Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Our annual winter solstice celebration is about to begin. We'll be serving roast pork and hot spiced apple juice (both from our farm), along with the usual snack-y foods and other drinks. This is a potluck and the quality and amount of food that shows up is astounding! Our friends like to cook (and eat)!

This year we've raised our jersey heifer calf (pictured - now sold to the dairy farmer across the street as a present to his teen-age son), more than a dozen pigs (with our pork co-op), three "pet" ducks (now two, thanks to an eagle), twenty-five meat chickens, half-a-dozen new laying hens (just starting to lay!) and many, many sheep (I think we're up to 18). We just got our yarn back from the mill in two shades of fawn, as well as shaela and moorit. It is just beautiful! I've designed a hat to show it off (a picture will come soon).

Come back, Sun! Let the festivities begin!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An original knitting design

Here is an offering - an original knitting design (yes, designed by me) based on some classic dress designs for children and adapted for knitting (and my tastes). To be honest, I also had the urge to use up some yarn I had laying around and this seemed the perfect use of it.

Feel free to knit this design and to tell your friends about this blog so that they can print *one* copy for themselves.

Anyway, here is the pattern. I call it Maemie after my great aunt Maemie, sister to my grandfather. Maemie's real name was Mary and she was born at the very, very end of the 19th century. She lived well into her 90s and I remember her well. She had been a modern girl in her time and was very fashionable. I think that this dress is reminiscent of those times, the teens and early twenties of the 20th century.


With some extra yarn I had laying around the house and a little girl anxious for a new dress I designed this A-line jumper with simple color-pattern details and a matching tam. This is a fairly quick project which looks impressive but is easy to modify to suit your (or your child’s) tastes and moods. I like old-fashioned but timeless looking clothing for my daughter and have found that the best way to achieve this look is by designing and sewing and/or knitting the clothing myself. We live in the Pacific Northwest where it is damp and cool for a lot of the year. Wool is the fiber of choice for my outdoor girl – it can get damp, or even wet, and still feel warm. I only knit jumpers (versus dresses with sleeves) because while it is cool here it is rarely cold and I want to be able to choose her blouse or shirt to correspond with the weather or circumstances.

Photo credit [model/Samara, photographer/Ellen Lebitz]


Children’s size 4[6, 8]


Chest: 24[26,28] inches
Length: 24.25[26.75, 29.25] inches


To fit head sizes: 20.5[21, 21.5] inches


[MC] Lion Brand Yarn Fishermen’s Wool [100% wool; 465 yd/425 m per 8 oz/227 g skein]; color: Nature’s Brown; 1 [2, 2] skeins
[CC1] Patons Classic Wool [100% wool; 223 yd/205 m per 3.5 oz/100g skein]; color: Natural mix; 1 [1, 1] skein

[CC2] Patons Classic Wool [100% wool; 223 yd/205 m per 3.5 oz/100g skein]; color: Cognac heather; 1 [1, 1] skein

1 set(s) US #3/3.25mm double-point needles

16-inch US #3/3.25mm circular needle

24-inch US #3/3.25mm circular needle

4 markers, one a different color

Stitch holders or contrasting yarn and yarn needle to hold stitches

Sharp yarn needle for weaving in loose ends


16 sts/23.5 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch


This pattern has two optional features inspired by the designs of Elizabeth Zimmermann; the phoney seam and the afterthought pocket. The phoney seam is described at the appropriate place in the pattern and the afterthought pocket is described at the end.

The pattern also features applied I-cord trim, also described at the end of the pattern.


(color pattern charts will be added within the next few days. I need to change their format in order to upload them)

Jumper [beginning at the bottom of the main part]

With MC and circular needles CO 120[128, 136] sts and join being careful not to twist.

Rnds 1 – 2: With MC k.

Rnds 3 – 7: K pattern as indicated in chart A.

Rnds 8 – 11: With MC k, using markers to define front and bac with 3 “side seam” sts as follows:

(beginning of rnd)K2, marker, K57[61, 65] for back of garment, marker, k3, marker, k57[61, 65] for front of garment, marker, k1 (end of rnd)

For size 4:

Rnd 12 (and all future inc rnds): K2, pass marker, SSK, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, pass marker, k3, pass marker, SSK, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, k1 (116 sts).

