Author Archive for Lauren

We messed up: nitrates

We got feedback from a customer recently who was disappointed to find that our cured meats (ham and bacon) include nitrates as an ingredient. This is in the cure that the butcher uses and we don’t have any say over it. We personally don’t have a problem with consuming nitrates in moderation, so we completely overlooked the fact that this is something we should have been notifying you about.

Regardless of our own feelings on the matter, it’s very important to us that all steps of our meat production process be transparent to our customers, and that you have all the information needed to make decisions. We very much dropped the ball on this one and we are really sorry.

If you currently have any ham, ham hocks, ham steaks, or bacon in your freezer, and you would like to exchange it for something uncured and nitrate-free, please email us at farmers@dropstonefarms.com and we’ll work something out.

Also, if you are customer for whom this is a dealbreaker — if you would not order bacon or ham from us unless they are nitrate-free — would you mind dropping us a line at that address, too? We may be limited by the butcher shops that are available to us, and not be able to make any changes, but we’d like to get a feel for how many customers this affects.

Again, we are very sorry for this mistake on our part. We’ll be editing all our order forms and other materials over the next couple of days to include mention of the nitrates in the cured products. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

September is my favorite month

There are still a few grilling days left, but we are also starting to get weather that calls for soups or slow-braised dishes. It’s been way too hot for us to cook inside, and while I loved simple salads and grilled veggies and meats, I’m really looking forward to some braised pork roast and a pot of oven-baked beans with a ham hock. (Also, it’s my birthday this month.)

Read on to learn about the many different ways to buy pork! CSA-style; by the half; or even small oven-size roasters for a special occasion.

Pork variety packs!

We have a limited amount of pork variety packs available this month. Our pigs were fed only Certified Organic feed and happily roamed on our Certified Organic pastures.

The limiting factor is the roasts and chops, so get your orders in as soon as you can by emailing us at farmers@dropstonefarms.com.

Our variety packs consist of ten pounds of pork in a variety of cuts. The contents vary every month. As an example, a recent ten-pound assortment included a roast, sausage, a couple of packs of chops, pork steak, bacon, and a small tenderloin.

A ten-pound pack is $85.

(Pint of ice cream for scale only! Our pork variety packs do not include ice cream, unfortunately.)

This month our Seattle delivery will be on Saturday, September 13, 12:30-1:30pm, at City Grown Farmstand, 4108 Eastern Ave N.

Our Bainbridge Island delivery is dependent on us getting at least four orders on the island. We just can’t justify the ferry trip and the extra travel time to get home when we just have a couple of orders. Sorry :(

Pierce County customers can pick up on Sunday, September 14th, 11am-2pm, on the farm in Orting, or contact us to make other arrangements.

As usual, we also have some extra goodies that adventurous eaters can order — pork heart, liver, jowls, leaf lard, tongue, smoked hams (~4-5 lbs — still tons of these! They’re getting rave reviews) and smoked hocks; chicken liver, hearts, gizzards, and feet.

Email us at farmers@dropstonefarms.com with your order and which pickup point you want.

Pork by the half

We have some pastured Tamworth hogs who are ready to go to slaughter, and we’re taking orders for pork by the half. This is cheaper for you than buying by the piece! You work directly with the butcher to get the cuts you want, so if you’re interested in making your own bacon, sausage, guanciale, and other goodies, this is the way to do it.

A half hog usually results in 60+ lbs of meat (though just from looking, these pigs are somewhat smaller than that). This takes up less room than you’d think, but it’ll completely fill a regular fridge’s freezer. So if you’re interested, start making room in your chest freezer or thinking about getting one. We used to have a 3 cubic foot freezer and that would be more than big enough for half a hog.

$6/lb by hanging weight (before it is butchered); hanging weight is usually around 85-95 lbs per half. You will also pay the butcher separately for the processing costs (varies depending on your specifications, generally $50-75).

If you haven’t done this before, we highly recommend checking out this Honest Meat blog post about buying meat in bulk. It will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about what to expect. And, as always, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.

Roasting pigs

We still have lots of little piglets that will make great oven-sized roasters for a special occasion. They’ll be way too big for the oven by Christmas, but they’ll be ready in 4-6 weeks and you can then freeze them until then, or just host an autumn harvest party. They’ll be about 25-30 lbs hanging weight (with head and feet on; you can have them removed but you still pay the weight of the whole carcass).

