Home Butchery

I love to butcher. I know for many it’s weird, maybe even macabre. This is why I like it.

Butcher Abby

Abby and a pig head.

1. It’s authentic. I’m an omnivore. I have killed and butchered my own animals I bottle-fed and loved because I am a farmer and it was their purpose. When I eat meat I wholly know I am being sustained by an individual creature’s life. Because of this understanding, I deeply honor my meat and the animals who gave it. I try to only eat animals I know what their lives were like, ideally I will butcher them myself.

2. It’s interesting, I enjoy the anatomy, and how bodies come together. Seam butchery, cleaning silver skin, and slicing the skin from pork belly is meditative.

3. When I am able to butcher my own meat there is no waste. Nothing about the animal’s death was in vain.

4. I get the cuts I want the way I want them.

5. I know it’s fresh.

Last week I butchered a pig head. With the package comes the feet and organs, for 15$.

Here’s what I did with it.

pork jowls

Cheek Bacon.

First I removed the jowls and made a quick guanciale style bacon:

I crushed peppercorns, coriander, allspice, and garlic into a paste in my mortar and pestle. I rubbed that on the cheeks and then slathered them in kosher salt.

Then I weighted(one chafing on top of another with a weight on top) them for two days in the refrigerator, turning them once.

roasted jowls with carrtos and radishes

Quick Jowl bacon with roasted vegetables

Jowl Bacon with Roasted Vetables

Cheek bacon, with roasted veggies. Soooo good. Yes, I ate all the fat.

I rinsed and dried the jowl, and rubbed some wild honey on it before roasting it with organic carrots and radishes, a 270 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.

I also cut this lovely neck roast for a braise.

pork neck roast

pork neck roast

I did not make pozole. I know it’s sacrilege. But, there’s no pozole corn here, and it make so much…I’d have to have a party. Maybe next time.

I boiled the rest of the head and removed the tastier bits for various future recipes. I also have 20 quarts for collagen-rich stock, and many nice hunks of less human palatable flesh to enhance my dog’s diet.

Estos para mi equipo, los extraño chico/as xoxoxo


What I Did This Weekend


Nicaragua’s National Bird: The Fabulous Guardabarrano

I have been trying to get a good image of a Guardabarranco for the last several weeks. I see them frequently when I walk my dogs. This is not what I had in mind.

This gorgeous being crashed into one of my windows. I spent 24 hours waiting for him to jump up and fly away.  But, he didn’t. I dripped water in his beak. I tried to interest him in some papaya. I tried to catch a moth for him, Mot-Mots catch their food mid-air. I played binaural beats for healing feathered friends, my mom gave him reiki. Still, over 12 hours later, he couldn’t stand on his own.

I cried and prepared my heart to put him down. How fragile we become in the face of beauty and helplessness. I decided to wait overnight.

But Sunday morning he was too alive, kind of feisty really, to make that final choice. It’s all-consuming to care for a broken animal and I knew I couldn’t do it, all my focus is on starting my new business.

I called my lovely neighbor who is now housemates with a baby squirrel she rehabilitated. I sent a photo and received a very affirmative yes.

A friend had just said to her, Now all you need is a bird, you should get a parrot. She replied no, but I would love to have a Guardabarraca. That’s not possible though. Less than 24 hours later, I put my charge in her hands.

It’s a difficult task, he may die, she may have to choose his death for him as mercy. I believe if he can be saved she will do it. Thank you Vecina, for always being there for me, it’s a priceless gift to have a good neighbor.

My Nieghbor and her Squirrel

My Neighbor and her squirrel 🐿️

Recently I had to upgrade to a paid subscription on WordPress to continue to upload media. It cost 33$, I didn’t think much of it until I realized it’s a monthly charge! Not much unless you’re not gainfully employed and are starting your own business. So, I have added a Buy Me a Coffee option to this blog.  If you’d like to help me keep uploading unique images, you resonate with something I share, try out a recipe or take a book recommendation you enjoy, feel free to buy me a coffee!

There’s a membership option as well if you’d like to be an ongoing patron. No exclusive content yet, but there will be…

As, always, I appreciate every click, like, share, and follow. Coffee or no.

Have you ever tried to save a wild creature in need? Is it a fond memory? I would love to hear your story.



The Road from Farm to Table

Self Sustainable. Organic. Farm to Table. Appealing words— admirable concepts. But  we seldom consider what it entails to bring such belief systems to fruition; how we navigate the road from farm…to table.

Farmer Chris and Sous Chef Adam on Machete Duty

Farmer Chris and Sous Chef Adam on Machete Duty

This week at Rancho Santana’s chicken facility our farm and kitchen staff walked that path.

Felipe and Omar Plucking

Felipe and Omar Plucking

Melky and Justin Butchering

Melky and Justin Butchering

Hen to plate.

Sautéed Chicken Liver with Radish, Fennel Frond Salad

Sautéed Chicken Liver with Radish, Fennel Frond Salad

The next generation.

The next geration

Walk this Way

Daily walks are essential to me, so today I set out to chart and time my route to work and find a good daily stroll.

What my walk to work looks like. What my walk to work looks like.

About twenty minutes later…

I arrive at the club house. I arrive at the club house.

Twenty minutes is perfect to clear my head before work, but for health and sanity at least an hour is required.

After an hour on the trails... After an hour on the trails…
Playa Escondido Playa Escondido
Kind of like home, but with a beach! Kind of like home, but with a beach!
The end of the trail. The end of the trail.

After a couple of hours on Rancho Santana’s clean but thankfully not overly groomed hiking trails, I will rest well and be ready for my first day at El Finca y El Mar.

What do you do the day before you start a new job?