Give Me Tenderloin or Give Me Death

In light of the Smithfield plant closure in Sioux Falls, I decided to make a pork run yesterday. I mean, we can’t be running out of bacon now, can we?!

Actually, bacon isn’t even the issue. I was looking for pork loin and chops. What can I say? We’re big fans of The Other White Meat™. The selection was decent, so apparently mass pornic (pork panic) hasn’t set in yet. We’ll be enjoying carnitas and mesquite grilled pork chops when the rest of the world is stuck with frozen pizza and Top Ramen!

As an aside, grocery store shopping has gotten really weird lately, huh? Every time you think they can’t possibly make the whole experience any more unpleasant, they manage to make the whole experience more unpleasant. This week, Safeway and Family Fare have added arrows to control the traffic flow, essentially turning aisles into one-way streets. You would think the fact that these arrows are gigantic and bright red would prevent me from going the wrong way, but…nope.

Every. Single. Time.

Drawing the ire of shoppers who are apparently much better at paying attention to these things than I.

Can I just say how thankful I am that my parents so generously bought us a freezer for a housewarming gift last summer? It has come in handy far more than we ever would have anticipated. At the time it seemed like an appliance that would be nice to have for our twice-yearly stocking-up-from-Trader-Joe’s trips to Fort Collins, but now that baby is pretty full. Not just with pork, but lots of other things, too. When we first got the freezer, Tara filled empty containers with water and stuck them in there to keep it cooler and more energy-efficient when the shelves were bare, but I think we’re at the point now where we can get rid of those blocks of ice.

Bomb Shelter or Basement?

One of our house goals this summer is to start a garden. Because winter lasts forever here (seriously: today is the fifth day in a row it has snowed!), planting anything has to wait until mid-May at the earliest. To combat this, Tara ordered what can only be described as a “metric shit ton” of seeds and jury-rigged a rather elaborate grow lab in the utility room of our basement. We’re talking tomatoes, bell peppers, tomatillos, lemon cucumbers, lettuce, snap peas, herbs, flowers, and probably another half-dozen things I am forgetting. All legal, I might add!

The whole thing seems very haphazard and I was skeptical at first; I’ve never had luck with seeds before—my only gardening experience has involved planting vegetable starts—but, I’ll be damned if things aren’t growing like crazy. So much so that she’s going to have to transplant a lot of these starts into bigger containers soon. Like, this weekend.


Considering that the whole contraption looks like something MacGyver would have put together on a wing and a prayer, I’m impressed.

I turn on the lights every morning when I get up and turn them off right before bedtime, so they’re getting about 16 hours of light every day. Tara is watering them and doing whatever else it is she does. I don’t really know; the utility room is mostly her domain. I only ever duck in there to fetch pork from the freezer.

Between the meat-filled freezer and the ramshackle grow lab, our basement is beginning to feel a bit like a fallout shelter.

We’ve also got our well-stocked liquor closet down there, so if push came to shove I’d be perfectly content hanging out down there until the mushroom clouds dissipate or we get a handle on this whole COVID-19 thing.


Whichever comes first.

Categories: Daily Life, Food

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31 replies

  1. Growing up in orderly Switzerland in the 70s I am familiar with arrows. Not in stores, on zebra stripes on the street. And this is before the time people cross the street with eyes glued to their phones. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought about going to the grocery today to get some pork while it still existed, but slothiness won out and I didn’t. I am envious of your liquor supply. I didn’t think to buy ahead and we’re close to being inadvertent members of AA. Not thrilled by this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wait… you think we’ll be “stuck with” frozen pizzas? Dude, it is sold out all the time already. Even the worst and crappiest brands (not naming names) – it’s weird.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So impressed by the plants! Well done, Tara!
    But then I saw the booze… That takes the kale.
    Not that you planted kale, but I was going for a bit of word play there. You get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark, I am sooooooooooooooo impressed with the grow lab in your utility room. That’s AMAZING!!! It looks so well-organized, not to mention robust in growth. VERY impressive! I have absolutely no talent for growing anything except nose hair. 🙂

    Loving your liquor closet as well. WOW! Which reminds, me I need to go to Whole Foods today to get more red wine.

    Have a superb weekend, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have absolutely no talent for growing anything except nose hair.

      Funny stuff, Ron. Too bad you can’t run off and join the circus or something…really take advantage of that talent!

      Speaking of red wine, how’d you like the Bogle, by the way?


  6. My husband was concerned about the pork shortage, but our grocer gets pork from Indiana, so I guess we’re good? We also just did the ice ball in a bag thing because of the tornado predictions, but I guess it went south of here. I was going to be upset if my fully stocked quarantine freezer lost power.

    Those plants are huge! We start seeds here in March and plants are still quite small.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I miss basements. So much storage space! In SoCal, there’s no need for them since it never freezes. Makes the house half the square footage. We only have crawl spaces under the house, which are kind of terrifying. (I did whole blog posts on “What Lies Below.”)

    On the other hand, my husband has a greenhouse in the backyard and our tomatoes are already planted.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, this is great. The growing things–and also the booze! You’re totally ready for the End Times. Oh wait, too late. Here we are! I have a lot of family around Fort Collins. I’d travel to the moon for Trader Joe’s and really wish I’d stocked up before all this isolation stuff. We’re relying on grocery delivery, which is spotty at best, and takeout wings and blue cheese. I don’t recommend this diet. Thanks for visiting over at my blog. Following here. Best of luck with the plants and everything else!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you. I’m following you, too!

      I’d considered grocery delivery, but it isn’t available in Rapid City. At least not yet. I’m just going to have to learn how to navigate those aisles better in the meantime!

      We love visiting Fort Collins. Were supposed to go this month, but…
      …well. You know.


  9. That’s a neat garden set up! I am impressed!
    We miss our deep freeze. We sold it with our last Indiana home since we literally did not know what kind of space we’d have on Army base. We have not yet bought one and make do, but we do keep talking about buying another one….
    I saw the news about the Smithfield plant. Tsk.
    I’ll drink to your fallout shelter 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Pork, crops, and liquor. What more does a person need?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Impressive alcohol collection. And I thought I was doing well with a corny keg of homebrew on hand.

    Liked by 2 people


  1. The Final Frontier – Swinged Cat
  2. Not-So-Dandy Lion – Swinged Cat
  3. Mob Mentality – Swinged Cat
  4. 99 Bottles of Beer on the Floor – Swinged Cat
  5. Oh, Shoot! – Swinged Cat

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