We also have one who’s the right size right now, but he won’t be for long, so if you want him, you better speak up!

Roasting pigs are $4/lb plus an $80 butchering fee. As usual, email us at farmers@dropstonefarms.com if you want to reserve one.

Happenings on the farm

We got our second cutting of hay in! The second cutting is generally better than the first because you want the hay to be more leafy and less stemmy, and when you cut the first time it encourages the grass to grow new leaves. We just had it put into the barn yesterday and today. Last year we only got one cutting and it was very stemmy. In the picture above, the yellowish stuff on the left is last year’s hay, and the green stack is the new. Green = good! It smells so sweet and delicious. The cattle and sheep are going to be very happy.

Other than that, not much is going on. We’re just keeping everyone fed and watered and as cool as possible, and watching them grow. Turkey signups are coming SOON, I promise.

 

Thank you!

As always, we really appreciate your support! You’re why we do what we do. Thanks again! Feel free to get in touch anytime with questions, comments, or just to say hi.

Recipe: Grilled pork spring rolls (salad rolls)

Boneless pork chops are a staple in our CSA deliveries. Often they are small, not big enough to make a meat-and-two-veg type meal, but they’re also versatile, so we’re always on the lookout for new things we can do with them.

We’re also totally swamped with so many fresh vegetables from our veg CSA from our next-door neighbors at Four Elements Farm. Gorgeous produce is coming weekly, and stuff like tender small kohlrabi from several weeks ago is still in good shape in our fridge, too.

Friend Anne at Eating Small Potatoes saved the day when she suggested making spring rolls (also called salad rolls or summer rolls, which is appropriate). I did some searching online, and found that I pretty much could just grill some meat, chop up some veggies, and follow the package directions for the rice/tapioca paper and noodles.

Grilled boneless pork chops, plus delicious julienned veggies

Grilled boneless pork chops, plus delicious julienned veggies

So here is the process (not recipe) we followed. Use your own judgement based on what you have on hand, though I do highly recommend including the grilled boneless pork chops.

Chops
Marinate in lime juice and/or rice vinegar, a bit of olive oil, a bit of fish sauce, hoisin, and thinly sliced garlic. Acid and hoisin are the only ones that are required — the sugar in the hoisin helps the meat get some nice caramelization.
Grill until done, let rest, then slice thinly against the grain.

(Red Boat Fish Sauce [warning: autoplay video] is great and somehow magically way yummier than other fish sauces [which I already loved]. In Seattle you can get it at Uwajimaya and sometimes at DeLaurenti.)

Veggies
Julienne whatever you’ve got on hand, either by hand with a nice sharp knife, with a mandoline (use the finger guard!), or with a cool julienne peeler (affiliate link).

What we had:
Cucumber: peel and julienne. Salt lightly and set to drain. Rinse and drain again before using.
Carrot (peeled or not), kohlrabi (definitely peeled), green beans (sliced if large): julienne and toss with a small amount of lime juice/rice vinegar and fish sauce.
Green onion: thinly slice on the bias to make lozenges.
Lettuce: Tear several leaves into bite-sized pieces.
Herbs: we had some rough pesto made of parsley, basil, mint, and garlic, so we used that instead of fresh whole herbs, but whatever you’ve got in the fridge or garden would work great.

The kohlrabi was great for crunch, but radish, jicama, or even something like fennel or celery would also be delicious here. The light marinade/pickle on the veggies was really nice.

Sauce
We really like peanut butter so we did a sauce of half PB and half hoisin sauce, with a couple dashes each of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and fish sauce, thinned with water to the desired consistency.

Noodles
We had some rice noodles on hand but decided not to use them because we already had so much yumminess.

Wrappers/skins
We ended up with tapioca-based wrappers because the package said “spring roll skins” so we bought it, but whatever you get (rice, tapioca, whatever else) is surely fine. If your package directs you otherwise, you should do what it says, but here’s what we did:
Fill a round container (cake pan, large skillet) with hot tap water. Dredge the dried wrapper in it until it starts to act like a useable spring roll wrapper. At that point remove it and lay it out on your cutting board, trying to prevent it from folding over on itself.

