“Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.” – Oscar Wilde

My latest batch of Biltong, which I am making from Corned Beef, has not been going as well as I expected.  I suspect that the lower than average temperatures have slowed the drying process, which means that after 10 days of drying the Biltong is still quite moist.  I checked the Biltong last night and I found a spot of mould growing on a piece of meat.  I decided I needed to do something immediately or risk losing 2 kilos of meat.  I was actually in the middle of preparing the house for a photo session (for our online advertising to sell our house), so I only had a short amount of time to craft something to help the meat to dry faster.  I recalled seeing images online of specifically built Biltong Driers from South Africa which appear to usually have a light bulb to provide heat to dry the Biltong.  I decided that this may be the only way I have on hand to dry my Biltong (given the amount of time I had). I located an old lamp in my garage, changed the light bulb, and set about inventing a system which would suit my needs:

  • I need to keep the biltong off the ground (suspended in the air) so it isn’t tempting to any rodents that may smell the meat,
  • covered in the mesh to prevent insects from getting to the meat.
  • Allow the lamp to sit inside the drying box

I needed a metal cover on the ropes hanging from the rafters to prevent any climbing rodent from getting to the box

You can see that the light is on… and the amount of cords hanging from the box.

I came up with a system using Occy straps to hold the light within a small hole I cut in the bottom of the box.  I placed an old steel children’s bike chain guard on the ropes from the rafter to act as a guard.  Checking the box this morning I found everything in place and there was a little heat radiating from the box.  I even cut a small, thin, piece of meat from the drier to taste the progress.  The meat was dry (great sign that the box is working) and tasted great!

I have an idea that I may utilise my Chimea which I have sitting in my courtyard to dry some of the meat.  I might fire it up tonight with some charcoal and suspend some Biltong over the chimney to see if it dries and adds flavour to the meat.   Then again… I might not bother.  I will let you all know if I do this and how it works out.  Once I get this batch completed I will investigate the process of vreating Bacon, then I will have achieved one of my 13 skills.

A selection of the driest piece of Biltong. Kitty actually tried this and aid she liked it (although it was a little too salty for her).

My work on fitness has been progressing since the start of the year.  I had been running my Tapout fitness DVDs three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).  I am getting better at the program and do not find it as painful as I did a month ago.  I can even get through nearly all the programs without collapsing on the floor.  As I am getting better I am upping the training to four times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday).  I have been checking my weight every week and I have noted that while I am still roughly the same weight, I have lost around ½ a kilo of fat (or so my body/fat scales tell me) and I have put on a kilo of muscle… so I got that going for me.  I will continue with this program till I have completed 90 days and see how I feel.

In relation to selling out home, we recently hired a new Real Estate Agent to represent us.  She is a part of the same company, yet from a different office.  Our agent has provided us with some information relating to the previous agent… apparently he had received numerous offers for our home, yet he didn’t tell us about them and appeared to ignore all offers.  The one time he told us about an offer and we countered with an offer of our own he didn’t provide this to the perspective buyers… which caused them to forget about us and buy a new house somewhere else.  Kitty and I were shocked and outraged when we were told this information.  I am in the process of investigating whether we should report this behaviour to a body or group to act upon this information, considering that we have spent thousands of dollars on advertising and other costs, as well as losing the house we wanted.  Anyway, mark this one down to experience.  We feel we did the right thing, we tried to maintain contact with our agent, yet we should have acted earlier.

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