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I remember once being asked what homesteaders might do during the winter. I hesitate to even call these couple of months of cold fronts by that moniker lest my northern friends think I’m confused. But we are experiencing our version of winter here on the homestead and, like all the seasons, it has its joys and struggles.

As far as what we’re doing… well, we’re not growing much, though there are a few fun green surprises around here that I may share here soon. There are no new animals or plantings or harvesting going on. There’s also very little sunlight for solar power and, as you can see in the photo above, wood stoves make an ironic laptop warmer. So we work on computers as the light and batteries allow.

What there is is plenty of firewood burning, stock pots bubbling, lard rendering, and loads and loads of baking projects. There is time for a little extra reading and sleeping and school with the little ones. There is more time spent inside and so employment of the floor-scrubbing variety is helpful in burning off energy. These days are short in light and long in the practice of patience for all of us.

Despite the six of us in these 400 square feet, or maybe because of it, this is such a cozy, favorite time of year for me. Don’t worry, though, seed catalogs are being circled, soil and fences being worked (mostly by little hands), and those longs days of summer will come soon enough.

For now, though, I’ll take winter.


I’d like to interrupt the building and construction discussion for some important, some might say vital, organ talk.

It’s been a long time since I mentioned liver in this space. But we’ve eaten liver three times over the past week-and-a-half and everyone but the toddler is over the moon about it. I know it’s difficult to believe, for many reasons, but that wasn’t sarcasm. We have all loved our liver lunches.

It all started when the Bunkers brought us over a warm liver, fresh from the steer. I’ve eaten frozen chicken liver, frozen grass-fed beef liver, and even store-bought conventional liver, but never liver delivered still warm from the cow. And I’m pretty sure that made all the difference.


Holding that liver was like holding a newborn baby so we’re only about halfway through the thing. We’ve eaten it fried with bacon, on top of rice, and over potatoes. I just hack off a hunk, throw it back into the solar freezer (or, currently, outside), and go at it with the kitchen shears. (If you don’t have kitchen shears, you don’t know what you’re missing. I’ve used these guys nearly every day for the past 9.5 years, since our wedding, and they are still kicking.)

Anyways, fried bacon and plenty of bacon grease. Not enough bacon grease? I’ve got a pot of lard rendering so throw in a scoop. Not enough lard? A blob of coconut oil will do. No coconut oil? You can’t go wrong with a knob of butter. What I’m trying to say here is DON’T SKIMP ON THE FAT.

Also, flavor. Onions, garlic, tomatoes, herbs, chilies, cumin. Yes! We’re now into liver taco territory and good golly I can’t imagine a better way to eat anything than stuffed in a tortilla and topped with hot sauce.

You think I’m kidding? Salsa – the spice and tang – are a game-changer when it comes to liver. Again, don’t be shy.


And, if all else fails, throw some taters in the mix. Annabelle didn’t really dig the texture of liver (toddlers grow out of it, in my experience) but she tucked into those taters like they were going out of style.

That, friends, is how you tank ‘em up on iron, B vitamins, vitamin A, and all sorts of other goodness that can’t really be quantified by people with calculators.


Stop drooling.

For more, check out my past (alarmingly large amount of) liver drivel: