Friday, January 3, 2014

Winter has come to Wisconsin, and the students returned from cozy holiday festivities to one of the coldest Decembers at camp that I can remember. Only a few times this month have we experienced an entire day above zero degrees. Of course, there are still things to do here. Wintertainment, our high school event between Christmas and New Years went off without a hitch. Now we move into the winter retreat season, looking forward to serving many of our favorite churches as they come in need of rest and reflection in the cold northwoods.

The students made a list of "random skills" they wanted to learn, and we chose to use Wednesday to carry out one of the more interesting classes.  I have found that almost everybody likes sausage, but almost nobody wants to make it. So when I saw "sausage making" on the list of skills the students wanted to learn, I was excited. Here goes:

 After mixing the meat and seasonings (pork and beef - the rest is secret) we stuffed the meat into the fibrous casings using the sausage stuffer.

                                                      Tying off the sausage with string

This smoker was constructed in my garage with this class in mind. This should be done outdoors, but outdoors was below zero. Notice the cardboard vent on the hood. Ingenuity is a trailhead skill, right? Don't try this at home.

 Applewood pellets provided the smoke. The sausages hung in the smoker for three hours before being transferred to an oven to bring them up to safe internal temps. Once the temp was achieved, an hour in an ice bath brought them down to fridge temps for storing.

I think the final product was good. I prefer venison actually, but I don't subject others to it unwillingly.

BTW-There are no female pictures here because they chose to skip town for this one. Some people prefer to be kept in the dark about where their sausage comes from.

Please pray for the students in January - not just because they will be eating the sausage they made.

Camp is a crazy place for the next month or two and this will be an exercise in hard work, positive attitude and faithfulness to the mission. These are good "heart" challenges and every minute of work contributes to the ministry here at Camp Forest Springs as we seek to serve thousands of people in the next two months. Classes will be focused on worldview and stewardship this month.

Stay warm!

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