The things you talk about…


a scalding trough at the fall hog butchering

Tuesday we were floating around in the pool and the conversation drifted to “Pan Haus.”  I swear, a person never knows what kind of conversations you’re going to get into with retirees!

For example…


tubs of pon hoss cooling – in this form it’s not the most appetizing thing in the world, is it? turns out it’s pretty bland, just pork, flour, salt, pepper, and water (with the collagen from boiled pork)

Yesterday we got to talking about Pon Hoss or Pan Haus.  Someone knew it was Amish — that was where they had seen it — in an Amish community in Iowa.  But more than that no one knew.

Now, I’m no chef, but I know a few things about food and Pon Hoss was something I’d never heard of before.  And the thing I love is a challenge.  What the heck is this stuff?  We’d been to Pennsylvania Dutch Country and we’ve eaten Scrapple — a close cousin to Pon Hoss I now find.  But they aren’t the same. pon-hoss-2

Pon Hoss is usually served as a breakfast item, fried.  But with the limited ingredients and seasoning in the recipe it’s no wonder that the resident here didn’t care for the taste.  Scrapple is more likely to include sage, thyme and/or savory — so this stuff is lacking apt to be lacking on tastebud appeal.  Gives me the shivers — but hey — when you’re a farmer you eat everything but the squeal, right?  🙂

It’s a good example of the things you can get to talking about when you’re with a gang of folks from all over the U.S. and Canada.  And speaking of Canada….

One of the winter residents was saying that when they came across the border they changed $10,000 Canadian into U.S. currency.  With the current rate of exchange what they got back was only $6300.  Now THAT is a hit!  Makes it harder for our Canadian neighbors to enjoy the winter down here.

We get our share of political conversations.  And there’s always talk about doctors and lawyers.  The state of the park — or the disrepair of the park — depending on the resident’s frame of mind (cheerful or bitchy).  We hear travelogues and family histories.  Of course with men around there’s golf, football, and more about cars than I ever wanted to know.  And the “nice” thing about it is that most of them only stay for a few months out of the year — you don’t have to listen to the same old stories all year long.  Fact is,  the gang who stay here year round is pretty small — which also means that by the time the Winter Texans show up they are ready and rarin’ for some good conversation.    It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s human….

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here again tomorrow to chat. Why not stop by and say hi!


3 thoughts on “The things you talk about…

  1. Looks like a giant loaf of Spam. My wife likes head cheese, the Boar’s Head brand, which we assume is made from the boar’s head.

    Do you remember kiszka, polish blood sausage? My grandparents would make it and fry it in bacon drippings in a cast iron pan until the casing turned crispy, jet black, and finally split open, I loved it.

    Thinking back to a post about stoves. My grandmother’s stove was a dual fuel stove, wood on one side and natural gas on the other. I remember it having solid cast iron plates that would fit flush into surface of the wood burning side. She would often pull one off and replace it with her skillet which I believe was made for the opening. I remember seeing flames jump out of the opening when she did this. This was in a residential neighborhood in the heart of a big city, not out on a farm.


    1. Cletus!

      You’re right about the resemblance to Spam. BTW — if you are even in Austin MN you must stop at the Hormel SPAM MUSEUM! it’s quite a hoot.

      Yup, remember kiszka! My family are all Polish and I’ve eaten most of the so-called delicacies and a lot of the staples as well. I’ll admit that while kiszka was flavorful it wasn’t my favorite of flavors. My dad made his own kielbasa and I preferred that over the blood sausage any day.

      I remember those old solid-plate stoves! Not sure I’ve ever seen one that was dual fuel though. Had heard about them, but never seen one. Life surely has changed a lot over our lifetime but not, I think, the most extreme changes in history. When we were recently married we knew a then 100+ year old gent who moved from Philly to Chicago in a Buckboard. In his lifetime people went from walking alongside their horses to the moon in one generation. We’ve seen a lot of change but I don’t think our life has been as monumentally change-filled as his.

      For these young folks who blithely talk about revolution, I often wonder what they would do without electricity or natural gas, etc.. We take the inter-connectedness of society now so much for granted and then when suggestions about all the things that “have to” change are made no one is considering what they need to actually function in the world.

      Funny…. talking about these old stoves makes me hunger for cornbread……



  2. We went to the Spam museum on out trip down this year. Spent almost two hours there. I bought a T shirt and a hat!

    Our friends spend the winter in Hawaii where, as I’m certain you know, Spam is a staple. When getting together back in Minnesota they serve us Hawaiian dishes. One of our favorites is a type of sushi made with Spam I forget the actual name of the dish. The museum sells a kit with a mold to make it.

    I often thought of what life would be like without utilities and did a lot of extreme camping including winter camping in my younger years maybe just to prove I could survive. Mostly limited to weekends although once I stayed in our 12 x 16 foot “shack” on land in Northern Minnesota (where we now have a home) for over a week in mid January.

    In the shack we had a wood stove and a few years later propane for light and cooking. We used it summer and winter for a little over 10 years. We showered by heating water on a campfire and pouring it into solar shower bag which we would hang from a tree

    I started to build the house on weekends in 1992 using a generator to make the saw cuts and we started using the basement of the house instead of the shack but relied on candles, lanterns and flashlights for light. We got electricity in 1995 so we had a well dug, one of the first circuits I installed. A year or so later I installed a water heater. What luxury!

    When we retired and moved into the house permanently in 1998 we were set up in the basement like a small apartment minus the toilet. We still had the outhouse. During the winter my wife would take a warm towel with a hole in the middle when she went out to “the little house”.

    The next project I was told to work on by “she who must be obeyed” was the bathroom.

    I am blessed to have a wife who enjoys the outdoors as much as I do and is patient with me as I slowly work on my projects. Our house is nearly complete. Yes it’s taken me over 20 years, I am currently installing the trim work on the inside doors and windows but flooring will be the big thing in 2017. We had sheet rock installed in 2005, prior to that my wife would go into someone’s home and tell them she was envious of their sheet rock!


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