Monday, January 31, 2011

End of January Update

Only four months separate me from the end of the 100 meter diet. I find that both extremely exciting and incredibly frightening.

I'm excited because I can clearly see the finish line and I'm confident that I can make the final few months without much trouble. I know what I'm doing, why I'm doing it and I'm absolutely loving it.

I'm frightened because I don't know if I want the diet to end. Why would I choose to leave my personal Shangri-La? I've put in such a tremendous effort to get where I am today that it doesn't feel right to stop. I didn't foresee the impact this diet would have on me.

I'm not going to make any hasty decisions. After all, I do have four months left to think about it. There are pros and cons to whichever choice I make. I know that this diet will be a hard habit to break.

Now back to the update ... I'm happy to announce that I actually put on a few pounds this month. I'm now at 159 pounds. I atttribute the weight gain to all the pies my wife has been making me. I haven't become tired of butternut squash pie yet and I simply love it when she makes me a 100 meter cheesecake.

I have one other announcement to make ... we think that Lucy is pregnant. It appears as though she is starting to 'show' but unfortunately we don't have any clue when she might be due. The father, little Donkey, is less than half Lucy's size and he really had a difficult time with the height difference. It appears as though he worked things out - good for him!

On a related note, Lucy's milk production plummeted at the end of January so we've stopped milking her so she can focus all of her energy on her pregnancy. I have over 30 liters of milk in the freezer which I'm saving for making yogurt and cheeses. That means I'm down to only drinking water now. That will be an interesting challenge all on it's own!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The goat meat has arrived

We picked up our goat meat from the abattoir a few days ago. I wasn't sure how much meat we would get so I set my expectations low to make sure that I wouldn't be disappointed.

I'm very happy since we received far more meat than I anticipated .... we picked up 80 pounds of meat at a cost of $81. That's a pretty good deal.

Barb knew I was eager to try the fresh meat so she offered to make me a 100 meter meat loaf ... my first meat loaf on this diet. It's absolutely delicious. Two thumbs up.

Our freezer is now packed with all kinds of goat meat ... ground, stewing, ribs, chops, liver plus some bones to make stock. More than enough meat to see me through to the end of the diet. I'm truly thankful.

I should also give you and update on the hide tanning process ... I took the hides out of the 'pickling solution' on Friday. I hung them to dry and stretched them by hand a few times a day. Having never done this before I really didn't know what to expect but they seem to have turned out well. I still have some work to do to soften them up before we're all done. I hope to blog about Tanning a Goat Hide - Part II in the near future. Stay tuned ....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter television ....

We don't watch a lot of TV in our household to begin with, but in the winter our TV usage drops off considerably.

Why? Because it's too cold inside!

That's right ... I said it's too cold inside.

Unlike most households in North America, we have only one TV in our home and that TV is located in a room where I've sealed off all the heat vents. The room can be warmed up using the wood stove or the electric space heater but usually we simply put on our winter coats, hats and gloves to watch our favourite shows.

We are quite the sight on a cold winter night. You would think that we were just about to head out to go tobogganing but instead we are just settling in for a family TV night.

We don't do many things the easy way around our home. Why should watching TV be any different?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tanning a Goat Hide - Part I

We've had a few conversations in our household on whether or not I should blog about the tanning of goat hides. It was decided that as long as the pictures don't get too graphic it was a suitable blog topic. So here goes ...

The adventure began when Barb picked up the hides from the abattoir. The butcher confirmed that Barb was picking up one brown hide and one mostly black hide. "Yes, that's Chocolate and Lucky", Barb said. To which the butcher replied, "You named them?!" Huh, it didn't seem strange to us to name them.

The hides were in excellent shape but they still needed a few hours of 'cleaning'. I gave them a quick wash and then laid them on top of garbage bags on a large table.

With a very sharp knife I removed all the "fleshy bits" and tidied up the edges as best I could. I did a much better job on Lucky's hide because I did his last.

The task of cleaning the hides really felt like a very horrible job at the beginning but that soon changed. I became more and more comfortable with what I was doing as I went along. By the time I was finished cleaning the first hide I was really starting to enjoy the process. It felt very primal and somewhat instinctive.

Once the hides were ready I placed them in a plastic container containing 5 gallons of water with 2.5 pounds of dissolved alum and 10 pounds of dissolved rock salt. They are to stay in this solution for about a week before we can move on to the next stage which includes more washing and lots of stretching.

Everything in the first stage seems to be going well, the kids are showing interest in the process and they are looking forward to having their goat skin rugs. So far so good.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Saying goodbye

We said goodbye to Chocolate and Lucky yesterday. It was their time to leave us for their date with the butcher. The date has been on the calendar for about a month so we had plenty of time to come to accept the fact that they wouldn't be with us anymore.

The original plan was to keep Lucky as a family pet but in the end Matthew was willing to let him go. He said that other than sharing their birthday he didn't really feel close to Lucky. I think that Matthew wanted to make sure that I had enough meat to finish the 100 meter diet. I appreciate his sacrifice .... he's simply looking out for his Dad.

I asked the butcher to save the hides for tanning. I've never tanned a hide before but if it all works out we'll have two small goat skin rugs to help remember them by.

The barnyard felt a lot smaller and quieter this morning. It will take some time to get used to not having Chocolate and Lucky around ... They were two affectionate and social goats. They always came over to say hello and get a scratch or two.

We'll miss them.