Fat Rants, Dustbaths, and Pie Cherries

I’ve been promising my chickens a proper dustbath forever. This week, I finally built one.


It’s large enough for about 4-5 hens to bathe together, and is covered for rain protection. I filled it with sand, and some wood ash. They already love it, and it was so easy and simple to build that I might make another one in a different part of their run.

The chickens also got their own watermelon yesterday. Usually, they get the leftovers, but I splurged and bought them an entire watermelon all for themselves. It seems like you couldn’t find seeded watermelons in the stores anymore, which is a great pity, since seedless watermelons just aren’t nearly so good tasting. I will never understand why the public is willing to sacrifice flavor just for the small inconvenience of picking out a few seeds! I was thrilled to discover my local Haggen had seeded ones this year. And the chickens think watermelon seeds are the best part of the whole affair.

I went to my local butcher as well this week and picked up about 11 pounds of raw beef fat, called suet. Yes, this is the same suet in those bird feeders, but humans really need to reclaim suet from the birds! It’s a tremendously healthy fat, enhancing the flavor of whatever it’s added to. I’ve been cooking with tallow for years now, which is cooked (rendered) suet, but I’ve never used suet itself. I’m excited to give it a try! Also, since the medical establishment has falsely convinced the public that animals fats are the enemy (it’s actually vegetable and trans fats that are the evil) and that eating fats cause people to become fat (it’s actually fat-free and low-fat foods and sugar that cause human fat) the butcher just gives the suet and other fats away for free!

So I also got some pig backfat to render down into lard. I wanted the internal kidney fat, called leaf lard, because that is the best fat, but the butcher had already tossed it. Rendering fat is simple.


You just cut into small pieces (I use scissors) and then put it in your crockpot with 1/4 cup water on high.


After an hour or so, when it’s started to melt down into a liquid, turn it down to low and let it cook overnight. In the morning, strain the liquid fat through cheesecloth, and pour into glass jars. As it cools, it turns thick and white, and then you can scoop it out by the spoonful and use for cooking, pastry dough, etc. The finer quality leaf lard is entirely scentless. The kind I made does have a slight bacon/pork smell, but that is fantastic for cooking with, as the added flavor in most foods is a big bonus.


You really need to read this article. It’s humorous, and maybe – maybe – it will help you understand why animal fats are so necessary in our diet. It truly is one of the greatest food/health tragedies of the world that the American Medical Association went so far off the rails in promoting vegetable fats over animals ones. They are starting to recognize their mistake, but they have the public so brainwashed at this point that it’s going to take decades more for the general public to come around.  Grrrrr. Can you tell I’m seriously angry about this?

Okay, okay, let’s end this blog with something more cheerful! Sweet peas, squash, and the first tart pie cherries ever from my garden! Yes! Those little cherry trees I planted two years ago gave me enough cherries to make a pie this week. So good.


5 responses to “Fat Rants, Dustbaths, and Pie Cherries

  1. I remember as a child, the huge sweet watermelons we would get. I think the variety is called Charleston Gray. My mom would cut them open and immediately cut out the “heart”. She said it was the sweetest part. We would eat outside and spit out the seeds. Impossible to find them in stores, you have to look on the highway, for a produce stand. Mom also would tell a story about going into the neighbors patch, with her cousin, they would pick up a melon, drop it on the ground to break it open, and eat with their hands. LOL

    • I had an aunt who always got in trouble at family gatherings because she would “steal” the heart and eat it before anyone else got to it! It really is the best part.

  2. Tart cherries are one of the few fruits that I have never grown. I have seen only a few trees. Everyone from the Santa Clara Valley says the same thing. We seriously do not remember them. Even those from Sunnyvale, which was famous for sweet cherry orchards,do not remember the tart cherries. Some were used as pollinators for the ‘Bing’ sweet cherries, so we know they were out there somewhere. ”Almaden Duke’ is, as the name implies, from Almaden, so might become my first tart cherry.

    • Yes…sweet cherries are common here, but no one sells the tart ones. I had to grow my own to taste them!

      • Kids of the the Santa Clara Valley grew up with sweet cherry pie, just because it was the only option for cherry pie. It was bland, but we did not know any better.

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