Filling it
Here is where other folks’ blogs are definitely better than ours at instructing you. White On Rice Couple’s spring rolls archive is particularly useful. Experiment with putting the filling in the middle or near one edge, or folding the sides in before folding the bottom up, and vice versa. For us, it worked best to put the meat down first, then the sticks of veg, then the leafy veg last before rolling. We also tried putting the hoisin/PB sauce inside instead of using it for dipping, and it was a bit less messy with the sauce inside.

It's not pretty, but it's delicious.

It’s not pretty, but it’s delicious.

If you try it, let us know what you think!

Bacon is back, and ham is on sale!

Our August newsletter just went out to our mailing list. You should sign up for it!

Hooray! Bacon is back!

And we can bring it to you in Wallingford on Saturday the 9th. Lots of stuff to tell you this month, so read on for details about variety packs, hams, pork by the half, and roaster pigs.

Pork variety packs available!

We have plenty of ten-pound variety packs of pork available this month. Our pigs were fed only Certified Organic feed and happily roamed on our Certified Organic pastures.

Please place orders as soon as possible by emailing us at farmers@dropstonefarms.com.

Our variety packs consist of ten pounds of pork in a variety of cuts. The contents vary every month. As an example, a recent ten-pound assortment included a roast, sausage, a couple of packs of chops, pork steak, bacon, and a tenderloin.

A ten-pound pack is $85.

(Pint of ice cream for scale only! Our pork variety packs do not include ice cream, unfortunately.)

This month our Seattle delivery will be on Saturday, August 9th, 12:30-1:30pm, at City Grown Farmstand, 4108 Eastern Ave N.

Our Bainbridge Island delivery is dependent on us getting at least four orders on the island. We just can’t justify the ferry trip and the extra travel time to get home when we just have a couple of orders. Sorry :(

Pierce County customers can pick up on Sunday, August 10th, 11am-2pm, on the farm in Orting.

As usual, we also have some extra goodies that adventurous eaters can order — pork heart, liver, jowls, leaf lard, tongue, smoked hams (~4-5 lbs) and smoked hocks; chicken liver, hearts, gizzards, and feet.

Email us at farmers@dropstonefarms.com with your order and which pickup point you want.

Ham!

We are overrun with hams so they are on deep discount at $9/lb. Most of them are between 4 and 5 lbs (bone-in). They need to be baked or grilled to an internal temperature of 145º, and from there the sliced ham makes great sandwiches, or you can chop it up and add to a frittata or scalloped potatoes. We heated ours on the grill last night and had excellent HLT sandwiches.

Keep the bone and throw it in a pot with some kale or collards if you can find them, or beans or lentils.

Pork by the half

We have some pastured Tamworth hogs who will be going to slaughter in six weeks or so, and we’re taking orders for pork by the half. This is cheaper for you than buying by the piece! You work directly with the butcher to get the cuts you want, so if you’re interested in making your own bacon, sausage, guanciale, and other goodies, this is the way to do it.

A half hog usually results in 60+ lbs of meat. This takes up less room than you’d think, but it’ll completely fill a regular fridge’s freezer. So if you’re interested, start making room in your chest freezer or thinking about getting one. We used to have a 3 cubic foot freezer and that would be more than big enough for half a hog.

$6/lb by hanging weight (before it is butchered); hanging weight is usually around 85-95 lbs per half. You will also pay the butcher separately for the processing costs (varies depending on your specifications, generally $50-75).

If you haven’t done this before, we highly recommend checking out this Honest Meat blog post about buying meat in bulk. It will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about what to expect. And, as always, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.

Roasting pigs

If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you may have seen some stories, pictures, and videos about our piglet overload. (Seriously, go check out the photos, they’re adorable.)

The short version of the story is that our Tamworth boar got in the pen with ten young lady pigs (gilts) and, well, you can guess what happened. We now have maybe 40+ piglets running around. It is extremely cute but we will soon have a major glut of young pigs to try to sell to other farmers or as small roasting pigs.

So, if you’ve always wanted to have a suckling pig roast, now’s your chance. Get in touch asap if you’d like to reserve a roasting pig.

Happenings on the farm

The cattle are out on pasture in a highly-visible spot, to the delight of the neighbor kids, who wave every time they drive by. Pigs are loving their organic vegetable trimmings from our neighbors at Four Elements Farm and Tahoma Farms. Some baby turkeys and goslings are here and are growing nicely. The Thanksgiving turkeys will be on the small side but they will be delicious. The geese will be for Christmas and are an experiment. We’ll take orders and deposits soon. We got some new rabbits so that experiment will be underway soon too. We have to figure out how to get them processed legally, but stay tuned for whole fresh rabbit.