Rnds 13 – 55: K every rnd, dec (as in rnd 12) in rnds 23, (112 sts), 34 (108 sts), 45 (104 sts).

For size 6:

Rnd 14 (and all future inc rnds): K2, pass marker, SSK, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, pass marker, k3, pass marker, SSK, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, k1 (124 sts).

Rnds 15 – 63: K every rnd, dec (as in rnd 14) in rnds 27, (112 sts), 39 (108 sts), 51 (112 sts).

For size 8:

Rnd 16 (and all future inc rnds): K2, pass marker, SSK, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, pass marker, k3, pass marker, ssk, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, k1 (132 sts).

Rnds 17 – 71: K every rnd, dec (as in rnd 16) in rnds 31, (112 sts), 45 (108 sts), 59(120 sts).

All sizes:

Note: Optional “phoney seam” is inserted at this point. See pattern notes. rnd 56[64, 72]: With CC1, k 1 rnd

Rnd 57[65, 73]: With CC1, k, dec as in rnd 12 (100[108, 116] sts).

Rnds 58 – 66[66 – 74, 74 – 82]: K in pattern indicated in chart B.

Rnds 67 – 68[75 – 76, 83 – 84]: With CC1, k.

Rnd 69[77, 83]: Change to MC, k, dec as in rnd 12[14, 16] (96[104, 112] sts).

Rnds 70 – 83[89,95]: K.

Rnd 84[90,96]: K90[98,106], p6.

Rnd 85[91,97]: P7, k35[39,43], p13, k41[45,49].

Rnd 86[92,98]: K89[97,105], p7.

Rnd 87[93,99]: P8, k33[37,41], p15, k40[44,48].

Rnd 88: K88[96,104], p4, p4 and put sts on holder.

Rnd 89: P5 and put sts on holder with previous for sts, p4, k31[35,39], p4, p9 and put on holder.

Beginning of back of bodice:

Right side facing and continuing is same direction as above:

Row 1: P4, k to end of row (39[43,47] sts), turn (you will now be working back and forth. The other 39[43,47] sts for the front of the bodice can be put on a thread or holder for later).

Row 2: (For first stitch of every remaining row worked back and forth slip with the yarn in front, move yarn to back and proceed with row) Slip 1, k2tog, k2, p to within 4 sts of end of row, k4, turn (38[42,46] sts).

Row 3: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (37[41,45] sts).

Row 4: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (36[40,44] sts).

Row 5: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (35[39,43] sts).

Row 6: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (34[38,42] sts).

Row 7: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (33[37,41] sts).

Row 8: Slip 1, k2tog, k7, k13[17,21] and put on holder, k10, turn.

Back strap

Now working back and forth on strap with right side facing knitter:

Row 1: Slip 1, k2tog, k7, turn (9 sts).

Row 2: Slip 1, k2tog, k6, turn (8 sts).

Rows 3 – 32: K every row with no shaping, remembering to slip the first stitch of every row.

Put sts on holder and work the second back strap similarly.

Front of bodice

Put the 39[43,37] sts for the front bodice from the holder onto a needle and with the right side facing the knitter:

Row 1: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (38[42,46] sts).

Row 2: Slip 1, k2tog, k2, p to within last 4 sts, k4, turn (37[41,45] sts).

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until 33[37,41] sts remain and then work even (without dec) for 7 more garter ridges (14 rows) ending with a right-side row.

Neck shaping:

Beginning with wrong side facing kter:

Row 1: Slip 1, k3, p4, k17[21,25], p4, k4, turn.

Row 2: Slip 1, k to end of row, turn.

Row 3: Slip 1, k3, p3, k19[23,27], p3, k4, turn.

Row 4: Slip 1, k to end of row, turn.

Row 5: Slip 1, k3, p2, k4, k13[17,21] and put on holder, k4, p2, k4, turn.

Front strap:

With right side facing knitter:

Row 1: Slip 1, k to end of row, turn (10 sts).

