Carollo Farm

Farm Life, Projects, and Product Reviews

Meat Smoker – Part I

My two oldest children harvested their first deer this last season. As I was taught by my father, I have always butchered and processed my own deer and we usually take anything that we don’t reserve for steaks, roasts, stew, etc. and have it made into snack sticks or sausage, which my children enjoy.

However, with the recent escalation of CWD in Missouri, I’m just not comfortable taking our meat to someone else anymore…

While it’s still reasonable to believe that deer infected with CWD cannot transmit to humans, I simply chose not to feed our family deer that hasn’t tested negative for CWD. And since testing is not a requirement in all counties, or for consumption, there’s no reason for me not to assume that any sausage I receive may include deer other than my own and may contain meat that is contaminated.

So my solution to this… DIY 🙂

I’ve never made sausage, so I’m starting with absolutely 0% experience, but I have a few friends that have, and I know I need at least a few basics to get started: meat, a grinder, a stuffer, casings, and a smoker.

I was looking at smokers online one night a few weeks ago and the next day, while talking about this around some family, my uncle mentioned to me that he had an old smoker I could have, so I thought I’d give it a try. Basically, I think it looks to be some kind of proofer cabinet with an electric element modification.

I’ll be cleaning this up over the next few weeks to see what I can do with it. I still need to test everything out thoroughly, but it did plug it in and it did power on, so that’s a good start.

Keeping Warm

Keeping warm in the Winter, when you heat with wood and cut your own, isn’t easy work. For me, this means cutting wood almost every weekend, to keep up and potentially build a stockpile.

We have a Hardy H4 Outdoor Boiler, which we use to pre-heat our domestic hot water and heat our house. It’s not a conservative stove when it comes to wood consumption, but I attribute this, in large part, to the fact that we keep the boiler water temperature around 170 degrees and our thermostat upstairs at 72 or 73 degrees.

Occasionally, I do burn “green” or “unseasoned” wood, but mostly we target dead trees that need to be taken down regardless.

On this particular weekend my father and I fell and dead tree than was hanging over the barn. Limbing and bucking went pretty quick, but moving these 28″ rounds was a slow chore, even with the help of a tractor with a loader and a splitter.

Winter Fishing

Life is hard when you’re a boy in the middle of Winter and you love fishing.

My son loves to fish our tiny pond. This pond is so small you can easily cast over it.

Over the past few years I’ve added Hybrid Bluegill, Regular Bluegill, Channel Catfish, and Bass. And to my surprise, year after year it has been a source of entertainment and excitement for our kids, family, and friends.

We knew the odds were stacked against us on this cold Winter day, but sometimes you have to try anyway. We didn’t catch dinner, but we sure had fun!

Another Blog?

Following a passion, seeking an outlet to express opinions about interests, an opportunity to meet new people, or searching for a way to give back to others; these are all good explanations for why I started a blog-based site in 2019, during a time when the internet was full of blogs.

I spend my weekdays behind a keyboard, but I spend my weekends looking for a way to unwind, connect with my family, and understand my purpose.

Growing up as a child, I was told that my family used to own and operate a large turkey farm in a near-by town – a property I had visited many times on weekends as a child. In 2004 I was gifted an opportunity to purchase what was left of the original farm, most of which had been sold off many years ago.

Over the years since, I started a family, built a home, and together, my wife and children and I have raised and kept turkey, chickens, guinea fowl, goats, hogs, and horses.

I spend a lot of time on YouTube, talking to others, raising livestock, putting up fence, fixing tractors, and learning general homesteading skills.

“Playing Farmer”, as I like to call it, on our little hobby farm helps me feel grounded. I have learned a lot, met some great people, grown relationships, and have seen some amazing things in the process.

I hope you find value in me sharing our experiences with you.

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