Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Let this be a measure of my wife's dedication to the cause of.... bacon.

A few weeks ago we picked up half of a 259 pound farm raised hog from a friend of a friend. We met at the butcher and collected Frey's bounty -- almost 100 pounds of delicious pork chops, ribs, ham steaks, shoulder, jowl fat, fatback... and the prize... hog belly.

Hog belly, the raw material of the finest food in all of the world: BACON.

Now the slaughterhouse would cure it and smoke it for us and then sell it back to me for $3 a pound. SCREW THAT. I got a copy of Micheal Ruhlman's Charcuterie from our local library and read up. Ordered a pound of curing salt from http://butcher-packer.com -- cost, $7. Curing salt is a pink dyed salt that contains 6% nitrite. OOOO evil nitrites! HEY HIPPIE, go to Whole Foods. Read the ingredients in all of that Nitrite-free bacon. Hmmm... celery juice concentrate? Gee, I wonder what that's that in there for? Celery juice is a natural source of guess what... Nitrite. I'd rather know what I'm getting. Besides, you use two ounces of pink salt to a pound of kosher salt and a half pound of sugar to make the cure and then probably about 4 tablespoons of the cure to cure an entire half belly.

Anyhow, I applied the evil chemical gleefully, let the sucker sit in 2.5 gallon ziplocks in my fridge for a week, then washed it, dried it, and let it air dry in the fridge for a few days. Last night I fried up a little of it, unsmoked cured bacon. Holy shit. Delicious beyond all words. So today I was planning to smoke it -- I even borrowed an electric smoker from a friend. But by nine am it was pouring buckets of cold miserable rain. Bad day for an electric smoker. But I work tomorrow and Thursdays are busy with playgroup and besides, I didn't want the bacon sitting in the fridge for two more days. I had decided to just oven roast it to 150' and hell with it, it's delicious as it is anyhow.

My wife's suggestion? Smoke it in the sunroom with the windows open and the door to the house shut! A grown woman, a mother and a wife just sanctioned setting up an electric smoker with cherry wood and hickory to smoke bacon... INDOORS. That's how much she digs the swine.

So who am I to argue? I put a fan in the window, sealed off that room from the rest of the house, opened the windows, put an old cutting board under the smoker to avoid damaging the floors, and three hours later, the sunroom smells of hickory smoke... quite nice... and I have 15 pounds of 100% home made cherry-hickory smoked bacon.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Teething Baby from Hell (of doom)

Egads. We've been blaming every slight bother for months on teething. Baby frowns? Oh, he must be teething. Baby farts? TEETHING! But starting last week he's started really teething.

Poor kid. He's so much less on his game when his teeth hurt. Anytime he's not doing something he's upset. Today he's had a teething biscuit and then I gave him a peeled carrot. He liked the carrot a lot. But when he's teething he doesn't want to nap because his teeth hurt, so then he gets frustrated because he's sleepy too.

Friday, July 13, 2007

life is great

No particular reason to say so, but it's awesome to sit here and watch The Boy play. He can stay sitting up for as long as he wants, but he can't lie down from the sitting position except by falling and bonking his head. Although he definitely has a STRONG head, I think that probably bonking himself on it fifteen times a day probably isn't the best thing. So I've taken to putting a pillow behind him when he's sitting up playing. That cuts down on probably 75% of the bonks... of course sometimes he decides to fall sideways. So I was just watching him play and he must have decided to lean back. He ended up laying on the pillow. Then he squirmed around for about a minute trying to figure out how to sit back up. Then he saw a something out of the corner of his eye, flipped himself over, and is now trying to pull a chair down on himself. I better go stop him.

back on the horse

there's no explanation for why i haven't blogged in so long... so, back to it.

long walk this morning. we left the house @ 8:30... went to autozone, bought the wrench I needed to finish fixing the taps, then walked up county, right on main, down to the library, got the last book on reserve that came in (short stories by donaldson), then down to CVS. Guillette never called them but she checked and we had a bunch of refils left anyway, so I told her I'd be back in 15 minutes.

out the back of cvs, through the woods to Flo St, down flo st, boy falls asleep... down the little back street we used to walk, right back to peck st, left on peck st, left on bank st down to the back of the cemetary.

through the cemetary, left on n main back to cvs. picked up script. boy still sleeping.

down the st we used to walk, left, right, past willette school down back to mechanic st, left on 4th street, home.

probably close to two or three miles. my back feels good, I think that's good exercise. I took one advil before the walk and I'm icing my back now. boyo is happily playing in the pen refreshed from his long nap.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day

If anyone wants to know what my Father's Day was like, Big Daddy Drew basically summed it up in it's entirety on Kissing Suzy Kolber.