Row 2: Slip 1, k2tog, k2, p1, k4, turn (9 sts).

Row 3: Slip 1, k to end of row, turn.

Row 4: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (8 sts).

Rows 5 – 12: K every row with no shaping, remembering to slip the first stitch of every row.

Put sts on holder and work the second front strap similarly remembering to do the shaping only on the neck edge.

Bottom ruffle:

From bottom edge of skirt PU 120[128,136] of the CO sts and work back and forth as follows:

Row 1: [K2, m1] repeat to end, turn.

Rows 2 - 20: K, turn.

CO and use mattress stitch to sew seam.


Join the front and back straps using 3-needle cast off.

Finishing openings with applied I-cord:

Slipping the first stitch of each back and forth row with the yarn in front creates a pretty braided edge which conveniently supplies one “stitch” to be picked up for every two rows (every one garter row) which is perfect for applied I-cord. For the neck opening begin at the middle back and pick up 8 or so “live” stitches from the holder as well as a couple of edge stitches and make applied I-cord trim. Continue around opening picking up one thread of each braided edge stitch (one stitch every two rows or every one garter ridge). Continue around neck, picking up live stitches at front of neck opening and then up and down the next strap until you come to where you began. Graft the beginning and the end together.

Similarly finish the armholes beginning at the middle of the underarm. The I-cord keeps the straps from stretching too much from the weight of the dress.

Afterthought pocket:

Make an EZ afterthought pocket by snipping one stitch where you want the center of the top of the pocket to begin. I did my pocket 4 rows below and 12 stitches over from the side seam on the front of the dress. Unravel 8 stitches (for on each side of the snip) on top and bottom.

With the 8 stitches on the bottom of the opening knit a placket in garter stitch for 3 ridges. Cast off and tack down sides.

With the stitches from the top edge plus one stitch picked up from each edge of the opening (10 stitches total) knit in stockinette stitch keeping first 2 stitches in garter stitch and increasing 1 stitch at the beginning of each row 6 times (16 stitches). Knit for 2.5 inches total keeping first two stitches in garter stitch. Knit 3 ridges in garter stitch.

Tuck pocket to the inside of the dress and tack down edges and “live” bottom stitches.

Possible modifications:

Put the pocket on the front bodice. The placket can be knit in one of the contrast colors.

To lengthen the dress as your child grows, add length via the ruffle. Just pick up the cast off stitches and make a few more rows.


Beginning at bottom edge with 16 inch circular needle and CC1 CO 74[76, 78] sts. Knit back and forth in garter stitch for 3 ridges. With right sides facing join to knit around, being careful not to twist.

Knit 2 rows in CC1.

Next 9 rounds: With CC1 and CC2, knit pattern C.

Next: With CC1, knit 2 rounds.

Increase round:

Size 4: With MC, m1*k2, m1*37 times around (112 stitches).

Size 5: With MC, k2*k2, m1*36 times, k2 (112 stitches).

Size 6: With MC, m1, k1, m1, k1, m1*k2, m1*38 times (119 stitches).

For all sizes: With MC work even for 2[2, 2.5] inches.


Rnd 1:*K15[15,16], k2tog* around (105[105, 112] sts).

Rnd 2: Knit.

Rnd 3: *K14[14,15], k2tog* around (98[98, 105] sts).

Rnd 4: Knit.

Rnd 5: *K13[13, 14], k2tog* around (91[91,98] sts).

Rnd 6: Knit.

Rnd 7: *K12[12, 13], k2tog* around (84[84, 91] sts).

Rnd 8: Knit.

Switch to double pointed needles when necessary, and decrease as above every remaining round until there are seven stitches remaining. Cut yarn, feed tail through remaining stitches and pull tight. Weave loose end in well.

Make pompom in MC and sew onto top.

Dampen and block over a plate or other circular base.

