Climate Change Sausage

Last month there was a major historical moment that passed in the blink of an eye. I doubt most of you know it, but this year our global average temperature exceeded 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial era average temperature.
(And if you’d like to ignore this fact, please feel free to be an ostrich and just scroll down to sausages. Truly, sometimes we just need some tasty food, not a morose look at our reality.)

Most people don’t even flinch at a two degree difference because it’s such a tiny number to us. For those of us in America its about a 3.6F difference. What harm could a few tiny degrees of temperature do? Well, as it turns out, a lot since it’s not like we’re going from a high of 90F to 93.6F in the summer. That number (2C or 3.6F) is the global SURFACE temperature, but what typically controls the weather is ocean and atmospheric temperatures (such as  El Nino) where a change of 3.6F surface temperature can translate into changing the temperature of whole oceans, even well under the surface. That comes back up to the surface later, and with so much more warm water, absorbing even more of the sun’s energy it has an exponential effect on our surface temperatures in hot areas, translating to an actual change far greater than that of 3.6F. In truth, the gap between where we are now and a global average climate change is exponential. For example, an increase of 9F is not going to translate into Nebraska going from an average high of 88 to an average high of 97… It is going to take Nebraska from an average high of 88 to an average high of 130F or higher.
Imagine for a moment the north pole. This past December the temperature at the NORTH POLE reached nearly 0C. That seems like a low number, but that is 32*F. The point at which water freezes. Now do you know what’s under the ice at the north pole? Ocean. Ocean that absorbs heat from the sun and air, rather than reflect light and cool air the way ice does. You know what else is under the ice (or more specifically IN it)? Methane, which absorbs more heat from the sun than other air particles. So you know what happens if that ice starts to melt? A chain reaction, where the ice melting causes MORE heat to become trapped on earth, which makes more ice melt, which makes more heat become trapped…

Well, I’ll let this guy explain the very scary reality of it to you;

This is an older video, four years in fact. Average global temperatures will probably reach +1.5*C in the next decade and we’re close to that now. Now what this guy doesn’t mention is the SOCIAL impacts of these problems. And if you think they won’t happen you’re kidding yourself; we’re already seeing them.

In July last year, an area of Iran hit 163*F. What!? I mean, we can understand temperatures above 110*, where you don’t go outside because it’s too hot, where elderly and children may die without shelter, water, etc. Those types of numbers typically appear in deserts, places like Death Valley in CA may even hit up to 130*F, which we may be able to manage with good buildings and swamp coolers. But this is higher still. Ten minutes outside at 140*F is enough to kill a healthy human. But this is even higher than THAT. This is a temperature that will literally kill you, whether you have shade, shelter, water, or anything. It’s literally too hot to exist. You will literally be cooked to a delicious medium-well pot roast. And that is the reality RIGHT NOW in the middle east.

And that incredibly shocking number, that so many people claim is just people being silly liberal naysayers but is actually well documented science, is a symptom of a much larger problem which is the drought in the middle east. The lack of water in the middle east has become a huge problem and if you think that the whole “not having food thing” has nothing to do with people getting angry, revolting, and killing each other, one needs only look back on every war ever where people started starving and revolting and killing each other. Just imagine adding to that the concept that both sides think THEIR God is punishing them for allowing the other side to live or some other religious nonsense and the fact that the US and other countries have been exploiting the middle east for petty power struggles, money, oil and world dominance for 100 years and it becomes a no brainer that people there are violent, angry, aggressive, extremists who just wanna destroy the whole world and take everything they’ve been denied for decades for themselves. Is it right? No, but it is definitely real.

And if you think “Well they’ve always had their silly religious wars and they have always been a desert. That won’t ACTUALLY reach America.”, think again. We feel the effects of those conditions every day through recessions from wars, terrorist attacks, TSA searches and oil prices as it is. Those effects spread, they have a butterfly effect. The recession put my dad out of work, no money meant my mother wouldn’t go see a doctor as she got sick, it means cancer had a chance to run amok in her body for years, and it means that on March 15th I will be honoring the day she DIED because some guys I never met dozens of years ago decided America needed more money and oil and set the precedence for our foreign policy in the middle east and our environmental policy of “ignore everything”.