Ahh. Well actually, it was pretty damn near that awesome. Actually it was better, because it really happened. I really did father the best baby in the world and I really do have the greatest wife ever.

She bought me BEASTIE BOYS tickets. And the Boy-o was very gracious about taking naps throughout the day! What better gift could I have asked for?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hail Mommy!

Sunday was our first Mother's Day. I've always liked Mother's Day because I love my own mom and have always wanted to make her happy...

But I've never experienced anything like yesterday. We didn't do too much, no breakfast in bed, no day of beauty, nothing like that. We got up, had some coffee. We had a few friends sleeping over after our Walpurgis celebration on Saturday, so we got to enjoy that. Saturday night was also a rare treat: the boy-o went to sleep around 9 and we stayed up until 11:30 hanging out with another couple. What a treat that was, to feel like regular adults again.

We went over my parents for brunch, had a lazy morning there, and then we went to a free concert at Seven Arrows Herb Farm. Put Thorsbaby in a front carrier backpack and stood around in the sun watching a jugband, watching our friends' three and a half year old daughter dance. I was overwhelmed by the beauty which having a child has brought into our life. I got to take in the whole scene with his five month old eyes -- the sun, the leaves, the joy of the dancing children, the silly music, the love in his mothers' eyes. You only walk this way once. It's good to have a child.

Friday, May 11, 2007

when it all goes wrong at once

I never thought I'd see so many things go wrong in a short bit of time as last night.

I'd kegged up five gallons of homebrew on Sunday. It was perfect, malty, bitter, deliciously creamy altbier. I even cold conditioned it with some gelatin to clear it a bit more then my average homebrew. We're having about 10 people over on Saturday for Summerfinding and I wanted it carbonated and ready, so I put it under about 30 PSI. On Tuesday night, my wife and I decided we were morally obligated to do a little quality control... you know, just to make sure we aren't serving inferior beer. So, while still under the high pressure, I hooked it up to the tap, pulled a couple of frothy pints, let them settle, and we drank them and man... there's nothing so great as the smug feeling of drinking a beer that's better then anything in the store. Now... I forgot to disconnect the keg from the tap. Well I didn't quite forget, more like I said, eh I'll probably have a pint tomorrow to so I'll just leave it hooked up.

So last night, we decided to have another pint each, and... the keg was empty. Where did it go? I swear, I didn't get thirty and Thorsbaby is not quite big enough to start drinking my beer when I'm not looking. I was looking for a flood somewhere. My first thought was the keg had exploded from the pressure and I thought I'd find five gallons of beer flooding the bottom of the kegerator. It was dead dry, no beer anywhere. Exploring further... the beer line had split just a tiny bit where it went through the small hole in the top of the fridge, and under 30 PSI had sprayed out quietly and slowly enough to... drip down the back of the fridge... run along the floor under the bar... and drip down a gap between the floor and the wall silently into the basement. I'm afraid to look in the basement. The good news is it dripped into part of the basement that no human can get to. We have a hundred-year old house... it's got nooks and crannies. One of which has five gallons of delicious beer in it. So I figure the housewights got thirsty.

Then, ten minutes later, the boy managed to cause three ounce of milk to spill all over his mommy, the couch, and himself. Don't ask me how, he managed to unscrew the bottle cap while his mommy was feeding him.

Then, while going to wet a facecloth to clean him up, I stepped barefoot in a puddle of fresh cat piss.

This morning, the coffee pot broke.

You figure it out, I can't. We're keeping a low profile today.... I can't take any chances!