Geology farm walk, pork by the half, roaster pigs!

Are you on our mailing list? If so, this is old news. If not, why not?! Sign up!

We just sent out a few announcements:

Farm walk

We are hosting a PCC Farmland Trust farm walk this weekend! Saturday the 26th, at 1pm, join us on the farm for a geology-themed farm walk led by our friend Annika Wallendahl. We’ll tour the farm and learn about dropstones, Mt. Rainier, and more. Get more info and register here. We’d love to see you!

Pork by the half

We have some pastured Tamworth hogs who will be going to slaughter in six weeks or so, and we’ll be taking orders for pork by the half. This is cheaper for you than buying by the piece! You work directly with the butcher to get the cuts you want, so if you’re interested in making your own bacon, sausage, guanciale, and other goodies, this is the way to do it.

A half hog usually results in 75-85 lbs of meat. This takes up less room than you think, but it’ll completely fill a regular fridge’s freezer. So if you’re interested, start making room in your chest freezer or thinking about getting one. We used to have a 3 cubic foot freezer and that would be more than big enough for half a hog.

If you haven’t done this before, we highly recommend checking out this Honest Meat blog post about buying meat in bulk. It will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about what to expect. And, as always, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.

Roasting pigs

If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you may have seen some stories, pictures, and videos about our piglet overload. (Seriously, go check out the photos, they’re adorable.)

The short version of the story is that our Tamworth boar got in the pen with ten young lady pigs (gilts) and, well, you can guess what happened. We now have maybe 40+ piglets running around. It is extremely cute but we will soon have a major glut of young pigs to try to sell to other farmers or as small roasting pigs.

So, if you’ve always wanted to have a suckling pig roast, now’s your chance. Get in touch asap if you’d like to reserve a roasting pig.

These little piggies went “wee wee wee” all the way to the pasture because farmers are indecisive but pigs are not

We’ve been hemming and hawing about what to do with the first 2014 litter of Tamworths, who are way past time to be away from Mama and are definitely close to outgrowing their spot in the barn.

Garth wanted to put them in the cattle barn, Salatin-style, so they could turn up the winter’s worth of cattle manure and compost it for us. That is a great idea and I’d love to do it, but there was a whole set of dependencies — the cattle have to leave the barn for that to happen, and for the cattle to leave the barn we have to get the hay cut and then give it time to regrow, and there has to be some rain in between the cutting so the regrowth can happen … anyway, long, tortured decision-making process short, we couldn’t get the pigs to the cattle barn yet.

I, on the other hand, wanted to get the pigs out and start rotating them on different non-hayed pasture, churning up the soil so we can re-seed, and cutting down feed costs as they eat grass and roots. This is also a great idea. But we couldn’t figure out how to physically move them from one place to another without them running all over everywhere, plus it’s a two-person project and our schedules have been such that there’s been only one of us here most days. So again, we didn’t have what we needed in place to move them to pasture yet.

So, of course, nothing had happened yet.

But today the pigs took matters into their own … hooves, I guess. They shoved their way out of their pen in the barn and went all over. And of course this is one of the times that I’m the only one here.

The pigs laughed in my face when I asked them nicely and then tried to lure them back into the pen.

A second pair of hands is hugely helpful in times like these, and neighbor Larry at Clean Food Farm saved my sanity by coming over to help me get electric fence in place and hooked up.

And that’s the story of how the pigs decided they would be on pasture this year.

Brined pork chops with gremolata (from Simply Recipes)

A customer recently suggested that we try this recipe for brined pork chops with gremolata.

Our default is usually just to grill chops up with some salt and pepper, maybe adding some barbecue sauce, red pepper jelly, or fruity tangy chutney after they come off the grill.

But we’ve had boneless chops in the CSA box a couple of times now, and we’re subscribers to our own CSA, so we thought we’d try something new!

We followed the recipe pretty closely for once, so I won’t repeat it here; click on over to Simply Recipes for details.

The brine includes water, sugar, salt, bay, coriander, thyme, and lemon. There is twice as much sugar as salt, which is an interesting twist. We brined the chops for about 20 hours; Garth thought the resulting meat was a bit too salty, but for me the highlight was the bay, which is rarely a featured flavor, and which was lovely. But we’ll brine it for just 12 hours or so next time.

