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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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Duck Egg Mayonnaise

Welcome to our first publicized recipe on A Day in The Simple Life! If you love a tangy and smooth mayonnaise this is the mayo for you! AND it’s only five ingredients!!

You’ll need… a mason jar or other covered container, a large (10 cup will do) food processor, and a spatula!! Aside from the following ingredients of course…

2 duck eggs, room temp. If you don’t have room temp eggs give them a warm bath in running water for two minutes or so.

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (you can sub with white but I prefer the tang of red)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste (I used a 1/4)

2 cups extra virgin olive oil (some people only use half of that but I love EVOO)

In your food processor, process the two duck eggs for 20 seconds. Add all ingredients except salt and EVOO (or oil of your choice). process another 20 seconds.

Scrape sides and bottom of processor bowl with spatula. You don’t want to leave any goodness stuck to the walls!

Slowly, and I mean slowly add EVOO to running processor like a drip at a time. Once the mixture begins to thicken you can add a slow steady steam.

Once all EVOO is added, remove the top and taste. Add salt to your guesstimate and process for a few seconds. Taste again. I ended up adding a few more shakes of red wine vinegar then gave it another whirl.

Place you delicious duck egg Mayo in a mason jar or covered container and refrigerate. BAM you’re done!! Except for clean up of course.

So there you have it a tangy and creamy HOMEMADE Duck Egg Mayo! Remember when you have a recipe calling for Mayo, and you’re fresh out… live simply, and whip up another batch!

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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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Signs of life

Aaaaahhhhh, the wonders of Mother Nature at her finest. Sprouting seeds emerging from the ground makes me soooooo happy!

The carrots are finally showing signs of life! I’m so excited because if you remember I’ve never grown carrots before.

Still impatiently waiting on the louffa to sprout. I’m honestly going to be pissed if once again they don’t sprout. My plan with them is to make Christmas gifts out of them but I can’t do that if they don’t grow!!!! Come on louffas don’t let me down!

The nasturtium and sunflowers are coming up great! I haven’t seen the green beans emerge yet… last night youngest and I planted black beans and lettuce. I love a good salad straight from the garden!

Last night oldest and Rooster made a new gate for the chicken run. Once again utilizing pallets and a bookcase the boys had for toys in the basement.

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A day off of work, and we still work…

Today after lack of sleep we decided to stay home. Needless to say it was a productive day. The weather held out and we only had a few sprinkles to deal with.

Today we utilized our stock pile of scrap metal roofing, and pallets to make a “duck hut”. The Peking’s don’t go into the coop for whatever reason, and I felt they needed some protection from the weather, and a place to hopefully nest and/or just lay eggs.

First we stripped the pallets until we had enough material left to join the together. Like everything we do it’s trial and error, but it all works out in the end. After cutting the pallets down to size we started making our “teepee” or “A” frame.

We joined the two pallets together with three inch screws along the top, and began working on making the frame stable. We used the boards we removed from the pallet to brace the back of the “A”.

Once the structure was more secure we began adding the metal roofing panels, and created a ridge cap with an extra small piece of metal roof.

The framing…

In no time at all the chickens were checking out our work, and the Peking’s even poked their heads in a time or two!

Don’t think that’s all we did today we also got the hog pen finished up! We also got creative making a trough!

We had a half of a plastic barrel that I got from my dad, and the top off of an old microwave cart. Luckily the old cart was made of wood and we’ve been able to use it on a lot of projects.

The “Duck Hut”

Easily enough we cut the tabletop length wise and attached it to the barrel with screws. Now we have a trough that will hopefully be a little harder to flip over.

After all the projects Rooster went to oldest’s soccer practice, I picked up the youngest after running a few errands, came home to whip up a salad for supper while youngest did his homework, and I am now enjoying a Lavender Vanilla Chai while youngest has his first guitar lesson!!

After this it’s home for family supper of spaghetti, salad and garlic bread. After we unload all the feed out of the truck LOL.

I almost forgot we also made a little improvement to the run! We added landscape timber around the outside. The chickens have a habit of making dust bath pools along the fence eroding away the bottom of the fence. Hence leaving me to worry about them getting out, or something easily getting in.

Sometimes the best pay check is the reward of a good days work. Dirt under your nails, blisters on your palms, or the typical scrapes, cuts and bruises.