The Great Pig Smoking of 2014

I really should have taken more pictures at Christmas with the whole family home but what can top this one getting Elmo?!

Even though now we are in the second month of 2015, I had to go back and blog about it because I know you can’t wait to hear all about that time we (Jim) smoked a whole pig. Oh and there are pictures, including ones of a raw pig, lucky you!

You see it all started about six months ago now.  Jim and I had a serious conversation and then afterwards as we were sitting there, I said, “so, what are you thinking about?”  He responded, “I was thinking how I could build a big smoker at the farm.”

Me: “THAT is what you are thinking about?”

Not where my mind had wandered but further affirming that girls and guys are different, very different.

Months later we were down at the farm as he gradually built the smoker.
And then it was time to smoke a pig.  For the record, this is smoking a pig with indirect heat, it is not roasting a pig.  I am well-educated on the difference now.
After a Christmas celebration with the in-laws and the out-laws as Steven called us

and really cute kids

it was time to smoke the pig after cleaning and seasoning it…

The 3 guys got up at 3:30 in the morning to get the wood burning and put the less than 50 pound pig on the smoker (thankfully we did not name this pig)

Friends and family were there for the feast

By the afternoon, the meat was ready

We will call this picture “Many chiefs, few Indians”

Some were more excited about it than others
Some of us had to be encouraged to eat the meat and even if we now know exactly where bacon comes from, we found the meat to be really, really good.

It was tender, juicy, and made an excellent bbq sandwich.  It was the best smoked pig I’ve ever had.

The rain mostly held off and everyone had a great time at the first pig smoking!  We shall now remember Christmas 2014 as the Christmas of the Pig.

This day was so much work and so many people helping.  Dale built the smoke barrel for the wood.  Mr. David and Mrs. Patty picked up the pig on Christmas Eve as Jim was with my family.  David helped gather the supplies- gloves, sauces, purell, so much stuff and talked through all the plans with Jim.  Everyone helped with the food, especially Sally and Mrs. Patty.  Josh got up early and helped with the pig and was also there for a weekend smoker building session.  My parents, Daniel and Mandi, Chris and Mandy, Josh, and AH all made the trip to the farm for the occasion, as well as Jim’s whole family, and I’m so glad everyone was there.  I’m proud of Jim for going after what he wanted and making it happen.  He worked hard on this for months and it turned out so well!

The boys plotted how the next one would be bigger and better before they had even finished the first.  Until then, maybe we can take a break from talking about pigs!

 

Fall 2014 Wrap-up

Now that school is finished for the semester, I’ll give a little recap of November and Thanksgiving.

Life has been busy with school presentations and papers and heading to Athens for football games.  And traffic, lots of sitting on Atlanta highways thinking of other things I could be doing than getting cut off by another BMW.

We did Habitat with our Bible study one day.  This is for you, Daddy.
and this one is for me, what a cutie.
and this one is for all the gentlemen out there because my friends are cute!

I really should have done this post after the Auburn game back when we weren’t headed to the Belk Bowl and my spirits were higher.  Athens was so much fun for the Auburn game.  It was extremely cold, but with my 3 layers and a Georgia win, I was warm and happy!  Night games are the best.

After the Charleston Southern game, I met Kacina and Jason’s newest addition and she is the sweetest.  The baby let me snuggle with her, what an angel.  Look at all that hair, she gets it from her Mama!

Jim’s family was gracious to have me down for Thanksgiving.

We had lunch at the farm on Wednesday
and on Thursday I made the mistake of not wearing heels.
I am so thankful for them welcoming me in and being so kind.  They are the best people.  I’m also thankful for the best and moist dressing we had with lunch.

On Friday, before we went to the gun store (my first time, mind you), we saw the kale getting cut.
The greens will grow back and get cut one more time in about a month.

We checked on the ducks at the pond who do not know their poor fate.

The next day it was time for the last home game of the season against Tech.  It was a miserable game, not fun at all, but it was made better by a low country boil thanks to Bev and Sonny after the game.
That’s a wrap on the 2014 season for this trio but not until I drowned my sorrows at the WH.
Alison and I bought our tree in shorts weather
and it is suddenly Christmastime!

 

A1A Beachfront Avenue

We went down recently to visit Amanda, Seba, and CJ for the weekend.  It was a great time and so nice to see them!

Little miss has really grown and is quite active but still very serious.  She makes you work for a laugh, but as her favorite aunt, I’m happy to oblige!
After seeing the movie Chef, I’ve been thinking a lot about a Cuban sandwich, so we went to a Cuban restaurant for dinner Friday night.  Unfortunately, the Cuban sandwich wasn’t my favorite, but it was a good dinner, even if I gave lots of blank stares when the waitress kept speaking to me in Spanish.

Saturday morning the boys played golf while the girls hung around the house, skyped with Mama and Daddy, and maybe even colored Elmo in our coloring books.  We met the guys for lunch next to the marina where we all proceeded to order the same fish sandwich and walk around the area afterwards.
We watched the Georgia game (thank goodness another win) and went to bed early because I won’t name names, but someone likes to wake up by crying well before the sun is up.

On Sunday, I wanted to go to Miami Beach since I had never been.
I was surprised that it was actually really nice, not as flashy as I would have thought.  The odd part to it was the people.  They dress differently/lack lots of clothing; it is definitely not the south.  If you like to roller blade, you’ll fit right in.
Mostly, it was pretty.  The art deco isn’t my style, but it is cool.

