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Chewing the Fat

February vacation starts today.  Some may argue that it started last Thursday afternoon.  It may be true that we had an early release due to snow and then had a snow day Friday; but I had stuff that I needed/planned to get done before vacation.  So I used those “extra” days to get it done.

One way that the farm is supported is through my soap making.  I use the traditional method and I use animal fats.  There are some/many out there that find using rendered animal fat repulsive.  For me, it is an ethical approach.  My family eats meat.  Meat that we raise or that someone we knows raises.  By using the fat of those animals I am honoring every part of the animal.  Well, almost every part…I have tried pickling pig’s feet and that will not be happening and I don’t even want to attempt head cheese…but I do my best to use it all.  And, soap made from animal fat is actually better for your skin.  Anyway, in order to use the fat it has to be rendered.  Rendering is the process of taking the suet or lard and melting it down.  Image


     I put it into a large huge crock pot one of those buffet style jobbers I picked up for a steal at a lawn sale and let it “cook”.


Then it is strained into 5 gallon pails.


Finally, it is cooled and then put into the freezer for future soap making.

        I do this in the evenings after work and on weekends.  I now have seven 5 gallon pails of tallow/lard in the freezer.

     This whole process is done in our shed so the house does not smell like bacon for a year.  There are boxes of a the raw fat on the floor.  We are very careful not to let Momo, our ever hungry lab, into the shed alone.  Apparently, this time we were not as vigilant as we thought.  Youngest son was looking for the ever elusive remote and found a hunk of fat buried in the couch.  Don’t get the wrong idea our house is tidy.  He continued his search and found a hunk of fat in each of our living room chairs and one or two in his room.  Disgusting!!  All boxes of fat were placed out of reach and Miss Momo was checked for chipmunking fat before entering the house.

     The last few weeks, while the fat was cooking away and the furniture was drying I was working on some chairs someone had requested to be caned.  Caning is a hobby and I am no professional.  But they are finally done!!  Finished last night, the final night before vacation officially started.


     Now, vacation can start!   A vacation spent peddling soap and getting ready for a weekend show!


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