It really is an amazing feeling to set the table and serve your friends fine food. Even more amazing when you look at the food on the table and see it is all from your land, from your work, from the life you have cultivated around you.
I would publicly like to thank the pigs, sheep, turnips, and eggplants for giving us a lovely meal, but I doubt any of those creatures I listed read my blog.
A pity I don’t have a camera. By the time my barn is done its going to look great…at the moment not so much. Pole style barns with metal walls are great: cheap and quick to put up. Problem with them is they don’t stand up to the pressures of livestock very well. Case in point: Rosie and her piglets punched several sheets out. I screwed them back in (a plus! easy to repair!) put they proceeded to punch them back out, Grrrr.
The solution is easy enough: line the barn walls with plywood where the animals will be. Together my mother and I spent saturday afternoon cleaning up and lining the walls. Sunday we spent putting cement pier pads in, then erected 4 support posts for the rafters. Amazingly, it looks more like a real barn now! I can start building stalls and walls off the posts.
I still havent bought my hay for the winter since I don’t have a safe place to keep it away from the animals. Once the loft is fix up and I build some walls I can make a feed storage area.
Speaking of which I’ve been buying the pig feed a week at a time since I don’t have a safe place to store feed. Once have the barn spruced up I can safely store feed more than a week’s worth at once. I’ve penciled it out and my best price for feed is $465 a ton, but thats soy and corn filled locally milled stuff. For non-soy/corn it runs about $650 a ton. For a non-GMO blend with corn but no soy its almost $900 a ton.That means the cost of raising a pig from weiner to butcher runs $200 or $300 depending on my feed. So I am left to ask myself: what is my goal, what do i believe animals should be eating? I’ll start with the local soy filled stuff, but with the pigs on pasture eating grass. I might move to the non soy/corn stuff later..,but it will increase the price considerably. I’ll be picking up my ton of feed next weekend.
Whew. After all the lifting and carpentry I am feeling beat! I’m ready to go back to my day job. It’s a little vacation compared to this place!
The idea behind pickling is to take the abundance from your garden and cheaply store it for the rest of the year. Sadly, since evil rodents at all my cucumber starts i had no cucumbers to pickle this year. This means spending money for pickling cukes. 😦
I went for the plunge and dropped $16 on 25 lbs of jumbo pickling cukes (since thats all they had left) I’m doing both a hot pickle and a cool fermented pickle. We’ll see how these turn out: hopfully worth the money.
My eggplants are setting fast and heavy. I’m debating figuring out how to can/store them for me or sell them for much needed funds. Tomatoes arn’t doing as great as I had hoped. I hoped for something like my ex’s garden: picking 30 lbs or ripe fruit off every other day. nope. I’ve had a handful ripen, most the romas have end rot and the willamettes just wont ripen! ug! I want to make salsa! LOTS OF IT! Oh well. Might be a salsa less year. 😦
There was a point to this blog post but im so tired i forgot it. I’m going to sleep. goodnight.
Not from scratch, but its time to start breeding and all that goes with it again. I separated the sheep (or they kind of separated themselves…) and now Khoresh is back with the big girls while its up to Mooney to try and take care of the young girls. He’s shown interested in his mother and the other older female, but still treats the ewe lambs like friends…clearly they arn’t cycling yet. Head bonking will hopefully soon be replaced by another kind of bonking. Still trying the dry off the ewes, but they want to milk when i don’t want milk and don’t want to milk when i want it. ug.
Sweetheart left the farm yesterday probably to never come back. My niece is using her for the 4-h show, hopefully she does well. It has given my niece something to plug into during the summer other than tv/internet/dumb stuff. I was starting to doubt her driving skills after watching her practice the other day, but last night when she loaded up the pig she did a fine job driving and calmly getting the pig loaded up I saw a strong, confident self assured young woman. I’m hoping she can take the confidence she has developed with her pig and use in it as she goes through the horrors of JR high. *Having* a pig made her kind of cool in her school. There is a chance Sweetheart needs to be bought back for being overweight…but I doubt she is.
Dot is getting bigger, Rosie carries her weight well and I am fretting again as to whether or not she is preggers (most likely), and now it is time to find either a boar or decide to do AI with Peppercorn. I’ll be breeding her in late September so she can farrow some more show pigs. This time I will be looking for a boar with a higher tail, bigger rump and a bit more muscling to give more the look they want for club pigs.
Well its the weekend which means I should be able to work….
But alas, I’ve got a nasty flair up of tendonitis and I really shouldn’t be doing the kind of work that i should be doing. Does that make sense? Even this blog post is a bad idea.
I really shouldn’t use my hands all weekend…what the heck am i to do with myself?! No jewelery (though i really should,), no post pounding (though i really should), no barn construction (though I really should), no hay bale moving (though I *really* should), no spinning, knitting, sanding, painting….no!no!no!no!no!
so…i guess cleaning my house and canning is it. booooring.
I’ve waited years for this moment: the full cycle of life, to death, to my plate.
I picked up my pork today, amazed at how much one half a pig makes! It should last me a few months. I decided to start off with trying to chops breaded simply in flour, salt, pepper and garlic. I paired it with home grown turnips, turnip greens and rice. Here goes nothing….(Thank you Gorbachev! I still love you!)
Wow. I’m blown away by the flavor. One bite and the flavor lasts for a minute in my mouth. The fat is sweet and soft: not hard gristle, but palatable, chewable and delicious. Every muscle, every sinew has flavor…and its juicy and moist.
I’ve been ravenous the past two days. I don’t know why, but my body acts like it can’t get enough to eat. This is so satisfying, so nutritious I feel my body rejoicing. Hopefully it will help me heal my tendonitis. Life is good, thank you again Gorby.