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,,,, two steps back. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. No good deed goes unpunished. Friday was a frontal blast of these clichés, and more. But if it wasn’t for an early morning visit from my friend Kathleen, it could have been a lot worse.

It’s always a day-brightener when I see a friendly face at my back door just an hour or so after sunrise. Kathleen dropped by to bring me some rosemary that she grew, as well as a tote bag with a few peaches in it. We visited for a bit, and then she had to go, as did we. The Country Boy and I were headed into Shreveport to help my mom with a list of chores she needed done. As I walked Kathleen to her car, I noticed a puddle of water that had formed on the carport. On further examination, I realized that it was coming from the freezer. I thought maybe the door had come open, so I checked the contents to find most of it was still frozen. There was a home-raised chicken that was still cold, but not frozen, so I handed it to Kathleen to take home and cook. Some of the sausage we had put in there Thursday evening (from the pig Randy and Johnny had just finished processing), wasn’t frozen, but it was still very cold. Had Kathleen not been there, I probably would not have gone near the carport that morning, as Randy’s truck was parked in the other direction. I closed the door back, and we headed on into Shreveport, thinking everything would be fine.

Later that afternoon we returned and checked the freezer. Well, it wasn’t the door after all. It seems that the compressor went to motor heaven, and unfortunately didn’t leave a will. Instead, it left some thawed, but still cold meat. Oh, joy. Since we aren’t ones to waste much, we kicked into gear. Being a Friday, and no way to get a repairman and new compressor out before we lost everything, we made a mad dash up to Castor and bought a new freezer. Returning home, we unpackaged it, put the handle on and plugged it in. We then jostled the old freezer into position, so when the new one reached the proper temperature we could sort through everything.

About an hour later, we began unpacking. We were fortunate. It was only the things in the front that completely thawed, and most of that was the sausage from the pig (that was never frozen in the first place), several gallons of cubed deer meat that was destined for sausage, ten pounds of hamburger, one home-raised meat bird and a store-bought chicken and turkey. Because that freezer was packed so full, everything else had remained frozen. We pulled the thawed items out and hauled them to the kitchen to cook, and put everything else in the new freezer.

We worked the rest of the day (literally) cooking and prepping the thawed items. I made stock with the chicken and browned the hamburger to use for later meals. The poor Country Boy. At one o’clock in the morning, we were hanging the last of the sausage in the smoke house. He was up all night, checking on the sausage. As we were pulling it the next morning around 8 a.m., he commented that, while he was up, he calculated that he had processed 300 lbs. of sausage that week. The deer sausage equaled 65 pounds of it, with the rest attributed to the hog he and Johnny processed. That, my friends, is a lot of sausage!

It wasn’t until Saturday night that we were able to get any sleep. A trip to Toledo Bend to celebrate Independence Day with my sister prevented us from a great afternoon nap. Today, we are getting the sausage bagged up, and canning those wonderful peaches. What could have turned into a total disaster ended up reminding us of our determination and tenacity to live as self-reliant as possible. We have learned to accept the bad with alacrity and the good with humble celebration. We know how to think fast and run faster. We have learned to survive on little sleep and to enjoy the calm times as gifts from Heaven. And most importantly, we have learned to do a lot of research on any given subject. Which is what I am about to do. And here’s the first step…

Anybody got some good recipes for sausage? I am SO going to need them!