The Good Pig

With the temperature the was it has been and the wood stove going 24/7 we have gone through a lot of spring water in the kettle on the stove. Being a nice day, we decided to go up to the spring and get water this morning and then go into town for supplies. We took our normal route up to the spring but decided to take a short cut back to main road coming back over our ridge of the Massanutten.

We had gone down the road about a mile when we saw a cow about to calf in a pasture along the road. She was standing next to a flowing creek which could mean trouble if the calf dropped into the water. We could see smoke coming from a farm place up in the hollow across the road and decided to go up and see if the cattle in the pasture were theirs and tell them about the cow.

As we neared the place we could see a man chopping ice out of a stock tank and pulled up next to the fence. As I got out of the van a pig with a wooden leg came around the corner of the shed. I could see that the wooden leg was a cobbled up devise but some thought had gone into as it had a rubber cup on the bottom end to give the pig traction on the snow and ice.

I asked the farmer if the cattle were his and he said they were. I told him about the cow and asked if I could ask him a question. He said to ask away. I asked him what the story was on the pig with the wooden leg. He told me that about a year ago his son was out fetching in some wood when the tree he was felling twisted as it fell and pinned him to the ground. He said that the boy was a far distance from the farmstead and only the pig had heard him shouting for help. He said the pig came and got him and lead him to his son. He figured the pig had saved his son’s life. All I could say was, “WOW!”

He continued on by saying that this past spring while he was out pulling stumps with his 9N Ford tractor (a small, low set tractor), a stump with a large root system refused to come out of the ground. He said he backed up and took a run at it trying to give the stump a hard jerk. He said as he looked backwards watching the chain tighten, all he could remember was the front end of the tractor coming up off the ground and flipping over backwards. It had pinned him between the stump and the overturned tractor. He said that he must have passed out and when he came to, that same pig was rooting him out from under the tractors tire. That pig had saved his life too.

I said “That’s some kind of a pig. But, that doesn’t explain the wooden leg.” The farmer replied, “A good pig like that you don’t eat all at once.”

Keep your fork

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Sourdough Rolls & Sourdough Bread Sticks

Previously I had posts on SOURDOUGH STARTER and SOURDOUGH BREAD. I thought you may also want to make rolls or bread sticks.

Sourdough Rolls

(Keep this dough warm at all stages)

Prepare the dough the same as for your SOURDOUGH BREAD (previous post) but add 1 tbsp. shortening AND 1 tbsp. sugar. Shape into rolls OR roll out dough to 3/4″ thickness, cut to the desired shapes, place a little apart on a lightly greased baking pan. Put in a warm place to rise (proof) to about double in size. Bake  at 400 degrees F. for about 20 minutes.

Sourdough Bread Sticks

Make up dough as for SOURDOUGH BREAD (previous post), divide into 4 pieces. Roll each ball out between the hands, outwards, on floured board. As you roll dough out it will tend to spring back, so roll out until dough toughens. Let rest for a few minutes, then dough should be relaxed. Continue rolling to make them cylindrical and about 1/2″ thick, cut to the length required, brush with water and place about 1″ apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Set in a warm place to rise, bake in hot oven 400 degrees F. for about 15 minutes or until brown and crispy.

Varieties: After washing bread sticks with water, press sticks on coarse salt, poppy seeds, garlic salt, sesame seeds, caraway seeds, or onion salt.

Keep your fork.

Three Little Pigs

Art Linkletter had a show on TV many, maybe many many, years ago called “Kids say the Darndest Things”. It showed him asking questions to young kids and their replies. It was a show that you had to watch every week. A very good friend of ours, who was a pastor, kept track of answers that he received on confirmation tests. These kids were older but like the ones on TV proved that youngsters have fascinating minds.

Pickle Queen was a director and teacher of a preschool for many years while we lived in Minnesota and South Dakota and tells this story of one of her students. During story time she was reading the story of The Three Little Pigs to her class. When she got to the part of the story where the first pig was trying to gather the building materials for his home, she read, “And so the pig went up to man with the wheelbarrow full of straw and said: “Pardon me sir, but may I have some of that straw to build my house?”

She paused and then asked the class: “And what do you think the man said?”

One little boy raised his hand and said very matter-of-factly… “I think the man would have said – “I’ll be a son-of-a b#?&&. A talking pig!” PQ had to turn her head and bite her lip to keep from laughing.