A friend in graduate school gave Ellen her first knitting lessons as a birthday gift over 20 years ago. Along with that gift came a used book discarded from the library on the topic of traditional knitting. Both gifts have been used on an almost daily basis ever since! When Ellen isn’t knitting (and sometimes even when she is) she can be found hanging out with her family on their farm in the Pacific NW.

copyright 2010 Ellen Lebitz, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to utilize the pattern for personal use only. If you are interested in using the pattern for a commercial use please contact Ellen Lebitz.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Haldan Farm Chicken Pot Pie

Yesterday I was able to successfully turn what started out as a cold and windy day into a beautiful sunny warm day simply by planning a meal more appropriate for the morning weather. Alas, by planning a cold-weather meal I was able to guarantee a warm day!

Despite the beautiful weather everyone loved the meal. For some, it was possibly the first non-commercial, non-frozen pot pie they had ever had.

Here it is:

Haldan Farm Chicken Pot Pie

2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 t salt
6 - 8 T very cold butter cut into 1 T chunks (fresh from your own cow is great)
2/3 cups buttermilk (again, fresh from your own cow is best)
Egg wash made with one yolk and 1 to 2 T water.

In a food processor, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add all but 2 T of the butter and pulse until looks like meal. Add rest of the butter and pulse just enough to barely chop. Add buttermilk all at once and pulse until the dough is soft and shaggy and just comes together. Form into a ball with as little handling as possible, wrap and put in the refrigerator.

1 whole chicken (home-raised, if possible)
2 cups fresh peas (home-raised, if possible. Rinse frozen ones could be used in an emergency)
1 cup diced carrots (home-raised, if possible. It was not possible for us this year - the slugs got to all of them!)
2 cups 1/2 inch diced "boiling" or new potatoes (home-raised...)
1 T salt, or to taste
black pepper
1 t cumin
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but we like the boost it gives to the gravy)
2 stalks coarsely chopped celery

Wash chicken and put into a pot. Cover with water, add celery, and cook for about an hour and a half, or until the chicken is well-cooked. Don't over cook.

Let the chicken cool slightly, remove the chicken from the pot, and then let cool some more. When it is cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bones and cut into 3/4 inch (more or less) cubes. From a large-ish chicken you should have about 1 1/2 pounds of chicken meat, slightly more than 4 cups. Cover the meat and refrigerate.

Strain the stock and discard celery. You need about six cups of stock. Feel free to have more if you want more gravy. Add the salt to the stock and cook the vegetables in the salted stock until they are just done. Meanwhile...

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a separate heavy-bottomed pot melt about 6 ounces of butter. Add about 6-7 T of flour and stir to make a roux. Add the hot stock and vegetables and stir until thick and bubbly. Mix the nutritional yeast with some water in a bowl or jar and add the dissolved nutritional yeast to the gravy. Add the cumin and black pepper. Add the chicken and cook until hot.

Pour the filling into a large pan for baking (I used a 9x11 inch pyrex dish). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to cover the pan with slightly overhanging edges. Trim dough to about 1/2 inch over the edge of the pan and flute to decorate and to help hold it onto the pan. Make an egg wash (with your home-raised eggs, of course) with one egg yolk and a T or two of water. Brush the egg wash on the dough. Cut many vent holes. Put into the preheated oven. Cook about 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. Serve immediately.

Makes about 8 or more servings.

Some tips:
The filling must be bubbling *before* you add the crust or the crust will be too hard and overdone before the filling is cooked. You can use less pots and pans by making the filling in a large cast iron (as pictured) or other pot and put the crust right on top of that and stick it in the oven.

To make it ahead make the filling and refrigerate. Make the dough and refrigerate. Right before serving heat the filling to bubbling before topping with the crust and baking. All can be made a day in advance.

You can substitute half of the flour with whole-wheat flour. Add a little more buttermilk.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

All Cows Eat Grass

That's what Mrs. Sateika told me. She was my childhood piano teacher. Or it might have been Mr. Finney who first clued me into the cow diet. He was my very first piano teacher, though not for long. He was very old and I think that he died shortly after I began lessons. So it was more likely Mrs. Sateika. Of course it was in reference to learning the notes of the spaces of the bass clef (A,C,E,G) and not, really, about cows at all.

