Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Time to Bring It Inside

Back in 2000, we made a family field-trip to West Virginia, where we made one of the most useful purchases ever.  Yes, I mean EVER!  

Proving just how truly unique our family is…the trip was to a junk yard. Okay, technically it was called a "restaurant equipment salvage company".  We were there on a mission.  We needed a sink.  We needed a BIG, stainless steel sink …and we needed it cheap!

Mid-Atlantic Salvage was a graveyard of sorts for out-dated, un-used and under-appreciated restaurant equipment.  There were walk-in coolers, sinks and counter-tops sitting in huge heaps all around the place. There was a lot of other restaurant stuff, too...if you felt like searching through the mounds.  If you were willing to brave a few rats (…I am serious!) there were some real bargains to be had.

We wandered through the piles of equipment, searching for THE sink…THE BIG stainless steel sink.It had to have two tubs and a side-counter would be nice. There seemed to be hundreds.  Most were too small, a few too big…after hunting for a while, we found one that was “just right”.  You see, the Boss had a plan…an amazing plan for a processing shed. (although no one but the Boss was really privy to it)  We headed back to the salvage yard office, braving the rats again (each sighting garnered a loudly whispered “MAMA….I saw a RAT!”), the Boss dealt and dickered.  We bought that sink and hauled it home. I must admit to some buyer’s remorse on that return trip.  HOW would this ever work?  WHAT were we going to do with this GINORMOUS sink?

Shed-nearly complete 1998
The Boss had built a storage shed a couple of years prior to the West Virginia trip. The storage shed would now become the PROCESSING shed and the sink would be the finishing touch to the Boss' grand plan. Or so he said.  He has an uncanny knack for being able to picture the end result long before he can communicate this fact with anyone else.  I learned ages ago that if he says “yeah, I can do this” to try to relax and let him go.  The end result is always…ALWAYS…great.

After processing vegetables outside with the hose for two market seasons, we needed a change. Our system was inefficient to say the least, and we really, really needed to grow our operation.   The Boss was also washing eggs in the utility room…around 300 eggs a day. A layer flock of 300 is fairly small by most standards, but then...those producers have special washing stations. The amount of mess that goes along with farming was multiplied ten-fold (or more) with the dirt and feathers that go along with cleaning eggs in the house. Since I was also baking nearly 100 loaves of bread a week (flour was always in the air), the house was in a constant state of mess and chaos. The system definitely had some problems and my sanity was beginning to suffer.

First use of the new processing sink 2000
After we bought the sink, and made 97 trips to Lowes, we were in business!  No longer were all the EGGS and VEGETABLES being washed IN the house.  Praise the Lord…the laundry room could resume its original purpose! 

The outdoor processing of vegetables and eggs expanded to processing poultry as well.  During the summer season the processing shed gets a real work-out.  The sink purchase has indeed enabled us to expand our farming operation exponentially.We can do far more work and do it in an efficient manner that no longer threatens my sanity.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end…

Since the outdoor processing shed is OUTDOORS, it is subject to freezing during the winter months.  Freezing means there is no longer running water…or, if on the off chance someone left the faucet turned on, icicles form or water is indeed running…EVERYWHERE it shouldn’t.

So… in the mid to late Fall…despite the fact the Boss has these awesome processing gloves to keep his hands from freezing...it’s time to return to our roots…to bring it back inside…

During the colder months,  Boss resumes his egg washing in the utility sink in the laundry room.  Sometimes, he even processes vegetables for Winter Sales inside. Thankfully, the 300 egg-a-day operation is a thing of the past.  The baking is also history.  So, the mess is kept at a manageable level. The relatively few eggs and vegetables that do get processed in the house are indeed our Winter-time income...so it's all good.

Still, it seems kind of sad that the awesome processing sink will sit idle until Spring...

the processing shed will become the woodshed/grilling headquarters.

  ...but it gives us another reason to look forward to

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