Keep your fork

CHUTNEY Continued

Chutney tips and hints

* Most common chutney spices: ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom
* Most common chutney fruits: raisin, mango, tamarind, citrus fruit, apricot, peach
* Most common herbs: coriander, mint
* Most chutneys will contain some onion and many also include garlic
* Mix chutney with cream cheese, sour cream, or creme fraiche for cracker spread or fruit dip
* Mix chutney with a bit of olive oil and use it as a quick marinade or glaze for meat
* Keep in mind that the sugar in chutney will caramelize. Add the final glaze when the meat is nearly done to avoid charring and flare-ups on the grill.
* When using a chutney mixture as a marinade, be sure to boil it again and cool before using it as a glaze
* Mix with homemade or packaged mayonnaise for accenting cold meats or poultry
* Most chutneys will last weeks in the refrigerator due to the acid/vinegar content. If you wish to preserve them, be sure to use recommended instructions for canning in a water bath, usually 10 minutes in sterilized jars
* Use non-reactive pots when making chutneys. The acid in the mixture will react to iron, copper, and brass causing discoloration and pitting to the pot and imparting a metallic taste to the chutney
* Wooden spoons or plastic utensils are recommended for the same reasons as non-reactive pots

Here’s one of our favorite chutney recipes

5 qts. peeled, cored, chopped roma tomatoes
2 qts. peeled, cored, chopped gala apples
6 c. vinegar
4 c. chopped cucumber
3 c. chopped onions
3 c. chopped sweet red peppers
2 hot red peppers, finely chopped (with or w/o seeds depending on preference on mildness desired)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. raisins
6 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. ginger
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a large non-reactive pot. Cook slowly ( 60 to 90 min.) until thick. Stir often to prevent sticking. Follow canning instructions for water bath canning. Yields about 12 pints.

Keep your fork

CHUTNEY

Various wild game recipes call for chutney as a compliment. When we were doing the craft circuit with our jams, jellies, salsa, etc. I had people ask if we had chutney (which we did), what it was, and how to use it. With this post and the next I’ll put forth some of my thoughts on chutney.

Chutney or relish? What’s the difference?

Although chutney is most widely known as a condiment originating in India, the concept has spread worldwide and mutated to suit local needs as most foods do. The term chutney comes from the East Indian chatni, meaning “strongly spiced,” and is described as a condiment which usually consists of a mix of chopped fruits, vinegar, spices, and sugar cooked into a chunky spread. Most chutneys are on the spice-hot side, but it’s easy to adjust the heat factor if you make your own.

Chutneys are traditionally served with curried foods. The sweet and tart flavor combined with a touch of spice compliments strong-flavored meats such as wild game, but also works well with beef, pork, and chicken. Chutneys perks up cheeses and sweeter varieties make a fabulous spread for crackers and breakfast toast or bagels.

The difference between chutney and relish.

Chutney and relish are often used interchangeably as condiments terms. The confusion is understandable. Chutney can be savory and relishes can be sweet. In general, chutneys have a chunky spreadable consistency much like a preserve, whereas relishes are hardly cooked, use less sugar if any, and are more crunchy to the bite.

Using chutney

There are hundred, if not thousands of possible combinations of ingredients for chutney. Most chutneys have a fruit base, but many non-sweet vegetables can also be used. Once you get the basic concept down, you can experiment with any number of fruits and/or vegetables. Use firm-fleshed, under-ripe fruits such as green mangos, bananas, peaches, apples, nectarines, and apricots. Rhubarb and firm or under-ripe tomatoes are also good candidates. Soft fruits with delicate flavors such as raspberries, strawberries, and others will cook down into more of a smooth jam and their flavors will be lost. Dried fruits work particularly well in chutneys since they retain their texture, yet contribute a tart flavor offset by the sugar and spices.

Chutney tips and hints – next post

Keep your fork

Men Are Just Happier People

Men are just happier people- What do you expect from simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack. You can be president. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. Heck, you can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Same work, more pay. Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental is $100. People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them. New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend. Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. Everything on your face stays the original color. The same hairstyle for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck. You can play with toys all your life. One wallet and one pair of shoes -one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can ‘do’ your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier!

Keep your fork

Our Place

Below is a picture taken from Skyline Drive on the Blue Ridge Mountains of our place. In the foreground is Overall, called Milford during the Civil War. It looks more like small farms and homes rather than a small village.  Just above and to the left of Overall you see a railroad trestle and a highway bridge along with the highway showing through it.  Above and to the right of the trestle you see a clearing and a house with a white foundation. That’s us!

This area saw military action various times during the Civil War as this is the narrowest spot between the Blue Ridge and the Massanutten Mountains. Stonewall Jackson’s infantry camped in this vicinity on their way to the battle of Front Royal.

Back in the heyday of the Shenandoah River a ferry docked in Overall Run which flows down from the Blue Ridge and empties into the South Fork of the Shenandoah. It ferried people and goods to our side of the river. There was also a stagecoach wayside house just south of Overall. There is a lot of history in this area. Look for more in future posts.

Our home from Skyline Drive

Answers to last night’s questions:

1. If you answered that you are first, then you are absolutely wrong. If you overtake the second person and you take his place, you are in second place.

2. If you answered that you are second to last then you are…. wrong again. Tell me how can you overtake the last person!

3. Did you get 5000? The correct answer is actually 4100. If you don’t believe it, check it with a calculator.

4. Did you answer Nunu? No! of course it isn’t. Her name is Mary! Read the question again.

Bonus: It’s very simple. He opens his mouth and asks for it!!

Keep your fork