I suppose that it is good that I really didn't know what cows ate (at least cows raised in commercial dairies). It wouldn't have contributed to my abilities to read music. There is no "H" note. The "H" refers to haylige. What, you may ask, is haylige? Well, it is silage made of hay instead of corn. Around here (the Pacific NW) this is what is most commonly fed to dairy cows, as well as grain and straight hay.

Yes, there are a few lucky herds who get to occasionally graze. But this is not the norm.

When we got Rustina she was living in a dairy barn and had not been outdoors for all of her milking life. After she came to live on Haldan Farm we kept her, at first, in a coral and a small barn-like shelter. She could go outdoors, but the coral had no grass though she got very good at sticking her head through the fence to graze around the edges of the coral. We fed her hay and supplemented with some alfalfa and a small amount of grain at milking time. We didn't know her and were not ready to allow her to go out to pasture for fear that we wouldn't be able to get her back in!

This spring we've been able to have her on pasture. It has been an enlightening experience. If All Cows Eat Grass was true the world would be a different place. Milk from a cow on pasture is completely different from anything any of us have ever tried. The cream is yellow from the grass. The butter is so yellow that I said the other day that if I bought butter this yellow I'd return it and accuse the company which made it of using too much anatto coloring. The yogurt is so good it is hard to stop eating.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The cow spa

When we got our cow we wondered if we weren't a little bit bonkers. Getting a cow is a huge commitment in time, energy, and presence. We already feel badly when we depend upon friends and neighbors to feed and water chickens, sheep, and pigs and do minimal management of our garden if we go away, but to ask someone to learn to and then actually milk a cow seemed ludicrous! Well, we never even got to the point of asking someone to learn to milk - people have been coming out of the woodwork *asking* to milk our cow! So many people love our cow (she is pretty lovable) and her products (they certainly are yummy!) and are very interested in how it all works. Woo hoo!

Joann Grohman in her book "Keeping a Family Cow" extolls the benefits of keeping a cow to the point that it all sounds so unreal. How could this one animal do all that she says? She is right, though. To have a cow is to have wealth. We are awash in dairy products which, besides providing food for the humans on our farm, also provide nutrition for our chickens and pigs. For the humans, besides liquid milk, we make the creamiest and most delicious yogurt, ice cream, butter, soft cheeses (cream cheese, cottage cheese and others) as well as hard cheeses (gouda, romano, and others), sour cream, buttermilk, and ghee. We give away a lot of ice cream. We laugh when we think that most families make ice cream one or two times a year, but we make ice cream one or two times a week! We have a condition in our house called "dairy-itis," which is when you open the house refrigerator and nearly everything in it is a dairy product. We have taken to awarding "points" to anyone who finishes a container of dairy product. We don't actually keep track of the points, but it is a moment of pride when you take that last bit of milk from the bottle or use that last piece of butter and you can exclaim "I get a point!"

Our cow, Rustina, came from a local dairy. She had given birth to one calf successfully, but had lost a second calf part-way through a pregnancy. At the time she lost the calf she was still lactating from the first birth and so the dairy continued to milk her. After a while, though, her production fell to the point where it was costing a lot more money to raise her than she was getting for her milk. As a side note, nearly all cows cost more money to raise than they earn from their milk which is why dairy farmers get subsidies, but Rustina was costing *a lot* more money since her production, after 450 days of lactation, was pretty low (well, low for a dairy).

We bought her for relatively little money. She was living in a dairy barn and hadn't been outside since she had started to give milk. When she first arrived she was a little out of sorts - she didn't remember the great outdoors. She was very dirty and it took several days of brushing her before each milking before she began to look clean. What a beauty she was!

We joke that we have a cow spa because we brush her before each milking, during seasons with flies we put a non-toxic, made for humans, body oil on her which (in theory) repels flies, and she gets to be out in our pasture happily chomping every day. She has a new calf and they graze together, sleep together, and just hang out together. She is very social and the calf has greatly increased her happiness. She thanks us by providing a shocking amount of milk which is unbelievably creamy.

Our biggest problem now is what to do with her beautiful heifer calf. We thought, originally, that we could just sell her, presumably to a dairy, as she is quite valuable (she is 15/16ths Jersey). We find that we will not be able to do that. We could not put her in that situation. I think our only option is to find a situation for her similar to ours - where someone wants a cow or two and is compelled (by their own desire) to have a "cow spa" of their own. Only then could we feel comfortable selling her. In lieu of that we'll just keep her.