And if the effects of foreign bodies reaching into the US and having chain reaction events aren’t enough or are too vague, remember that people are killed and threatened for not following a particular religious belief in the US rather frequently as it is. One only needs to look at our current presidential election to witness divides between frustrated people in a poor economy. And the droughts and aberrant weather patterns? They’re here, they have been here  (for quite some time), and they will get much, much worse in the future. We are HOMESTEADERS. What happens when we get so little rain that we can’t grow our plants and animals any more? What will YOU do when your farm dries up to a crisp or is flooded under a foot of water for nine months of the year from these conditions? What will you do when people get fed up with being shot at for being different than “the norm” and don’t even have food and shelter and they decide to start picking up guns of their own? What will you do when it’s YOUR family being threatened by that instability?

The future is scary. It’s terrifying. I never thought I’d see the day when the conspiracy theories that my parents used to listen to on college radio would seem not so far fetched after all.

So what am I doing about it? Well, I’m trying to found an egalitarian Ecovillage here in Northeast Ohio, a project I feel like Wiki does a fair job of explaining. We’ll live sustainably, we’ll form communal supportive bonds, we’ll rely on each other, and try to live well and respect other people without the discriminatory, violent, hateful, exploitation that permeates our current societal structure… Care to join us? (No, seriously, if you’re interested, please let me know!)

But beyond that, global change is out of my hands. I can change myself, but after that it’s not really up to me. It’s up to all of YOU folks out there. Like the TEDx video says; if you see this, it’s now your mission to make the impossible possible. Because without it we’re all screwed.

And in the meantime… I will show you some delicious sausages.

I had some friends over recently to help me prepare some rabbit sausages that, I must say, came out rather deliciously. I did my digging and my research and here’s how we did it. Your results may vary.

We started by testing out the meat grinder that I received for Christmas two years ago. Because of how tumultuous the following two years were, I never got around to using it so this was the first time it had been out of the box. It works very well, so I will endorse it but it does seem to have some clogging issues during stuffing. Not sure if that would be better or worse on a different model. The most frustrating thing about this grinder was the very short cord on it. I sure hope you’re prepared to use this large contraption on a small counter right next to an outlet and not on a tabletop! Or you could, you know, buy an extension cord.

Next, we deboned and cut the rabbit meat into chunks. the best time to do this is when the rabbit is still partially frozen but you can cut through it. Unfortunately this is VERY cold on our wee little fingers and difficult to deal with it. But we persevered and left a carnage of bones in our wake.Sausage2 - Copy

This was the hardest part. We also cut up some pork belly into it. Rabbit meat has almost no fat and so it makes a terrible sausage on it’s own. It really needs fat from another source so that it doesn’t turn into rubber when it is fried. Most people say to use half pork-half rabbit like one does with deer meat. Out of 9lbs of ground meat, about 1.5lbs were pork belly, so a much lower pork to rabbit ratio than most people suggest. I really didn’t want to use a lot of pork because I wanted rabbit sausage, not rabbit-and-pork sausage and this ratio of 1.5lbs pork belly to 7.5lbs boneless rabbit worked out just fine. It gave plenty of fat for cooking and retained the rabbit flavor of the sausage. The pork belly came from a local market and was from an Ohio hog.

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We ground the meat and mixed the batches together to make sure that the pork was well distributed. For grinding meat, the grinder worked like a dream. Then we split the meat into two bowls and let it rest in the fridge while we mixed seasoning. We made equal amounts of two types of sausage; Italian and maple breakfast links. We got hog casings from our local big-box grocery. They sold what they called enough “all natural salted hog casings” for 25lbs of meat (which is probably accurate) in a tiny half-pint container for about $2.50. It was right in there along with Sugardale bacons, Johnsonville brats and cured box-store hams, so if you’re looking to make sausage, casings may be closer than you think! The maple syrup was 100% pure Ohio maple syrup. My herbs come from a local Italian restaurant supply store where I can get them in bulk for cheap. All around I spent maybe $9 on outside supplies and perhaps $1.50/lb on my own rabbit meat, meaning perhaps $2.50/lb on high quality natural sausage. Is it a good price for the product? Yes. Could I make money on it? Probably nah. Could I have done it cheaper? Probably yeah. Around here, chicken sausage goes for about $4/lb, which I think is a good comparison and it’s not the same quality product at all. Some day we may be able to provide all of these things to ourselves and not have to source anything from off the farm.

