Saturday, July 23, 2011

Composting and Lard

This weekend was a bit odd for us. We decided to redo our cast iron. This required fresh lard. Yes I had pork fat in my freezer. Why you ask? I keep it on hand for things like making sausage, meatloaves, cooking deer and cracklings. We raised our own pigs. When we had it processed we asked for all the fat back. But if you do not raise your own hogs you can ask a butcher for some pork fat. We have a meat market and they will save us some if we call ahead.

Hubby cuts it into small square pieces. He takes his cast iron kettle and puts a cup of water in it. Places his pork fat into the kettle. He then stirs it constantly until the fat has given up all it is going to give up. You now have cracklings. These are good for corn bread, or just for snacking. We now have lard also. We have what they call a lard stand. Which is a small metal trash can. That is what we store the lard in.

To redo his cast iron he painted the inside of his clean cast iron with a thin coat of lard. He then puts them into a 250 degree oven and bakes it low and slow for a while. Then he puts another coat of lard on them and recooks them.

We are also working on a composting project since our other one was taken over by the peach trees that came up. I am not complaining about the peach trees but they were not supposed to come up where they did. This time Hubby took the old trampoline frame and placed it by the garden. He is going to put hog wire around the bottom. We are composting in it. That way when the water runs down to the garden it will get the compost. It made a much larger space for out compost. So today we composted cardboard boxes, vegetable scrapes, grass clippings, and dog hair.

Here is a list of what you can compost:
 Paper napkins
Freezer-burned vegetables
Burlap coffee bags
Pet hair
Potash rock
Post-it notes
Freezer-burned fruit
Wood chips
Bee droppings
Lint from behind refrigerator
Popcorn (unpopped, 'Old Maids,' too)
Freezer-burned fish
Old spices
Pine needles
Matches (paper or wood)
Seaweed and kelp
Chicken manure
Leather dust
Old, dried up and faded herbs
Bird cage cleanings
Paper towels
Brewery wastes
Grass clippings
Hoof and horn meal
Molasses residue
Potato peelings
Unpaid bills
Gin trash (wastes from cotton plants)
Weeds Rabbit manure
Hair clippings from the barber
Stale bread
Coffee grounds
Wood ashes
Tea bags and grounds
Shredded newspapers
Egg shells
Cow manure
Winter rye
Grapefruit rinds
Pea vines
Houseplant trimmings
Old pasta
Grape wastes
Garden soil
Powdered/ground phosphate rock
Corncobs (takes a long time to decompose)
Jell-o (gelatin)
Blood meal
Winery wastes
Spanish moss
Fish meal
Aquarium plants
Beet wastes
Sunday comics
Harbor mud
Felt waste
Wheat straw
Peat moss
Kleenex tissues
Milk (in small amounts)
Soy milk
Tree bark
Starfish (dead ones!)
Melted ice cream
Flower petals
Pumpkin seeds
Q-tips (cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks)
Expired flower arrangements
Elmer's glue
BBQ'd fish skin
Bone meal
Citrus wastes
Stale potato chips
Rhubarb stems
Old leather gardening gloves
Tobacco wastes
Bird guano
Hog manure
Dried jellyfish
Wheat bran
Guinea pig cage cleanings
Nut shells
Cattail reeds
Granite dust
Moldy cheese
Shredded cardboard
Dolomite lime
Cover crops
Quail eggs (OK, I needed a 'Q' word)
Rapeseed meal
Bat guano
Fish scraps
Tea bags (black and herbal)
Apple cores
Electric razor trimmings
Kitchen wastes
Outdated yogurt
Toenail clippings
Shrimp shells
Crab shells
Lobster shells
Pie crust
Leather wallets
Onion skins
Bagasse (sugar cane residue)
Watermelon rinds
Date pits
Goat manure
Olive pits
Peanut shells
Burned oatmeal (sorry, Mom)
Lint from clothes dryer
Bread crusts
Cooked rice
River mud
Tofu (it's only soybeans, man!)
Wine gone bad (what a waste!)
Banana peels
Fingernail and toenail clippings
Chocolate cookies
Wooden toothpicks
Moss from last year's hanging baskets
Stale breakfast cereal
'Dust bunnies' from under the bed
Pencil shavings
Wool socks
Artichoke leaves
Leather watch bands
Fruit salad
Tossed salad (now THERE's tossing it!)
Brown paper bags
Soggy Cheerios
Theater tickets
Lees from making wine
Burned toast
Animal fur
Horse manure
Vacuum cleaner bag contents
Coconut hull fiber
Old or outdated seeds
Macaroni and cheese
Liquid from canned vegetables
Liquid from canned fruit
Old beer
Wedding bouquets
Greeting card envelopes
Dead bees and flies
Horse hair
Peanut butter sandwiches
Dirt from soles of shoes, boots
Fish bones
Ivory soap scraps
Spoiled canned fruits and vegetables
Produce trimmings from grocery store
Cardboard cereal boxes (shredded)
Grocery receipts

I even compost my bills after I tear out the little plastic windows. Do not use cat or dog poop. They can carry disease. Also weeds that have gone to seeds. They may not die during the heat your compost goes thru.

I remember going to a little store in the middle of nowhere growing up with my Uncle and Aunt. They would get worms for fishing. The man that owned the store put out the coffee grounds to attract the worms. I save mine to put into my compost pile and Wesley's Worm tote. I always make sure they are not watered down when I put them in his tote. You can buy worms to get your compost started if you have a closed system or a bottom on your compost bin. Mine is on the grass so I do not need to do either.

We are also working on our rain barrels. I am having a frog problem. I have been over run by tree frogs in the back of my house since I put the 6 barrels up this year. They are laying their eggs in the barrels and living on my windows and eating the bugs that the house lights attract. I love my frogs. We have tons due to the creek in front of our house. The problem is trying to figure out how to make them stop laying their eggs in the barrels. We use the water to water our plants and animals. I do not want to hurt the baby frogs. If I put screen over the barrels it might deflect the water. The mosquitoes have not been a problem this year with the tadpoles, bats and the barn swallows we have on the property.

For our rain barrels hubby took 50 gallon barrels he got at work and took the lids off of them. He washed them and put them on the edge of the roof line so he can catch the water from the roof when it rains.