar in a turkey roaster, and letting it boil down all day. We finished it off on the stove, and while it certainly took less time than it would’ve to do it all on the stovetop, it did a number on the roasting pan.

Not thinking I’d turn it into a blog post (I just did one on caramel!), I didn’t take pictures – but believe me when I say that left one of the nastiest, thickest black crusty rings of scorched milk and sugar that I’ve ever had the misfortune to have to deal with on a pot.  I love caramel – but I probably won’t try making it in the turkey roaster again.

Initial efforts to remove the crust with scrubbies and a razor blade were only marginally successful.  I filled the roaster with hot soapy water and let it simmer for 48 hours, and that allowed the majority of it to slough off … but there was still a healthy crust adhered to the pan that didn’t want to come off for love, money or elbow grease.

My friend Mike decided to tackle it for me, and had a moment of brilliance: use a pumice stone!  These are made for getting mineral deposits off porcelain tubs and toilets without scarring the finish.  I didn’t have a pumice stone, exactly, but I had something along those lines that ended up working even better:  a “Bath Stone”, made from 98% recycled glass.


It worked like a charm!  No scratching!  I figured I was going to have to replace the roaster…. but there’s not a scratch on it. It’s still wet in this picture, but there’s no char anywhere in it.


Mind you, this was brand-new in my cabinet; I’d picked it up for cleaning, but hadn’t opened it yet.  Now it’s going under the kitchen sink to be dedicated for the next nasty clean-up job.

Mike suggested I share, since this was such a successful experiment.  The whole pan came clean in under 15 minutes once he started in with this!  So, here y’go!

Happy scrubbing!

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