I just got back from picking up a whole bunch of meat for the freezer, from one of our homesteading neighbours!
The box on the right is almost all pork, with four HUGE chickens buried under them, for $200. The box on the left is leaf lard, plus some soup bones, that they added in for free.
The fat has been set aside in a giant bowl to thaw out. I had to cut some of it up to fit it in so I could cover it and protect it from the cats. Thankfully, even when frozen, fat is pretty easy to cut through. Once it’s thawed a bit more, I’ll cut it into small pieces, and we’ll render it into lard, leaving behind what my mother used to call “skvarki“. I’ve spelled that phonetically, because I have no idea how it was spelled in Polish, and when I try looking up “cracklings”, I get a different word! The cracklings, with a bit of salt, make a great protein snack. Lard is a shelf stable fat. Properly rendered and stored, it can stay at room temperature for months, or as much as a year in the fridge. Even longer, if it’s frozen.
We also will be getting a shed in the spring, that could be used as a chicken coop!
Sadly, our neighbour won’t be our neighbour for much longer. They’ll be putting the property up for sale and escaping Canada, going to where there is no snow, and they can grow food all year long! As we were chatting, I mentioned the shed roof that collapse under the weight of snow almost a year ago, that I was planning to dismantle it to use the wood, and hopefully build a chicken coop.
He pointed to a nearby shed and asked if I wanted it! He needs to get rid of it and, in the spring, he can load it onto a trailer and deliver it to us.
Of course, I said yes!
It will need some work done on it. It has a flat roof, so it started leaking. We’ll need to make an angled roof for it. The leaking rotted away the floor boards, but the joists are still good, so we could easily put a new floor down. It’s roughly 8′ x 10′ in size, so we’ll need to prepare a base for it that’s larger than that. It’s got some pretty large windows on the sides, and there is a screened window by the door.
The question is, where do we want to set it up? We could use it as a chicken coop, but I do still want to have a mobile coop. Or we can set it up nearer the house and use it as a much needed garden shed.
We’ve got a few months to decide on that.
Meanwhile, we now have a greater variety of meats stocked up in the freezer that should last us a good long time!
There is something very comforting about that.