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Honey’s Trip to the Market

I guess market is a nicer way of saying the butcher… we’d been wondering when Honey should go into the bacon factory because we are quite honestly clueless and new to the whole hog raising business. Google and/or Bing suggested by his shoulder width he’d be about 300 pounds.

By the way he pushed Rooster about the pen I would’ve assumed the same. My Rooster is no small man by any means and Honey was able to nudge him a bit. So we were flying blind.

We had gone into our local butcher and talked to Randy, our favorite guy at Integrity Meats, and he knew we weren’t going to be able to wait until the end of October either. So we were moved up the waiting list and we’re told a week maybe two and they’d have an opening.

Last Monday on the drive home we got the call… we were on our way to pick up oldest after school, still had to get youngest from school and I’d be off to guitar lessons. So Rooster and oldest were left to their devices.

We lined up a trailer on the drive and everything was set and ready. Just had to load Honey and head to town.

So picture it’s been raining all day, it’s chilly, and windy and the pick pen is a soupy mess. Insert Rooster and oldest with a very pissed off pig. Times like these I wish we had one of those doorbell recording devices…

After much cussing and escaping nearly into the beans reinforcements were called in. Yes, another tale of neighbor Josh and a wild critter ensued.

It finally came down to neighbor Josh and Rooster picking Honey up and physically putting him into the trailer.

Of course stories like these are better told by the original parties, but Rooster isn’t much for writing.

Youngest and I came home to find miscellaneous boards scattered about the yard. No doubt attempts at corralling Honey into the trailer.

Rooster and oldest retuned home at almost eight o’clock. Upon arriving at the butcher there was another debacle, of course. Honey now didn’t want to get out of the trailer, and had to be pushed into the indoor pens.

The sight that was Rooster and oldest when they came home was a little worse than I expected. Covered in “mud”, soaked to the bone, and smelling like they had rolled in the pig pen. Poor guys had quite the adventure and looked it.

Stories were told with great fervor over supper from Honey’s escape attempts, to neighbor Josh’s arrival, and unloading. These poor guys were exhausted.

That night Rooster said he was reconsidering having two pigs next year, and told me he no longer viewed rods as animal cruelty. I was honestly shocked, but had been awaiting this day to change his mind.

Since a week and a few days have passed since the great adventure we’re back to planning on two pigs. Hopefully we will be able to have found the farm of our dreams by spring, and will be able to have two pigs.

So just remember when life covers you in “mud”, soaks and chills you to the bone remember to laugh and live a simple life.

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Trial and error in pigville

So Friday of Memorial Day weekend we got off of work, headed to TSC for a bale of straw and pine shavings (because we realized the pig would need a bedding material at the last minute), got home let the dogs out, threw a pen in the back of the truck and we were off.

What seemed like many, Many miles of gorgeous winding country roads we arrived at Shady Grove. It was really only a ten minute drive, but the excitement of having our pig finally was making the anticipation unbearable.

It was not what I pictured, although I’ve been to hog farms before, but this was not the hog farm of my youth. This was a sterile building, plain in every way, and a loading shoot on the front. I guess I had envisioned the hog farm of the past a lot of stalls filled with straw and momma’s and piggies in the stall. Back in the day we could see the piggies and pick which one we wanted. I guess this idea is the methods of the past, but at any rate we pulled up and someone came out of the sterile building with a screaming 8 week old piglet.

We headed home excited to begin our new adventure, and what an adventure it has been! We had previously decided on the name Honey like Honey Baked Ham… as you may remember Rooster is the weakest link to this pig making it to the butcher so we had to name it food associated.

So with Honey home and nestled in the pig pen Rooster, of course, spent hours bonding with Honey. It was cold that day as you’ll notice the winter coats. It is Indiana and not three days prior we had had 80 degree weather and wearing shorts!!!

Rooster bonding with Honey

During this time of bonding some questions began to arise… you sure this is a girl pig? She has nipples. I have nipples. Rooster had a valid point. I had no idea if we just picked up a male instead of a female until….. he saw Honey pee. Upon a further google search… we had a male pig. Crap.

Being new to all of this pig business really is humorous at times…

Next failure was not thinking through calling the butcher in advance… we are now on a waiting list for the end of September to October. It’s looking like Honey is going to be a big pet just like Rooster wanted.

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A lazy day

After work we went to the big city to stock up on supplies… coffee, soaps for laundry and dishwasher, allergy medicine and other odds and ends.