For recipes we just looked up recipes online and created an approximation of a mix of them, especially those for chicken sausages. We put more maple in the breakfast than was called for, and used wine as our liquid in the Italian.

We decided to do the Italian as bulk stuffed and the breakfast as links. We would keep some loose from each batch. Stuffing the sausages was much rougher than grinding the meat the first time and so I didn’t get any pictures of the actual process.

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Ultimately we had some problems with the sausage meat clogging up the grinder and getting turned into mush. Every time we’d clean it out after this we’d get about 3″ of clean meat before it’d clog again. I suspect that a bit of oil and feeding it a bit more slowly and loosely may have helped with the problem but we were aiming for something with a lower fat content and so adding liquid oil seemed counter-productive and we really had no idea what we were doing. In the future we may add a little less pork and a little more liquid oils during the stuffing process; olive for the Italian and vegetable for the breakfast.

Breakfast links. The ones that stuffed correctly on the right and incorrectly on the left. You can see the difference between the correct "lumpy" texture and the lighter over-worked much texture on the left. Both still tasty.

Breakfast links. The ones that stuffed correctly on the right and incorrectly on the left. You can see the difference between the correct “lumpy” texture and the lighter over-worked much texture on the left. Both still tasty.

Tubes of Italian with the same problem. "properly" ground lumps on the inside, over-worked meat on the outside.

Tubes of Italian with the same problem. “properly” ground lumps on the inside, over-worked meat on the outside.

Ultimately we cooked it up and had some really high quality sausage and some lower quality but still delicious sausage. I gave some to my friends, helpers and family and kept back plenty for myself. We will not be buying store sausage again for a good long while! Yum!


Some of the over worked breakfast sausages and some loose crumbles cooking in a bit of water as a taste-test. While the texture was wrong, they’re delicious and edible.

Hey, I’d eat it.

Recipie Post; Chicken Nuggets

This is a recipe that I think my readers with children will like. I was going to write today and talk about my rabbits but since they haven’t given birth yet I shant. They still have a few more days before I should worry, but since I misplaced my rabbit book a month ago I haven’t actually got the bred-date for them and I’m not really sure. Oops.

So instead I am writing about home-made chicken nuggets. If you’d like the recipe feel free to scroll down, past the majority of this post, and retrieve it! It’s mostly just a bit about my thoughts on children (why I’ll never have them and why they’re suddenly relevant). The recipe is the important part! These nuggets are great on their own or with any sauce from ketchup to a fancy Dijon teriyaki.

All white-meat chicken, with real bread crumbs and barbeque sauce!

I decided to make these because my sister, who lives across the street is some 3-4 months pregnant. Now this mystifies me since she has four posh, primped dogs, a house she tries to keep spotless constantly, many fragile, expensive, and small decorative objects and collectors toys and generally has a strictly ADULT feeling environment.

I just don’t get it when people have kids. “You will want a child too someday!” they all say to me. No, really not. Personally, if I wanted a parasite growing in my body and making me ill for nine months I could just as easily get some tapeworms… And if afterwards I wanted all of my expensive, delicate, collectors toys destroyed a hammer would be much more efficient. If I want all of my high fantasy novels and biology books decorated, I can sew myself tasteful slip covers and make acrylic paintings in them… Crayon-based “artistic” scribbles is SO dated. I already have dogs and chickens so no need to worry about a primal urge to clean up poop or nurture something. And if I ever want a sour milk-vomit smell permeating my house for half a year I can buy a gallon of milk and simply leave it out. All of these things seem much better, more tasteful, cheaper and easier to rid myself of if I don’t want them any more than a child.