If you ignore the speedos, the beach is really nice too.
It was so, so good to spend a weekend with family in a land where it is always summer.  Thanks for having us!

High Cotton

Now that I’m all caught up on SEC Wives, I can get back to blogging.  (and don’t you think Sloan and I should do a podcast discussing that show?  I mean, I love Katharyn Richt and Mama Mullen was a woman I would want to be friends with, but I was surprised by Les Miles’ wife)

Two weekends ago we headed down to the farm right when they were starting to pick cotton.  It was like going on a great field trip where I learned so much and now that I’m not in elementary school, I appreciate it.

About 10 days before each field is picked, something (a chemical I guess) is put on the cotton so the leaves fall off.  Hence why some fields are white as snow and others don’t look ready.
Jim and I climbed up into the tractor and rode inside while they picked cotton.  It was so cool.
It picks 6 rows at a time and quickly separates the cotton from the rest of the plant.
This tractor is air conditioned.  Amazing to think how far they have come from when it was picked by hand.  
A tractor comes by to pick up the full cotton picker and take it over to the pack and press.  (I have no idea what any of these things are called, but this sounds what it should be called.)

And then this thing goes through and the guy makes it go back and forth and up and down so that it compacts the cotton super tightly so when it is removed there is a module of cotton, standing on its own the size of a tractor-trailer.

I forgot to take a picture of a module, so here is one from the worldwide web.
cotton module

Then it gets taken to be cleaned and turned into our clothes.  Oh, how I love cotton.  The south’s version of snow.

Mrs. Patty taught me so much about picking cotton, and I had a grand old time watching the process.  Riding in the tractor was awesome.  With a Georgia win, it was a perfect Saturday!

grace

Grace, it’s a hard thing to wrap my head around sometimes and even harder to explain, but my Bible Study teacher explained it this way and I keep thinking it over in my head.

If your friend steals the necklace your grandmother passed down to you, you would be pretty upset.

If your friend keeps the necklace, you are out a family treasure.

If your friend gives back the necklace, then your friend is out a necklace.

And either way, the friendship is hurt.  Somebody is paying for it regardless.

But that’s the difference with God.  When we ask for forgiveness, He simply says it is good.  He doesn’t ask for anything in return.  Jesus paid for all of our sins while we’re not paying for anything, that’s grace.

more weekends in Athens

Georgia has a weird and fairly annoying schedule where we are either home for all of September and then away for all of October (like this year) or the reverse.  After heading to Athens for Troy, we’ve been back the past two weekends as well.

The Tennessee game was a nail biter but we won 35-32.  As Jim says, they sure don’t make it easy.  It was frustrating, but I’ll take the win.
and Gurley jumped over another player!
gurley Jim and I managed to get a picture where we are both smiling and my eyes are even open.

Friends and friends of friends joined us for Vanderbilt.  It was homecoming in the Classic City.
It was so cold on Saturday, the wind was super strong.  Don’t let that guy wearing shorts make you think he wasn’t freezing.  It was nice fall football weather but really cold.

This game was a much easier win, 44-17 and it was great showing everyone the tailgate and Athens, the best college town that ever was.  We all had a great time!!  (y’all come back now!)

I stayed with Jason and Kacina Saturday night because on Sunday we celebrated Kac and the new baby on the way!  It was great to spend time with them before they are sleepless parents.  I treasure these girls.

Some of the few other blondes in a room full of Greek women who also wrote the sweetest post to the baby
We can’t wait to meet their sweet baby girl!

I wrote this earlier and just now when I’m about to post this, they announced that Gurley is suspended indefinitely.  They really don’t make it easy on us.

I will have to get my joy from football in watching SEC Wives (I’ve only seen 5 minutes and I love it!) if things keep getting worse.

And the thunder rolls

Classes started back up again this week, and after a day of work and class, my candle is burning down now, but here goes a weekend update without any of the comedy of Tina Fey.

By the luck of the Ticketmaster draw, we had really good seats when Garth resurged his tour and came to Atlanta last Friday night!  I was pretty jealous when Sloan and Ryan went to Nashville to see him a few years ago (for their third or so date!), and I thought all hope of him in concert was lost, but that was not the case!

Austin & Julia and Tara & Sean went with us (this photo has no hope to fix the lighting) to the first concert of the Atlanta tour
Garth put on a show.  It was AMAZING and he is certainly a performer.  I don’t think I’ve seen anymore with more energy than him running around the entire stage.

My favorite was when he said that he, like us, pays to go to other artist’s concerts, and when the artist plays stuff from their new album, he wishes they would stick to their old stuff.  So the old stuff is what he played!  It’s what I grew up on.  We sang along to every song.

and then Trisha came out onto the stage and when she sang “American Girl,” I couldn’t stop smiling.  (and they showed clips from her cooking show, which I of course dvr)
Kelly Clarkson came out too because she had a new single out that day with Trisha.  Plus, it was Trisha’s 50th birthday so they had a cake in the shape of Georgia since she is after all from Monticello (pronounced not like Thomas Jefferson’s house but Mont-a-cell-o).

Seeing them together was perfect.  We had the best time!  All of their songs are classics, I was so happy!  People keep saying it’s the best concert they’ve been to, and I don’t know that that’s the case, but it is up there.

and then on Saturday we ventured to Athens for Georgia to play a really, really bad team as we beat them 66-0.
And came back to Atlanta to grab dinner and celebrate Austin’s birthday.  It was a great weekend and a nice start to fall!