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Autumn Repast

Tonight I cooked venison for the very first time.  It was actually quite good, reminding me a bit of lamb.  My uncle is a hunter and every November he goes to a cabin with several of his good friends to hunt deer.  His freezer is small and he still had quite a lot of meat left from last year’s deer.  So he offered it to me for the dogs.  Thrilled with any source of free, naturally raised meat, I accepted and brought home a packed cooler full of venison from Kingston. 

When I got home I discovered that one of the packages of sausages had thawed.  I decided to cook them and try them myself.  I am going to try making a venison stew with one of the steaks at some point as well.  I used to be very against hunting, but have recently taken a different on the matter.  The way I see it now, if you are going to eat meat, perhaps it is more ethical to go out and shoot it yourself than to buy it from the supermarket.  At least the animal has had a natural life prior to being killed, unlike those in a factory farm.  And by killing it yourself – be it on a farm or in the woods – one hopefully will gain a stronger appreciation for the cycle of life that entails.  If you are a good shot, swiftly kill one deer and fill your freezer with the meat for the year, I am thinking that is better than buying factory farmed meat from the supermarket that will come from countless animals over the course of the same timeframe, plus increase consumer demand for more factory meat. 

A friend gave me a very easy and tasty way to prepare sausage and I have now used it several times. The cherry tomato plant I planted in front of my composter took over an entire garden and produced so prolifically that even with giving away baskets of tomatoes, I couldn’t use them all up.  This sausage recipe calls for at least a quart of cherry tomatoes, so that has suited me very well!  All you do is fill the bottom of a deep dish baking pan with cherry tomatoes.  I suggest cutting them open a bit to make sure the juices run out of them freely.  Over the tomatoes, sprinkle rice.  I used 1 cup of rice with a heaping quart of tomatoes.  Then add an equal amount of water to rice.  On top of the rice and tomatoes, lay sprigs of fresh herbs: oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary etc. Whatever you have in your garden and think will go with the meal.  Place the sausages on top of it all, cover, and bake.  I take the cover off after about 45 minutes to brown the sausages.  

It’s so very simple, and extremely tasty.  And other than the rice, the meal I made tonight bypassed any form of commercial transaction completely.  

I really like the idea of getting food from my garden or from nature, rather than from the grocery store, and even from market.  There’s something very satisfying about stepping out your back door and getting dinner.  I would really like to move more towards homesteading when I relocate.  I would love to have a few chickens for eggs, and perhaps a dairy goat for milk, cheese and yogurt.  

My roommate also contributed to tonight’s repast by making ‘Braised Red Cabbage’, a yummy way to eat cabbage.  We still have two cabbages from the CSA (which ended 2 weeks ago) and need to use them up as we will be getting more with the start of our fall CSA.  I am considering trying to make sauerkraut this year, but we’ll see.  Apparently it’s a bit smelly and might be better off made in a garage, which we don’t have.  

Braised Red Cabbage:

Half a medium red cabbage (5 cups sliced thinly and chopped)
1 cooking apple, peeled and chopped
One third cup water
One quarter cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of honey. 

Combine cabbage, apple, water and vinegar in large skillet.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very tender (50-60 minutes).  Season with salt, pepper and honey to taste.

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3 Responses

  1. By the sounds of your post it sounds like you are for people having “backyard flocks” or just a few of this animal or that animal etc.

    Just wondering if you have thought though issues that can arrise from this practice? If you only have a few animals do you take proper bio-security precautions to protect the health of you and your animals? Are you aware of what is needed to keep not only your few animals but the animals at all of the other farms in your area safe and healthy?

    Just something to think about. What do you think?

  2. Hi Sara – Are you saying that it is wrong to have a small number of animals? I know plenty of people who have a small flock of sheep, a few goats or some chickens. They don’t seem to have any problems. I would of course research carefully any animal I brought onto my property and learn all regulations, what is needed to keep them not only in optimum health, but happy as well. For example, I would never get a single animal that needed to live in a flock situation, or bring in animals that needed more space than I have for them to live well.

    I take health very, very seriously. I am a very serious student of Homeopathy and I feed all my current animals a carefully researched, species appropriate diet I prepare myself from pastured meats and organic products. I study them carefully on a daily basis and not only just look for signs of disease, but work at improving vitality in animals that many would consider already healthy. I look at mental and behavioural issues as being indications of underlying imbalances in the immune system and treat accordingly. As a result, my animals not only have not needed to be treated by a veterinarian in years, but every one of them has improved in areas that most animals degrade in with age. My once-crippled dog can run like the wind, my fear-aggressive dog is gentle and sweet with people, my allergic cat no longer has allergies. And so on. As for farming, I am studying Biodynamic principles and approaches.

    Please feel free to elaborate more on what you mean as I would like to know more.

    Hélène

  3. Sorry Helene I was refering to bio-security, traceability and protocols.

    For instance, if a small backyard producer does not have bio-security protocols in place and isn’t aware of the risks to lets say their chickens from avian influenza or some other such risk and they aren’t participating in provincial traceability programs to identify where they are located and what animals are present it is possible for an infection to occur and then these infected birds could pass on and infect birds around them on other farms and an emergency starts for the whole industry…

    Does this make more more sense? It is not that I am against having a few animals, I just need to know that producers that choose to do this are doing their part to keep the whole agri-food industry safe by being educated about and participating in protocols for each type of animal they raise and by being transparent and participating in emergency management programs no matter how big or small their operation is.

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