Mind you, most sane people immediately seek medical attention to remove other creatures living in their stomachs, sucking the nutrients out of one’s body to feed and grow itself while simultaneously making you sicker and sicker…

But I digress. It’s her call to spawn a new parasite upon the earth not mine. With her child on the way I realized that this spawnling will be living across the street from me and I will have to interact with it. Now people that see me around kids usually see my “working” attitude where I am good with kids and smile and have the patience of… Well, something with a lot of patience. They don’t see that behind that serene smile is a tightly clenched jaw, grinding teeth and a slowly rising sense of murder. The rest of the non-working time I am around children I am full of judgment for their failing to be adults yet and I have nothing for them but bared teeth and glares.

“But you were a child, too once!” Everyone proclaims to me. Yes! I was and so I know exactly how awful they are and how their devious minds think. I was an awful child full of scheming plans and malicious revenge for those who stood in may way. The countless times I would deliberately get my siblings in trouble and punish my parents for failing to watch me every second of every day linger in my mind to this day like memories of another life… One filled with absolute power at my fingertips and a mad hungering for chaos and destruction. Luckily I managed to overcome that to become the person I am today. Children as a rule are not there yet, they are stuck in the power-hungry-chaos-destruction phase.

Pretty sure this is the embodiment of all pre-pubescent children.

But this child is going to have to fall somewhere in between patience of the gods and unbridled and openly expressed dislike. While it’s not a job, and I receive no benefit for caring about it in any way, I have a certain level of obligation because we share both DNA and neighborhood. If my sister was 200 miles away like my other sisters with kids I’d not care and would be content to express open dislike, but since she’s right across the way I have to put up with it to a certain degree. Besides which, my sister is a bit of an urbanite nutjob and this kid is going to need some perspective beyond their mid-sized Honda, their frequent trips to Mc. Donalds, their hairless dogs that they play dressup on, and their trying-hard-to-be-posh home. My sister is the type of person who is scared of eating my farm-raised eggs (hers come yolk removed, and pasturized in a carton but mine are “creepy”), wont eat a vegetable with weather scarring on it because it “looks funny” or “might be bugs”, washes all her vegetables and much of her fruit with a set of “produce brushes”, and will run for the hills if asked to eat something one day after the expiration date, regardless of the actual state of the food.

So it’s had me thinking. And thinking about being a kid again has had me desperately eyeing dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets at the grocery in the freezer section. While I’ve grown beyond mad, power-hungry destruction, I don’t think any of us should ever grow beyond dinosaur chicken nuggets. So rather than reach for that highly processed pile of goo I decided to make my own chicken nuggets. No dinosaurs unfortunately… But I can always watch Jurassic Park while eating them!

For stupid picky children and even stupider, pickier sisters.

  • 3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (three if they’re quite big, four if they’re small)
  • 1 Cup bread crumbs
  • 1tsp Fine Ground Sea Salt (or just salt)
  • 1tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/6tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4tsp Paprika
  • 1 Large (or larger) egg, whisked with 2-3tbsp of water.
  • 3 Tbs olive oil

(Please note, some people are paranoid about cayenne. This is NOT spicy AT ALL, just gives it a bit of a kick.)

Preheat your oven to 350(F).

Pound your chicken breasts even and flat and cut them into 1-2in strips. Cut those strips into cubes or triangles. (I went for triangles-ish because sometimes I am still 5 years old.) I was very unspecific about sizing while making.

After that, measure out your bread crumbs and spices and toss them together thoroughly. You can do this “shake and bake” style by mixing them in a Ziploc but I just used a bowl.

Whisk the egg really well so it’s completely combined and mix in the water too.

Toss about 1/3rd of the chicken cubes/triangles/whatever into the egg mixture. Pick them out one at a time and let them drip off before rolling them in bread crumbs.