The butter we make, since putting Rustina on pasture, has gotten so yellow! I looks as if I've dyed it, but it is just the result of the grass. Here is how we do it:

After milking the cow we strain the milk into one gallon glass jars and put them in the refrigerator to chill. After a day or two there is a clear cream line where the cream has risen and separated from the skim milk. There are actually two layers of cream though they aren't visible from the outside of the jar. The top layer is a thick layer of "heavy" cream. We remove this first with a small ladle into another jar. The next layer of cream is "light" cream which is much thinner and this goes into a different jar.

The heavy cream is what we use for butter. To one quart of heavy cream we add about 1/4 cup of cultured buttermilk, put the lid on the jar, and let it sit for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours at cool room temperature (if it is hot out we might reduce this considerably or find a cool location).

After that time the cream should have a distinctive, nice, cultured smell. We pour this cream into our stand mixer which is outfitted with the whisk attachment. We mix it on medium to high speed for just a few minutes until we can see clearly that the butter has separated from the buttermilk. It looks like butter particles swimming in buttermilk.

We strain the butter with a small mesh strainer and put the buttermilk into a jar in store it in the refrigerator. It is cultured buttermilk, now, and can be used to inoculate more cream and also can be used for baking.

We put the butter back in the stand mixer bowl, add cool water and stir to wash the butter. We want to get all of the buttermilk out of the butter because this is what makes butter spoil. We strain and repeat this until the water is clear.

Next, we transfer the butter to a wooden board and begin to knead it with a wooden paddle. The goal is to get all of the water out of the butter. We knead and knead until we are tired of kneading or until it seems that all of the water is out. We add a small amount of salt, knead that in, and then form the butter into a block with the wooden paddle. The butter is wrapped in wax paper, labeled with the date, and stored in the freezer until we need it.

Homemade butter from fresh cream is an experience not to be missed. Thank you, Rustina!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"I'll do it myself," said the little red hen...

What do you do with old hens? You make delicious sausage!

During the summer of 2009 we raised meat birds. When it came time to butcher them we thought we'd also do some of our old hens who were no longer laying. Old hens are not very good to eat - they are tough and stringy. They are good, though, for making stock. We butchered about six of them and put them in the freezer.

I've been mulling over the idea of using old hens to make sausage for a couple of years and today I tried it. Wow! It really works and is the best use of old hen I've found yet. I made up my own recipe utilizing standard sausage ratios of fat, salt, and meat.

Here it is:

600 grams of chicken meat, trimmed of all fat and sinew and diced
300 grams of pork back fat, diced
20 grams of kosher salt (this might be a bit too much salt for some people. You might want to start with about 16 grams and add more after you taste the sample (see below)
just under 1 gram of ground black pepper
24 grams (dry weight) of dried tomatoes, soaked in boiling water, drained, and chopped fine
24 grams of basil pesto (basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts ground together)

Mix all of the above together and refrigerate.

Chill until ice cold 24 grams *each* of red wine vinegar, olive oil, and dry red wine.

Grind the meat mixture using a 1/8" die into the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the ice-cold liquids and mix for about 2 minutes until the mixture looks sticky.

Make a very small patty, cook in a pan, taste and adjust the seasoning. If it doesn't seem like it has enough salt, add a few more grams to the mixture now, after tasting.

Use a sausage stuffer and about 4 feet of hog casings (soaked and rinsed for at least 30 minutes) to stuff the sausages. Alternately, you could just use this like bulk sausage and not stuff it into casings.

Because this sausage contains poultry it needs to be cooked to a temperature of about 165 degrees F.

I have only tasted this sausage as a sample bit (it had very good taste), but I plan on cooking the stuffed sausage by braising it in a pan, covered, for about 20 minutes, drain the water and then pan fry them slowly to brown them.

My 4 and 7 year old, looking at the finished sausages in the tray, admired them and thought that they looked like "real" (i.e. store-bought) sausages!