The chops are pan-seared more or less like one normally would, and then you add the gremolata. It’s like a rough pesto or a chimichurri, sort of — in this case it’s parsley, minced, combined with freshly grated lemon zest and minced garlic. Plate the chops and top with the gremolata, then devour!

If you try it, let us know what you think! Or send us your ideas for other pork chop recipes. Feedback is always welcome!

American Meat movie + burritos + Dropstone Farmers! This Sunday

We’re attending this PCC Farmland Trust showing of the film American Meat this Sunday (tomorrow!) at noon. Farmer Garth will be doing a Q&A afterwards, too. (I will be in the audience; it’s Garth’s turn to do the talking, since I was on a panel at a Pierce Conservation District event a few weeks ago.)

More details at SIFF. Only $5, plus you get Chipotle burritos! Come say hi if you attend.

Last call for Easter hams!

April 2014 orders are open. From our newsletter:

Last chance for Easter Ham!

OK, they can be secular hams too, but the timing is right for an Easter feast!
Our bone-in alderwood-smoked hams are from our heritage Tamworth pigs who were raised on our Certified Organic pastures. The hams are around 4-6 lbs each. They need to be fully cooked, up to 145º, and will be lovely glazed or unglazed. Our special price for Easter is $11/lb. We only have about 10 left so email us to reserve yours now!

Contact us at farmers@dropstonefarms.com as soon as possible to place an order. We’ll work directly with you to arrange hand-off. The hams are frozen and will need a couple of days to thaw, so get in touch soon!

We also have a few variety packs available for April. Our variety packs consist of ten pounds of pork in a variety of cuts. The contents vary every month. As an example, a recent ten-pound assortment included a roast, sausage, a couple of packs of chops, pork steak, bacon, and a tenderloin.

(Pint of ice cream for scale only! Our pork variety packs do not include ice cream, unfortunately.)

We’ve heard from some customers that some of the cuts have been fattier than they expected. These were not lean pigs! We think the fat is delicious to eat, but if that’s not your thing, this might not be the pork for you. Please get in touch if you have any questions about what to expect.

As usual, we also have some extra goodies that adventurous eaters can order — pork heart, liver, jowls, leaf lard, tongue, and smoked hocks; chicken liver, hearts, gizzards, and feet.

Coming up soon we’ll have ham steaks available in the variety packs, and possibly lamb by next month.

Consider yourselves invited to the farm anytime — there are lots of new babies to visit! Follow us at http://www.facebook.com/DropstoneFarms for pictures.

Thanks again! Feel free to get in touch anytime with questions, comments, or just to say hi.

Lauren Manes & Garth Daley Highsmith
Dropstone Farms
farmers@dropstonefarms.com
http://www.dropstonefarms.com
http://facebook.com/dropstonefarms
206-855-5493

Easter hams available!

We have a limited number of Easter hams available from our Tamworth pigs, who led a happy life on our Certified Organic pastures and were fed only Certified Organic feed.

Alder-wood smoked, most between 4 and 5 pounds, these beautiful bone-in hams need to be fully cooked (to 145º in the center) just like you would any other whole cut of meat, like a roast.

These would work great with your favorite glaze, or just bake it unglazed like we did.

We will deliver to a drop site in Seattle on March 23 and again sometime in April before Easter. Not in Seattle? Get in touch anyway and we’ll figure it out.

Special price for Easter, $11/lb. Get in touch at farmers@dropstonefarms.com to reserve yours today!

The Great Pig Barn Flood of 2014

(I really hope this is the only Pig Barn Flood of 2014)

We had a big list of stuff to do today — clean out the hens’ nest boxes and add new bedding; clean out the rabbit cages and maybe put one of the does in to breed; make a cow-proof area outside the barn so we can put them out and more easily spread bedding without riling them all up; install a cat flap so our new barn cats can come out of their shelter-mandated acclimatization period. But when we got out of the house to start doing the regular chores, we found — surprise!! — that the north barn, which houses our five breeder Tamworths and our ten Landrace gilts (that’s young female pigs), all on a dirt floor in a three-sided structure, was totally full of water!