Oil your baking pan/sheet with 1Tbs of olive oil. Lay your newly minted chicken nuggets out in it leaving a bit of space between them, like cookies. The amount of oil you actually need and the amount of nuggets that you can fit on your sheet will vary with what kind of pan you use. I was using a standard sized 9″X13″ cake pan because, well, I was. But the rule of thumb is one Tbs oil for every chicken breast and my baking pan held about 1.3 chicken breasts worth of chicken.

Stick the freshly layed nuggets in your pre-heated over and let them cook for 7 minutes.

Once the seven minutes are up you can remove them from the oven and flip them with a spatula. The sides that were facing down will be golden and crispy. Now put them back in for another 8 minutes.

Remove them from the pan onto a paper towel to “drain”. While nowhere near the oil level of something deep fried there’s still some oil on them that can drain off.
Repeat until you run out of chicken and bon appetite! You can stick these in a Ziploc bag and freeze them once they’re cool and make huge batches for microwave lunches and the like!


Rabbit recipe and Kibbles Kindles

Well, post-demonstration I have just been taking it easy. Mid-day I give the rabbits new frozen bottles and then wallow in the fact that my work load is majorly decreased and I have a break. I’ve been watching my rabbits in their tractor, playing with the dogs, watching some TV, and enjoying my brief moments off with nothing at all going on. It was a rough week but I made it through and we’ll be ready when the new chickens show up at the end of the month.

The night of the demonstration I made some delicious rabbit and I thought I’d share the recipe with you all! It’s sort of a Thai dish that I made some time back when we first got rabbit in the old apartment. We bought a half-rabbit from a local market and I fried some of it in a spicy sauce. This was trying to be a little reminiscent of that. I hope you enjoy it!


  • 1 rabbit (2-3lbs) chopped into pieces (I cut mine in such a way that there was little meat left on the ribs and I removed the spine. Those bits will be boiled for broth later.)
  • 1-2 chili peppers of choice. I used Thai peppers before but I only had a jalapeno this time. Use more for a hotter dish or add crushed red peppers.
  • 1/3 C chunks of bell pepper, loosely measured
  • 1 C water
  • 1tbs Apple cider vinegar
  • 2tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs ketchup
  • 1 tsp Red Hot (or substitute some cayenne pepper for a more Thai flavor)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce or Oyster Sauce
  • 1/2 tbs flour
  • 1/4 C chopped green onions (We used the tops of the onions outside)
  • Black pepper and paprika

Cut up your rabbit and set it in a large skillet with the spicy peppers, water, vinegar and soy sauce. Sprinkle liberally with black pepper and some paprika. Let sit in this covered for a half hour or until you’re ready to cook.

Turn heat onto medium and add the ketchup, fish sauce, onions, bell peppers and red hot. Mix in the flour as the pan heats up. Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes on each side. If the water cooks out too fast add more a little bit at a time. Keep the water level low. When the rabbit is cooked for 10 minutes on each side add the butter. Brown the rabbit in the butter and sauce until the sauce is gooey and sticks to the rabbit.
Remember to cook your rabbit to 160 degrees(F)  internal temperature.

Serve on rice with green beans and carrots for sides (or whatever really).

Additionally Kibbles kindled this morning. She and I are starting to build a better relationship. She knows it’s not bad when I open the cage and she’s OK with my scent. She still is aggressive when I try to pet her but we’re working on it. The past two days she’s done nothing but lie on her side, eat and drink. Her belly was so big it looked like she’d swallowed a melon. I was starting to get worried, and was changing her frozen bottles more frequently. If you looked close you could see the babies moving in her side occasionally.
Today she gave me TWELVE kits! They’re a bit on the small side but with twelve of them that’s not surprising! When I found them some of them were still having trouble stretching out because they’d been so cramped inside of her so long. I hope they all make it… Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they did!? But I won’t be sad or surprised if we lose 1-2 over the first week. Twelve kits is hard for mom rabbit to handle, but Kibbles comes from a line known to be good mothers that produce early and raise huge litters to adulthood during their prime. We’ll just have to wait and see!

Until next time then!