Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sowers' Ministry in a Moment

Making up the gift boxes for the pastors is taking up a huge amount of my time right now. This is, of course, on top of all of the regular chores . . . and so blogging has fallen by the wayside. I'm going to try to do better, but my posts will likely be short and to-the-point for another few weeks.

Right now, Rachel is working on updating our communications with our supporters. By the way, you're a supporter if you do any of the following: intentionally pay attention to what's going on down here, pray for us, tell others about our ministry, and donate money or things to keep the ministry going! We've been doing the blog, of course, and also sending out a very simple newsletter - no pictures, nothing hi-tech - and we felt the need to change things up a bit.

So, every so often, Rachel is going to put together a short email . . . we're calling it "Ministry in a Moment" . . . with a few photos and a short update on what is happening in one aspect of our ministry. Here's a preview picture of the current, under-construction, email:

There's more info at the bottom of the actual email . . . all of the "how to donate" stuff. I just didn't show a picture of it. If you'd like to receive the "Ministry in a Moment" emails, and you aren't currently on our mailing list, please send me a message in the comments with your email address, and I'll add you to the list. I won't publish your comment (so your email address won't be available online to the world), I'll just read it, add you to the list, and erase the comment. If you prefer, you can send me the info in an email: trish at

I look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sausage has been canned!

The arrival of our container shipment also meant the delivery of my long-awaited electric meat grinder! We've been saving fatty, difficult-to-use pieces of meat from the three hog butcherings in our freezer, and finally I was able to grind all of that up and make sausage!

Allen and I spent a large chunk of Wednesday learning to use the grinder and double grinding all of the pork and fat - we ended up with about 30 pounds worth!

On Thursday Allen had to drive to San Pedro Sula, but before he left in the morning he helped to create the recipe for our sausage. He wanted lots of flavor, and wouldn't have minded a large amount of peppery heat, but I'm not able to eat foods that are very hot, so he worked to add lots of non-pepper spices, coming up with a sausage that had lots of flavor but only a small amount of heat. Everyone agrees that it's tasty!

Once the recipe had been created, tested, and approved, I started making and canning sausage. I was ambitious at first, making sausage patties and canning those, but that process was overly time-consuming on a day when we also had lots of other work to do, so eventually I fell back to making up most of the sausage as "crumbles." Resembling browned ground beef, this meat will be useful mixed in with eggs for breakfast, in sauces or on top of pizza. I canned 2 quarts of sausage patties, 5 quarts and 20 pints of sausage crumbles.

Would you like Allen's sausage recipe? It's rather crazy with the long list of ingredients, but we can't argue with the results!

2 pounds ground pork (ours was quite fatty, but I'm sure leaner pork would work, too)
4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp basil
2 tsp Complete Seasoning
1 tsp Creole seasoning blend
1 tsp Greek seasoning blend

I now have about half of our chest freezer emptied out! I should be ready for the butchering of the bull long before the bull is ready - Russell had to give the bull an injection of medication to remove an infestation of bot fly larvae this week, and realized after the injection had been given that it was recommended that the animal not be butchered and eaten for at least a month after the medicine is administered. This is hard for us, as it is dry season, and there is very little food available for the cattle just now. The cows will wander our entire property and can find enough to eat, but if the bull isn't tied up or contained in a much better enclosure than the fencing we have around the perimeter of the property he will simply wander away. Since the neighbors don't appreciate our bull wandering loose, we're having to contain him in a very small area and purchase food for him. On the upside, I've read that grass-fed beef is tastier when the animal has been "finished" with a diet of corn . . . so we shall see . . .

Now that the majority of the pork processing from the freezer has been accomplished, we can turn our time and attention back to putting together Christmas gifts from the donations . . . oh, and schooling the kids, planning a wedding, ministry, construction of our new home, and all of the crazy stuff of everyday life! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Look at THAT!

Table full of pork!

(Again, sorry for the blurry picture - our camera doesn't take good indoor shots, plus the settings were wrong when this photo was taken.)

That's some of the meat from our recent butchering, about to be cut up and processed for storage in the freezer. We butchered the pig on the Saturday before Christmas.

Now, we're crazy busy canning most of that meat, and making jerky, and eating more meat than we'd normally eat in weeks and weeks . . . so that we can empty out the freezer for the butchering of the cow. So far, we've canned chunks of pork, pulled pork barbeque, and ham chunks. We've also made pork jerky, had a big pork ribs feast, and we're gradually eating up bacon - BLT's for lunch today! We're not trying to use up all the bacon, as it's too good to rush through and doesn't take up all that much freezer space, and we're saving one chunk of meat to make a ham for Easter dinner. Other than those items, we're trying to empty out the freezer as much as possible. Later this week I'll be grinding pork to make sausage, which hopefully will also be canned (still doing the research on this one).

When we butcher the cow, in addition to needing lots of freezer space, we'll need to have numerous coolers with ice at our disposal so that we can keep the meat fresh while I gradually can enough beef to have the situation under control.

It's a LOT of work, but the results are remarkably yummy!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Workin' it!

Ah, there's Rachel, opening boxes and sorting donations into categories . . . and looking so stylish doing so. We have a recurring family joke - we tend to gradually accessorize ourselves as we organize the donated clothing and other items. Dealing with the annual shipment is a big job (as you can see by the pile in the picture, which is only a tiny portion of the whole shipment), and the silliness helps to keep the work fun. So far today Rachel has donned a multi-strand pearl bracelet, a delicate burgundy scarf, and a stunning straw hat inspired by the headgear of the old west but adorned with a striking artificial carnation. She's making you all jealous, I know. LOL

I wonder what tomorrow will bring . . . . .

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Buried in Cardboard Boxes!

It's 2013, and we're starting the year off with a house full of boxes! Hallelujah, the annual container shipment has arrived and has been offloaded into our house/bodega. We're down to pathways through the house, until we've finished organizing and compacting everything so that we have space to start the work of creating Christmas gifts for the pastors with whom we work and their families.

It's fun work, but too much of it . . . by the time we're done with the last gift, we're ready to be done!

We received a gigantic donation of Spanish Christian books which we'll be using as part of the gifts we distribute this year. We have so many books that we are actually giving each pastor enough to share with his congregation! Some are children's books, most are for adult readers, and I'm certain the recipients will be thrilled to receive them. We also received (and also purchased with donated funds) enough soccer balls to include one in every gift. The soccer balls will be hugely appreciated, I promise you! Additionally, lots of practical items will be included in the gifts, like toiletries, kitchen items, wallets, purses, hats (a necessity in the tropics), etc.

I'll try to take some pictures of the way the house looks right now, once I can dig through the piles to get to the camera, lol!