2019 – Week Three



Yes, that’s what I said.  but it’s okay I think.

Anyway, sorry I’m late, my plan was to post these updates on Sunday, which is already the first day of a new week. I posted Weeks One and Two on Monday, a day late. Today is Tuesday, two days late, but this time, I am making an excuse for myself. It’s called shoveling.

We survived, but I am dreading the cleanup when the snow melts, and animals have to be re-homed outside of the barn and shed and the melt, then freeze, then melt makes everything a sheet of ice.

Keep my old tractor Blue in your thoughts and prayers, she is taking a real beating, and we rely upon her so desperately. She was coughing and sputtering a bit yesterday, and is still leaking fluids in a mysterious way, but is still doing her best, and coming through for us.

We had lotsa snow. I am sorry I can’t report scientifically how much, but easily eight inches, with drifts, make some areas hip high. Of course one of those hip-high areas is where I got the tractor stuck, in one of the most spectacularly bad decisions of the year.


Because it has been so warm, the mud in that spot was super deep and swampy underneath all that snow.  Major logjam in my week. but it is after all, January.

Fortunately I am stubborn, and strong. The deep snow though, and icy ruts underneath are a real obstacle for me nowadays as I have been nursing a hip injury that will not be miraculously healing itself. I am now, officially, and admittedly, the B team, but still a contender.

The cozy, indoor part of this week was celebrating the arrival of a new shipment of Rancho Gordo beans. I know I picked them, and paid for them, but a new shipment from Rancho Gordo always feels like getting a magical pesent to me.

Maybe my love for Rancho Gordo beans is confusing to you, since I am a grass-fed beef/pastured pork producer.

But really, when you consider my wishes for improved sustainability, adaptability to climate change, and simple, more affordable and delicious local food, expanding our bean knowledge makes perfect sense.

See, heirloom beans do not do well in commodity systems. Just like our cattle and hogs, they are special, rich in flavor, not uniform, scrappy and are not designed to be stored for years and years.


The flavor is so much more than we expect from those dollar bags of Great Value pintos we can buy at the store, or a can of beans in that weird serum.  What is that stuff anyway? It is absolutely nothing like the delicious broth I get from cooking dry beans.

Why do I not grow and sell beans myself?  The growing is just part of the challenge of raising beans to sell. It is the harvesting, cleaning, and storing in a perfectly dry environment that presents a daunting obstacle for me at the moment. It is a very labor-intense and expensive obstacle to address, and at the bottom of the urgency list this year.

But I still want to give space for an extraordinary quality of bean here, to sell with our meats, and incorporate into our teaching. This time I tried a few new varieties, so have been cooking up Eye of Goat, Moro, Royal Corona, and Garbanzo. Each variety is delicious, and unique.

Mostly, the beans are available dried, in one pound bags. Each bag makes about eight cups of cooked beans, or sixteen portions. I also cook some up for you my way, and freeze them in two cup portions, with broth.  This broth is delicious in and of itself, don’t just discard it like you do with store-bought beans, use it.  It is good on its own as broth, reduce it to a thick liquid and finish with a pat of butter to make a delicious sauce for pasta or veggies, or add it to soups.


Beans will be available for purchase with Auburn Meadow meat orders, and at our Fit America Wellspa freezer in the North Hills of Pittsburgh 

And that is pretty much as exciting as it gets. Deliveries and such have had to be put on back burner while I spend my day outside making sure everyone is safe. We have lots of fence to fix, and water supplies to replenish, and still more digging out to do, which is just saying that the trudgery is not over for me yet, but we are hopefully over the hump.

And so it was for Week Three, 2019.