Monthly Archives: July 2013

Pig News!

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aaaaaannnd its at this point I realize I’m really bad at drawing with the computer so im just going to stop and say Rosie is starting to show. She has babies in her. yay! Her belly is starting to hang low and he hips are hallowing out. She seems pretty happy in her second trimester. She is also much happier to have a companion with her. Rosie and Peppercorn have begun to utilize the woods, and are trying to cuddle with the other two sisters, Sweetheart and Dot, through the fenceline.

My niece was going to auction off Dot, but I do believe her to be pregnant and since she only bought one pig I am thinking to keep Dot and let her farrow.  Free piglets, why not, and HOW CAN YOU KILL A PREGNANT “WOMAN”?! Then again, she is a little young to be pregnant so maybe she’d be better off just being auctioned and slaughtered? I am keeping an eye on her for the next few weeks to decide if shes better off dead or alive.

Decisions, decisions. Anyway, I’m enjoy checking on Rosie everyday since she now seems to be getting bigger. It makes me happy since she had such a hard time getting pregnant THEN was almost impossible to tell if she was or wasn’t.

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Everyday More Exciting

Sadly I am without camera, but suffice to day this mornings garden walk about had me very excited. Of the things I have planted I have:

lots of turnips

many tomatoes set

about 6 or 7 eggplants with fruit set

Jalapenos

Bush beans are coming along. Snap pea snacks shall give way to string beans….ahhh…reminds me of summer visiting my grandparents in Nebraska.

Corn is getting taller

Zucchinni is starting to go nuts. (makes great pig food when you let the fruit get too big)

Of the things I did not plant:

Lots of kabocha! yippee!

More tomatoes (?!)

What I thought were sweet peppers are actually looking to be tomatillos. Way better.

Blackberries bushes look set to help me make lots of jam and cobbler.

I discovered an apple tree in the back pasture: hope it turns out tasty!

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But its not all fun and games: I have lots of work to do. I still need to mulch the garden with the used straw in the barn. I need to feriltilize the front garden. Clear out the dead peas and replant. Replant lettuce. Put in my arugula and collards. and weed. I probably should weed….but I’ve kinda given up on that front.

This years garden has been an actual success so I’m looking forwards to next year already! I WILL have cucumbers and edamame. Possibly some dry beans. Might try more types of eggplant. hopefully my broccoli will do better, as will my fruit trees.

Something Offal

I’m not big on organ meat and the last time I had liver it was pretty terrible. But I don’t want to waste my boys so my mom cooked up the pig liver (2 pigs yielded 10-15 lbs!) assuring me it would be better than beef.

 

It was. It was almost….tasty. The liver after-taste was so mild and I could feel the fat melting on my tongue. On the side he had home grown turnips and turnip greens. 70% of my meal was grown at my place. Makes me feel pretty good to be able to provide food for me AND my family.

They say it takes a few times of trying something to like a new flavor. I think eventually I will really like pig liver. Maybe next time I will scarf it down. In the mean time….anyone want some liver? I still have a couple pounds.

the Deed is Done

Since I was a child and I realized meat was actually muscle and there was no part on the animal that was just grown as “meat” I started to think differently about animal consumption. Somehow that realization made meat all the more real: like i was eating their very essence. From that point on I started to believe that if one eats meat they need to somehow be involved in the animal: preferably all the way to slaughter. At least once to really understand and be grateful for its sacrifice. Thus where I am today: farmer.

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I believe the boys had a good life. They did everything a pig could want: eat, sleep, play, forage, explore, cuddle, make friends and have sex. It was a full 6 months of life (6 months today!)

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I feel good about how they were treated…but it was time to go. They were starting to get a little big and a little pushy. Gorby knocked me over for cuddles which is cute now, but not later at 800 lbs. Wilbur I sold half to some friends, so he had to be slaughtered and processesed with a USDA stamp of approval. This morning the plan was to kill Wilbur and later I would do Gorbechev. I got up and took some pictures with the first animal I’ve raised and slaughtered.Image

I tried to get some selfies….Image

it was hard with him moving everywhereImage

Dang it. At least Gorby looks handsome

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Finally I got a good picture!