20140217-191106.jpg

The Landraces (aka the pink pigs) were slogging around nearly up to their elbows in water, with barely any dry land in their pen. The Tams didn’t have it quite as badly, and their little crater-nest that they make to sleep in was still dry, but it was still pretty soggy and they were having a hard time getting to/from their water and food tubs.

So the day switched from some mundane scheduled tasks to CRISIS MANAGEMENT TIME YEAH!

The north barn is fronted by a concrete pad at least as wide as the barn itself, so we had an obvious second-best place to put the pigs. We spent a couple of hours getting fence panels into place and mounting electric fence so they don’t push on the panels, then we cut the electric fence inside their existing pens and opened up doorways for them to move out from the flooded area to the relatively dry concrete pads.

But pigs are both too smart and not smart enough for that. They learn very well about the electric fence — so well that once electric fence has been in a place, they are very reluctant to cross that line ever again, even once the fence has visibly been removed.

So, we had some time to work on setting up the feed and water tubs outside out of the puddles, and to figure out, with some friends’ help, how to get them housing in the new area, since the concrete pads have no roof. The Tamworths get to sleep in the stock trailer with plenty of hay for bedding (and a farrowing nook created for the sow whose teats are swelling, indicating that she’s getting close to giving birth!). The pink pigs get their previous shelter of an abandoned pickup truck canopy, hoisted up on a couple of bales of hay so they can all fit under it, since normally they would dig down to make room for everyone in a little nest.

20140217-194405.jpg

After that photo was taken we put down another bale of loose hay underneath the canopy so they have some coziness to snuggle down into.

But as of the evening dog walk a couple of hours ago, all the Tams were out but only one of the pink pigs had figured out how to cross the former electric fence line and get out to the food and the shelter. I do hope they figured it out and aren’t sleeping in a puddle.

It’s not a great solution — would rather have them completely under cover, and also on the concrete there’s no way to gather their manure to reuse the nutrients and prevent runoff — but it’s what we could get together today, and it should last while we figure out how to improve drainage in the barn.

Frozen farm

Given that this is our second several-day cold snap this winter, we should’ve prepared a bit better this time. Since we don’t have crops in the ground, though, really the big issue is keeping the livestock watered and warm.

The pigs, goats/sheep, poultry, and rabbits are all in three-sided barns with dirt floors. Normally we like this: fresh air is good for the critters, and having them on dirt is better for their bodies than concrete; plus the pigs really like to be able to root around. But the pigs sleep directly on the ground, so our first step in preparing for freezing weather is to bring each group of pigs a bale or two of hay to nest in. They all sleep in a warm pile anyway, but they like the added insulation from the cold ground.

The sheep and goats have their winter coats on and don’t seem to mind the cold, though we do give them some extra calories in the form of alfalfa pellets when it’s very cold. (We did lose a lamb in the last cold snap, but she was already very sick with worms.)

The chickens and turkeys also seem more or less indifferent to the cold. They go out and stand in the snow on one foot, alternating feet every few minutes. The geese are pretty mad that their bathing puddles are all frozen over, but then the geese are pretty mad about everything, so we don’t worry about them too much.

The cows are also in the barn, though theirs is not the same three-sided arrangement, but a large open barn with really just one wall, and the rest is open-air. They are somewhat protected by the large haystack, and they also have their winter coats on and the ability to huddle up, so they don’t seem to care about the cold either.

Watering everybody is another story. We try to keep the hoses drained, but don’t always succeed, so we often have to haul water in 5-gallon buckets from one end of the farm to the other. We use a super-handy garden cart that can hold seven buckets. But this cold snap, even our spigots froze, so we had no running water anywhere on the farm (including in the trailer we live in). Thankfully our neighbors at Tahoma Farm had running water, and they let us come and fill up our big white coolers that we use for making meat deliveries, so we were able to water everyone from those. They are insulated enough that water left in them overnight doesn’t freeze, which is convenient.

The rabbits’ waterers freeze solid overnight, so we bring them in and immerse them (waterers, not rabbits) in a big stockpot on the stove until they thaw. Then we fill them up with warm water and put them back out until they start to get slushy again. Next time we’ll plan to have twice as many waterers as cages, so we can have one set of waterers inside thawing while another set with warm water is outside.

Today we got the hoses and the spigots thawed enough for us to fill up our coolers ourselves, plus a few backup containers which we stored in the shop. And we made a checklist that includes all this prep, so we’ll do better next time.