Friday, April 5, 2013


A couple of days ago, CW and I did something we haven't done for a while: we went to his uncle's place to butcher some hogs and make sausage. Last time we did this (and the first time I had ever done it) was just a few months before we were married. It turned out to be the best investment ever -- the purchase of a pig, plus a solid day's work, and we had pork for the year!

The last time we did it we reserved a fair bit of the meat for cooking as-is -- i.e., we saved pork shoulders and hams, and made only the leftover scraps into Italian and Polish sausage. We ended up loving the sausage so much that we vowed to make almost everything, save the loins, tenderloins, and ribs, into sausage.

Thank you, lovely piggies!

We met our pigs in the morning. They had been raised as show pigs, but didn't quite make the cut, so the farmer sold them off. They were lovely animals that obviously had been very well cared for. The time they spent at Uncle D's place seemed quite enjoyable for them, as they had the run of a huge pen, and seemed to have a whole lot of fun playing with the dog. I am very thankful to them (especially the one on the right, who was our pig) for providing us with food for probably the next year or so.

After we got them butchered, we trimmed up the pieces of meat, kept a few pieces for cooking as-is, and ground up the rest for sausage. I made a batch of Italian sausage, as well as two different Kielbasa recipes. We left the Italian sausage fresh, but smoked the two batches of Polish sausage. We put the sausages into the smoker at about 7:30 p.m., waited for the temperature to reach a certain point, then checked the smoker every hour until the internal temperature of the sausage reached the "golden point." That took us until 2:30 in the morning. We got started at 8:00 a.m., and a mere 17.5 hours later we ended up with about 65 pounds of sausage, 25 lbs of loins (pork chops!), two tenderloins, and two racks of ribs.

Piles of sausage, all smoked and ready for packaging.
We got home the next day and had to start packing up all our meat. We now have a freezer full of packets of pork!

Our chest freezer, half way full, and waiting for the rest that was freezing in the upright chest freezer.
We have company staying with us for the weekend, so we decided it would be an appropriate occasion for grilling up a rack of ribs.

Ribs, all ready to steam.
We got instructions, from one of CW's co-workers who used to be a chef, for cooking up a batch of ribs. We used a method that involved steaming them in the oven on a broiler rack, then finishing them on the grill.

All rubbed and ready to grill.
We decided to try a Memphis-style dry rub on these. I whipped up a batch that had brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper. It smelled fantastic and tasted even better!

Our "let's make some ribs" idea quickly turned into a "let's make a Southern feast" scheme. So, we cooked up some turnip greens and baked beans, along with baked potatoes and a salad. It was AMAZING, if I may say so myself! Everyone at the table was very quiet through the whole dinner, and ended up covered in barbecue (I had dry rub on my elbows at the end of it all). I took that as a good sign!

A feast!
I have no idea how my skinny husband can eat like this and stay so skinny. For me, it's a very good thing that this is a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of meal! It was incredible, though, and I look forward to trying the next selection from the pork smorgasbord!

CW's plate. That's a lotta ribs!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Wrasslin' with MS Word

Oh, what a morning that has been. Thanks to a simple idea and the good ol' internet, I learned something new in MS Word today. I have been polishing up my "Materials" chapter in preparation for submission, and I decided I wanted to include a nice graphical display of my Dust Cave chipped stone typological scheme. I have never done anything before that I felt required the use of the Smart Art Graphics function, but today I had the chance to learn it. I found a hierarchical scheme that worked beautifully for what I wanted. My only criticism is that there does not seem to be a way to get rid of the fancy little shadows behind the text boxes. I picked the most toned-down variation I could find, so that the "doodads" didn't overwhelm the information. Just a word to the wise, software developers: sometimes all we consumers want is SIMPLICITY!

I never feel like I am the most computer-savvy person on the planet (I can handle Office and all its applications, some statistical software packages, photo editing software, and I am well-versed in the use of the ol' "interweb"), so I was quite proud of myself that this turned out so nicely...although I can only claim so much credit. I think it looks quite professional -- much better than having to cobble something together with the "draw line" function like I used to do! So here it is, for your viewing (and archaeological education) pleasure:

Dust Cave Chipped Stone Typology

(I have no idea if the resolution is good enough in this little picture to actually be able to see what's printed in those boxes, but I still think it looks pretty! Well, just checked it out and, NOPE, can't see any of those words. Ah well, you get the idea. If you're desperate to know how I divided up the collection, you'll just have to read my tome when I'm finished with it. Bet you can't wait -- haha!)

This scheme is adapted from Andrefsky (2005), Odell (2003), and Driskell et al.'s (in press) typology for the Townsend Archaeological Project.

Andrefsky, William Jr. (2005) Lithics: Macroscopic Approaches to Analysis (Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Odell, George H. (2003) Lithic Analysis (Manuals in Archaeological Method, Theory and Technique). Springer, New York.