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!

 

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.

When Doves Fly

Did you know that opening day of dove season was 2 Saturdays ago?  Well I did, as hunting dates are now kept on my calendar.

We’ve spent the past two weekends down at the farm so the boys can go hunting.  It worked out nicely with dove opening day falling on Georgia’s bye weekend and the next weekend playing away at South Carolina (and we did not play so well, but I won’t go into that).

{peanut field}

While I thought most hunting takes place in the morning, dove hunting is in the afternoon when the doves come to the sunflower field to feed.  While the boys are out sweating and shooting in the central Georgia heat, we girls drove around the golf cart.  We are fans of waiting at the house until the temperature cools off.
Jim sits on this stool that swivels and it has two layers inside to hold ammo, water, and then doves.
I was ok with him killing doves until someone told me that they mate for life…

The first weekend, I couldn’t touch a dove, but by the second weekend, I was helping him pick them up.  But I still get close to gagging when he cleans them.
We picked peanuts from the farm in the morning and boiled them, a Georgia treat I love.
The next weekend Josh joined us
and sweet Mrs. Patty acted as the cart girl taking cold water to all the hunters.  It’s a country club out there y’all.
Ladies, this man is not available
While some girls prefer fancy dinners, I love that my guy takes me out to the dove field with him.

and then on the day we’ve been dating a year, he sends me flowers!
He sure is sweet
and because I know y’all want to know-
Outfit Details

Shirt and hat: a closet at the farm
Shorts: Target, circa 2011

and then some of August

After getting to see my parents off, Maggie (my sorority sister who is also a twin) and Hikel were married that weekend with the reception at the Atlanta History Center.  Isn’t she gorgeous??

It was a gorgeous wedding and the couple is so happy.  They met while Maggie was in dental school (she’s now on her way to be an orthodontist) and Hikel in med school at UAB.  While Maggie is a Georgia girl, Hikel’s family lives in Alabama, but they are from Lebanon and my word do the Lebanese know how to dance.  There were few people in their seats during the Lebanese dance, it was so fun, and I’ve never seen men so into dancing, I loved it.  Hikel was carried around!

This wedding was so fun and good to catch up with Katie and Joey!  Like normal, Joey was a crowd favorite while the rest of us rocked the dance floor.
Sigma Kappa girls


The next weekend was rafting with a group of 30 from church.  We went up to the Nantahala River in Bryson City, NC.  I thought wearing a tank top and shorts was fitting for the middle of August, but it turns out that the river water is used for the nearby power plant, so the water is ice cold, about 40 degrees.

We managed to make a record of 10 spins going through one rapid.  I may have had some sore arms the next day.
Our guide doing a nice air guitar.  Summer, I have loved you.

Beach Week 2014

Well life has been busy.  Just when I think I don’t want summer to end because it has been such a good summer, the humidity comes out in full force, and I’m getting ready for fall, except fall weather won’t hit us for a few more months.

Back at the end of July (sorry it’s been so long!), we went with Jim’s family to Ponte Vedra (so kind of them to have me!).

We had perfect beach weather.
With 4 kids and 7 adults, there wasn’t a dull moment.  And probably not a quiet moment either, but with my 3 siblings and many cousins, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
The boys went fishing on the sea kayak.
One afternoon a few of us went in-shore fishing and each caught a redfish.  That was a blast!
We read on the beach, floated around in the water, did a puzzle, put on so much sunscreen that we were probably sweating sunscreen, made peach ice cream, cooked, and ate and ate and ate.  It was just what I needed, a relaxing and fun vacation.  The kids are all so sweet (and one is taller than me), and his family is just good people, so loving and welcoming, for which I am so thankful.  And they are good cooks, which works out because I sure do like to eat.

It was a great time with my guy (even if he was anti shaving that week).