Sunday, February 9, 2014

My hands smell like hog guts.

In late January we went on a ski trip with Tory & Jill Held and Tom & Paige Yockey.  We took Trevin with and Owen (newborn) joined us too, making 8 bodies total. We had high hopes, and they were soon crushed like a cracker on the interstate. Because of the littles, we decided to leave at midnight and drive through the night to Winter Park, Colorado, an eight hour drive. We put Trevin to bed at regular 7:00 bed-time, and James and I followed shortly. We left our house around 11:30 to meet up with the others. Trevin wasn't too bothered by being woke up and stayed awake for our ride to town. We got everything loaded up into two vehicles, ours being one, and we took off. Trevin decided he wanted to stay up and didn't crash until 2:30AM. But he was super adorable because he just wanted to hold my hand the whole time. It was cute until my arm fell asleep. After a couple of seat rotations and fuel stops, the other vehicle's heater went out. We stopped and tried to fix it; it was in and out the rest of the way. We arrived at 8 AM to pick up our keys for the condo we rented. (Backtrack: We called ahead of time to ask for an early check-in. They told us that there was no one going to be in the room before us, so they would have it cleaned and ready to go for us.) When we arrived, the condo wasn't ready and we were told to that it would be ready in an hour. We went to breakfast and stopped back for the keys at 9 AM. The room was still not ready, they gave us the keys and told us that it would be done by 10 AM and they would call when it was ready. We went and rented ski equipment for the weekend and arrived at the condo a little after 10, with still no call from the company. The plan was for Jill and I to stay back with the kiddos while the rest hit the slopes. The babes were restless and desperately needed to get out of the car. We waited, and decided to try our key to the rental and see if we could get our stuff unpacked. The beds were stripped but everything else was obviously dirty. We were concerned because the room was supposed to be finished but hadn't been touched.

The rest of them took off to ski and Jill and I stayed behind. We tried calling the company multiple times with no answer. We ended up leaving a message warning them that we were in the room already and no one had been there to clean. Finally they called us back and didn't seem too impressed that we were already in, we were told the cleaning crew was on the way. When the cleaning lady arrived she chewed us out for being in the room without permission. (Understandable) But we argued that the room was supposed to be done hours before. She then told us that we had misunderstood and that it wouldn't be done until noon. We had moved all of our bags onto the kitchen table so they would be easy to clean around. The cleaning lady left clearly upset and said she'd be back in 10 minutes to start. A few minutes later we receive a phone call from a supervisor telling us that they wouldn't clean until we left the condo. (We as in the people, our bags could stay on the table, but they didn't want us watching them.) Meanwhile Trevin's carseat was disassembled because of a spilled drink on the drive. We asked where we were supposed to go with 2 kids under 2 in need of naps and without a carseat in a town we've never been in. A coffee shop was the answer from the supervisor. And guess what? The "coffee shop" was a couple tables in the front of a grocery store. Totally ideal for our situation... (sarcasm.) Thankfully it was only a couple blocks from the condo. We were told that they would start cleaning as soon as we left and that it would take 1-1.5 hours. We left at 12:30 and returned at 1:30, sat in the parking lot, and awaited a phone call. Then the cleaning crew showed up. They hadn't even started. Talk about frustrating. By 2:30 we were back in the room and ready for some good news. James couldn't deliver any. Turns out they had spent the afternoon in the hospital. Tom took a bad fall and ended up with a broken collar bone. I think it's safe to say that everyone was exhausted after the first day of "vacation." The rest of the trip was rather smooth, aside from some car sickness on the way home.
The guys went night skiing and even met up with James' cousins who happened to be in town.

While on the trip, Tom said to me, "I think I'm starting to figure you out. You were raised on Dr Pepper and classic rock."I don't think anyone has ever described me so accurately, with so few words. 

James got some new toys!

There's always a good time to be had at the Leadership Center on Super Bowl Sunday!

My brother came and stayed with us for a couple days and helped get the basement (or should I say basements) project rolling again. Trevin took advantage of some bonding time. 

They were able to get both basements cleaned out and gutted. They are now ready for the actual reconstruction. It's gotta get worse before it can get better, right? 

James' Christmas present was a gun safe. A gigantic gun safe. That he wanted in the basement. Thanks to the help of some hard workers, they got it down without much trouble. 

Butchering 2014 is in the books. And it was a whopper. Warning, if you can't handle dead livestock, don't continue. #nofilter #bloodymess (And I believe those are my first hashtags...ever. I'm glad we could share this moment.)
Butchering is a tradition that has been passed down for generations. Grandpa always takes care of the liverwurst.  
 Friday consists of loading, killing, skinning, gutting, and hanging hogs. Now normally this is a man-only day. But I was determined to break through the social barrier and show the world just what women can do! (Did that sound feministic enough?) For real, I just wanted to get my hands dirty. And dirty they became. 

My cousin Corb is the expert on gutting and he showed me just what to do. I took that hog by the hams and showed it who's boss. The most important thing was to not cut open organs or intestines and not dig into the meat. 

Obviously the camera crew had a sense of humor. 

I was elbow-deep in that beast. And no matter how many times I washed my hands that night, I still fell asleep to the smell of hog guts on my hands. Interesting dreams were had. 

I'm glad to have my first hog under my belt. Can't wait to try the skinning next year. 

When Saturday comes around we process the piggies. Some do bacon, some do chops, some sausage, some do brats. This is where the creativity shines. Everyone makes our trademark smoked sausage. And I love the pork chops. And the bacon. And the sausage. And the ribs. And the liverwurst. Mmmmm pork.
But THIS is what I absolutely love about the event. Just as I was taught, now we teach. 

We ended up with 14 hogs this year. Usually average 16, so it was a pretty fast and smooth weekend. 

See that pot? Pretty nasty, but it produces these delicious ribs that have a sodium content that could kill a woman of my stature. 

And at the end of the day, we pack up a hog's worth of meat and place it in the freezer to enjoy for the whole year. 

Eating good tonight, growing on the farm...