November 2018
The Herb Farm

Anger Is A Form Of Anger

 

This vintage meat grinder is my workhorse for prepping burger meat and sausage. Makes a fine ground chicken for stir fry too! I bought this about 40 years ago, and it was old then. I have only had to replace the cutter, and I did that before I mastered sharpening it.

Oh, don’t get upset over the title of the column!

Am I not allowed to be angry just because I write for one of the top magazines in the state? Farmers have feelings too, you know?

Try as I may to be happy, bubbly and pleasant all the time, there are things that go on in the world that make me somewhat angry! And then there are things that go on here on the farm that really get me going! Things that I cause!

I’m not just talking about a broken teacup or dropping a quart Mason jar of canned potatoes.

I am talking about nearly causing a potentially massive wildfire, simply because I did a bone-headed thing that I knew better than to attempt.

Several years ago, I bought a little propane torch that hooks up to a simple twenty-pound grill tank. I bought a "Hot Max 500G Big Max 500,000 BTU Propane Torch" through Amazon. (Respectful nod to Bezos.) That thing sounds like an F4 jet aircraft with afterburners blazing on takeoff! I bought it to control weeds on my parking pads and driveways. It works tremendously, but you have to pay close attention to where the heat and flame are traveling.

A few weeks ago, I used the organic weed cooker on some spots that got out of hand on the parking pad. It was a lovely, warm, 95° afternoon with calm winds. Everything was going so smoothly, I decided to torch back some of the Mondo grass (Ophiopogon sp.) edging the driveway. All was well at that point, so I decided to cook some more weeds that didn’t have a hard surface separating them from the wild-blue-yonder. Still, no problem.

Then, suddenly, the sun began to set; the wind began to pick up and swirl across the pleasantly performed efforts of my late afternoon and before I knew it … I had little brush fires everywhere! Thank goodness for my ample supply of garden hoses, I was able to extinguish every little fire … but one.

Later that evening, when it was cocktail time on the porch, I smelled something like plastic burning. I went back around the areas and made sure that all the fires were out-out! I mean, out!

Still, after an hour or so, I smelled it again. By that time, it was getting on up around 10 p.m. I went back around again to the areas that I torched. And, although I didn’t see any smoke or flames, I felt a 10-gallon nursery pot and it was hot. So, I dumped out the pot onto the concrete pad. The pot was deformed from the heat and the soil mix was smoldering from the bottom of the pot.

Apparently, as I was torching weeds, I mistook my cleverly disguised, painted nursery container for what I intended it to look like: a terra cotta pot.

So, be careful using a torch on your weeding chores. Use common sense and please, please be smart and extra careful.

Please do not be like me. I made a scary mistake that could have been catastrophic.

Thank you, dear readers. I truly appreciate your indulgence with my ramblings/musings.

I am thankful for you.

Let’s eat!

A few weeks ago, I bought some boneless pork shoulders at a great price. The cut of meat is aka Boston Butt. I’ll figure that one out in my afterlife.

Meat doesn’t freeze as well as packagers would like you to think, so I started to look for alternative ways to use cheap pork meat.

Guess what? I found a recipe for sausage! Not only did I find a recipe for country sausage, but also for Italian sausage and sage sausage.

I tested these, and they are not bunk! Like all my culinary creations, these absolutely work! I tweaked the recipes according to my personal taste. Basically, though, these are tasty.

 

After I made this Italian sausage, I realized that I didn’t have any casings. So, I made some link shapes, weighed each one (4 ounces), and put them in the freezer overnight. The next day they were sealed in zipper freezer bags. Now they can be taken out individually and cooked.

Italian Sausage

3 lbs ground pork shoulder
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
3 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons Italian seasoning (I used Tones brand)

For HOT Italian:
Add 4 Tablespoons crushed red pepper

 

Plain Country or Sage Sausage

4 lbs ground pork shoulder
1 lb ground picnic ham
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 ½ teaspoons dried parsley
1 ¼ teaspoons rubbed sage
1 ¼ teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 ¼ teaspoons dried thyme
1 ¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 ¼ teaspoons ground coriander
3 teaspoons brown sugar

Mix them up and freeze patties or make chubs in 2# bags.

My homemade country sausage passed the skillet test and taste test. It will be extra tasty after the herbs and spices have permeated the ground goodness. I think I’ll have some of that for breakfast tomorrow.

 

Enjoy, y’all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time, remember to watch your salt and sugar, drink plenty of pure water and breathe in and out!

Thanks for reading!

For more information, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I’ll answer your questions and I enjoy the emails!

Be sure to find me on Facebook at: "Herb Farmer-The Herb Farm"

As always, check with an expert, like your doctor, before using any herbal remedy, or your local ACES office before using any potentially dangerous farm or garden equipment, especially on dry, windy days.