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Last minute we decided to include Gorby…but before that decision I broke my camera. Crap. So no pictures of me and Gorby cuddling. 😦 I also wanted pictures of the slaughter process, but alas, i was stupid. —

The slaughter guy showed up late, but no matter. The boys were ready to go. asked if he wanted to use grain and the fellow felt it was unnessecary. He honed in on Wilbur who was curious at the man in rubber pants with the big machine behind him. As he pulled the trigger Wilbur moved and he missed the brain. Wilbur squealed and ran off: all the other pigs got alerted and worried. Rosie was on the other side of the fence Wilbur had run to and she watched the slaughterer take another shot and bleed out. All the animals were watching. The sheep were staring wide eyed. Rosie? I’m not sure what she thought, but last i checked she was cuddling with her kids in the woods.

That was not how I wanted it to go. I was rather upset, but he did die pretty quick after the second shot. Gorby was concerned: he wanted to get out of there! I let Gorby settle down and the fellow process Wilbur before we did Gorby. Gorby came back up to me and I fed him some grain.This time the shot landed in the right spot and there was not even a squeal.

I can’t imagine spending all day every day killing animals for a living, at some point it must warp you. While the fellow was fine I felt like he did brush off animals intelligence a bit. “Aw, pig’s forget fast.” “It don’t bother them if they watch: they don’t know whats going on. After the first one they want to start eating up the blood.” From what I observe animals do know something about death. I am sorry Rosie had to see her son die. Rosie has been anxious the past few days, so I hope she can forgive me and not see me as implicit in the murder. I wanted to kill him out of everyone else’s sight, but the slaughter felt it unnecessary.

Overall, I feel good about it. Wilbur’s trauma did not last long Gorby didn’t know what hit him. I will be grateful for every bite I take, but feel guiltless because they had a wonderful life. I was there from the moment that were born to the moment they died. They died 100 yards from where they were born exactly 6 months ago. And I can say now: I truely know what goes on into the making of meat. Its not a magical product that appears plastic wrapped in the grocery store. It was a life. A being. A personality. A spirit. And I am grateful for what I have taken from them. I will always love my little boys, and they will become part of me. I will literally always carry a little bit of Wilbur and Gorbachev in me.

(….and with all the bacon it will probably end up carried in my heart! Now that’s love!)

Cosmic Comedy Gold

I’ve had issues with animals escaping. there was a section of fence that ended at the hillside and the ram found out about this and started making a daily sojourn to the neighbors yard. Then one of the pigs learned of this and started joining in the exploratory activities. Apparently while I was at work she visited the neighbors all, one of whom are rather terrified to have a 200 lb pig in her yard. I got that fence patched up some a few weeks ago.

Last night I asked my neighbors if there had been any escapees lately: “Oh no! No…actually, they’ve all been good and staying inside.” Just as they are saying this I look out to my house and see lambs.

In my driveway. Not the pasture I left them in.

 

*sigh* The comedic timing, Universe, was impeccable.

The Farm Family

If the animals on a far were all one family I can tell you who is what:

Pigs, first of all, are clearly the teenagers on the farm. Always hungry, likely to sleep in. If they don’t get their way they will raise a ruckus and talk back.

Sheep are like the too sweet, perfect calm sister who does what she’s told(ish) so you kinda wanna pull her pony tail and make her cry.

Goats are the annoying hyperactive cousin that really don’t want around but have to deal with because, fine, he’s your cousin.

Chickens wake up at the butt-crack of dawn and let you know they are awake.  Clearly the toddlers of the farm. f

Cows? Okay, I don’t have enough experience with cows, maybe your sister who got married so he really doesn’t much to do with the other animals but she’s still hanging around doing her thing. Maybe?

 

Anyway, this all started with the fact the pigs are still asleep and its breakfast time. What a happy thing for them to wake up to.