After unloading said necessities rooster watered the garden and is now spraying the damn dandelions in the yard…

We’ve been sitting in the sun watching the ducks and chickens while sipping adult beverages. The ducks enjoyed a good bath from the hose, and Charlie was stealing the garden water….

Charlie and Rooster

Meanwhile I am thumbing through the latest from GRIT magazine. Considering making apple mead… a back up plan if the damn louffas don’t sprout I guess.

It’s a beautiful night. Warm. Dry, and just humid enough to make your hair frizz. Hashtag perfect night.

The chickens are enjoying the “duck hut” more than the ducks.. They’ve been laying eggs inside the hut and hanging out in the shade.

The birds are chirping, the breeze has slowed, and this lawn chair is pretty comfy.

Today at work I realized that I need to find some mint plants. Why? I’ve been making more Greek food and it seems mint is a staple item in every dish. Why didn’t I think of this before? Not that it’s catastrophic I never saw mint available at the local garden store, but my eyes are wide open and searching now!

The dogs are basking in the sunshine as well, and I’m worried this weekend my alabaster skin will still become lobster red even with sunscreen… it’s supposed to be 86 all weekend which makes a mental note for me to make sure to apply sunscreen to youngest every hour. He’s the ginger of the family I am sure you understand.

Grocery shopping for the week is done and this weekend I just need to make buns, Mayo, and egg bites for the week.

Mental note I need to call the local mom and pop grocery store about getting veggies from them for the pig. I hope to almost completely feed the piggy off of veggies and reduce feed costs considerably.

Today we were property shopping at work…. the shoe doesn’t fit yet if you know what I mean. I think it’s just day dreaming when work is slow. Acreage *sigh* what everyone should dream of rather than the 3000 square foot home on .26 acres. We want/need more land. Can you imaging how much food we could raise then??!!

I think we are a different breed of people…

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Lucky little farm girl

As I’m sitting here sipping red wine and watching my beloved painstakingly dig holes for the impending hog pen I’m reminded how truly lucky I am. He won’t let me lift a finger to back breaking work, works a forty hour work week, spends time with the children, and still does chores like this without complaint.

So here’s my Rooster. In shorts and a T-shirt, this long haired country boy enjoying the breeze digging three foot deep holes for “Honey” the future pig.

Almost every day I wake up and look over at him and wonder how I ever got so lucky. To have someone who treats me like a Queen, and lives out here wholeheartedly and loves the life we have as much as I do.

You’ll notice “Honey’s” Taj Mahal made out of younens bunk bed. I think it turned out quite nicely, and especially since it cost us zero dollars in materials.

Today’s trip to the local farm store was almost $250! Hog panels (4), t-posts (4), wood posts (5), a grain bucket and water pail. Of course we forgot post nails, the gate, and metal roofing so there’s another $80 next trip.

This first year of being hog raisers is going to be spendy, but expected. Crap we forgot concrete too…

I’m looking forward to his hard work paying off in pounds of bacon, pork and hams. My garden plans have been made to help offset the cost of feed, and we prefer our animals to be mostly scrap fed. The eggs from the ducks and chickens are worth their weight in gold for flavor from scrap. Their orange yolks are the talk of the town, and relished at our table daily.

We’ve all labeled Rooster as the weakest link in this hog business. The youngens and I know that “Francis” and his tender heart are going to have a hard time parting with “Honey”. We planned on naming her after a pork product to keeps Francis’s heart out of it. I refuse to keep a hog past 280 no matter how the tender heart feels. We couldn’t afford to keep a hog longer for a pet, and lose out on the meat to sustain us for the year.

Sigh… he’s remeasuring….

Have I mentioned that I love this man’s sense of adventure?

Catch us next blog for an update… he’s done for today. LOL

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Here piggy piggy

So in our efforts to become more sustainable we are going to get a pig this spring. I’m worried that Francis won’t want to butcher his “pet”… and we’ll have a 300 pound+ 30 year old pet pig…. rather than the tons of bacon, sausage, brats, etc that we’ve come to know and love!!

The oldest has begun thinking of clever names for said pig. Sir Oinkers, bacon bit, link, pork chop, bbq, Spike to name a few. I myself see it as a bad sign naming a critter you intend to eat one day. Naming a thing creates a bond, and requires a lot of thought. Such is the case with naming your children… you won’t name your kid after that horrible bully from third grade, or after your significant’s ex, or the guy that ran over your dog Noodle when you were ten… you see what I’m saying? Naming associates a lot of things into one tiny package.

In the end though I’ll keep my ideas to myself, and let the kids be kids and name their new found pet. Even if it’s ridiculous and food related.