Rendering Lard

Yes, we’re well on our way to being fully immersed into the months of dark days and long nights which I’ve always resisted without fail. Today wouldn’t have been so bad if the wind hadn’t been blowing at such a fast pace. Unbeknownst to me, I found out that the western section of Hancock County was cursed with much heavier sleet which caused many branches of trees to break, and likely because of the stronger than normal wind we were getting. One of my clients mentioned he’s going to be spending this coming weekend cleaning up all the broken branches in his dooryard.

My morning was filled with the running errands, placing an open house sign over at 902 – 1st St. SE for this Saturday’s open house, and then checking on several of the vacant homes I have listed for sale. Since I was outdoors more than in, I figured I’d stop and grab a cup of hot coffee before heading back to my office. I normally don’t drink but one cup in the morning, I felt another hot one was due, just to get me warmed.

While visiting with one of my clients this morning, we couldn’t help agreeing on the fact that we need more fair-priced, honest and reliable tradespeople in North Iowa who’ll not be gouging their customers at every opportunity available. Just today I placed my third call to a gutter installer regarding some work I’d ordered done weeks ago. He did finally call back with a time frame which made me a least a little bit relieved I wasn’t being brushed off. I fully understand the frustration our general public has whenever trying to line someone up to do work, and when they do arrive, they’re saying their prayers that the work is being done properly.

There’s a young man who recently lost his job due to a corporate consolidation, and while visiting with him today, I encouraged him to start his own handyman business because he’s very talented when it comes to home improvements. The more I pressed him about it, the more he seemed resistive over it all, and likely due to the fear factor over going it alone. Isn’t it funny how fear of failure restricts so many talented people? As far as I’m concerned, if one fails, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again due to having additional knowledge of how to keep from failing once again.

Unfortunately, many in our younger crowd don’t want to take such leaps because they’ve been mentally tweaked by society into believing they do no wrong, and whatever bad things happen, are the faults to be laid on the shoulders of others. Perhaps this is why I truly enjoying seeing young entrepreneurs making a go at building their own companies from the ground up. Personally knowing several very successful people, I’d say fears of failure never being a part of their characters.

Speaking of start-ups, I becoming very excited over seeing more of our younger crowd here in North Iowa creating their own businesses which are centered around organically grown foods. The first one that comes to mind, is Twisted River Farm in Mitchell which was started not too many years ago by Steve Strasheim who used to be an appliance salesperson at Zilge’s Appliance. Since he was always my “go to” person at that store, we became acquainted enough to where he began sharing with me his side-line which at the time, was raising all natural chickens which he sold to area buyers. I knew he was looking to expand his operation because he’d been searching for a larger plot in which to diversify. Several years later, I found he’d quit his job and went full-time soon after his finding a more suitable place up in Mitchell. I don’t think he’s raising many chickens now because he and his wife are very busy growing specialty crops which are various salad greens. They named their company “Twisted River Farm”, and by the sounds of it, they’re doing quite well. Good for them!

Another one that comes to mind, is “Mossycup Farms” which is located about four miles north of Clear Lake, and owned by Laura Tiderick. I was excited to find that she and her husband are raising Mangalista hogs which produce meat which is considered the best of the best. My hat goes off to her because she’s not only growing and selling organically grown, but also teaching people how to create good products the old fashioned way. I smiled when reading about her rendering lard from the fat of her prize pigs. You can be sure her products are all the better because of the love she places in her start-up. Once again I say, “Good for them!”

I’m of the belief that once our general public starts turning away from quantity and demanding higher qualities of the foods they eat, such organic products will become part of our mainstream shopping. Yes, we’ll always have to pay a little more for quality, but the noticeable health returns will always worth it. If you have the stomach for it, just do a little research on how many chemicals are injected and/or fed to hogs, cattle, and chickens. It’s no wonder people have more health issues that they did a 100 years ago.

One of the two offers I’ve been working on when down in flames which didn’t surprise me, and the other one is teetering on getting put together if only the seller would drop his price another $500.00. If I were the buyers, I would’ve pulled the trigger, but I’m not them.

While I was working at getting some things done at my office this afternoon, I decided to go digging in my box of old photographs which I purchased some years ago. When I ran across the above photo, it began speaking volumes to me due to it bringing back memories of quieter and gentler times where families stayed home and entertained themselves. I thought it curious having found it, because just today I was saddened when thinking about all the fewer of our young not being strongly encouraged to lean how to freely play at least one musical instrument. Yes, it’s very sad, but true.

Tonight’s one-liner is: We must take care not to so eagerly look for emotion in others.

Joe Chodur

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