Pigs are here

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Pigs | Posted on 24-05-2011

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We spent all of Saturday purchasing and putting up a fence for the pigs. We opted just to use t-posts and cattle panel. Our plan is to move them as they root up the giant ragweed and clover. Andy worked very hard on this and did a wonderful job.

Monday morning we hopped in the car and drove about an hour and a half to Illinois. We spoke with the farmer’s son briefly and he showed us 3 barrows ( castrated males ) to choose from. We chose 2, paid him, and were on our way. It was pretty uneventful.

Once home we successfully got them in the fence, there was some squealing involved (fortunately just from the pigs). They were fine for a few hours until I decided to go visit them. They got spooked and jumped right through the holes of the panel. Uh-oh! They were actually quite easy to catch because of their minute size (only 23 lbs).

We decided they weren’t quite ready for the cattle panel so they are inside a temporary enclosure made with hog panel. We have an old dog house with straw inside for them to sleep in. They are happily eating their feed ration and rooting around the rest of the time. They are still very leery of us. I’m hoping that will change in time.

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This Garden of Mine

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Garden | Posted on 20-05-2011

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This winter, while planning the garden, I was concerned that I may not have the energy or drive needed to have a garden. I was wrong. I just LOVE being out in that garden. It is a lot of work but I find it to be peaceful and rewarding as well.

Two of the little ones enjoy being out there and helping in any way they can. The toddler is a terrific weed puller- and pepper puller (oops that 1 is supposed to stay in the ground). Our oldest son has been very handy at making sure everything is thoroughly watered.

So we will see how this little plot of land does. We didn’t have any manure or compost to help things along. While we’re hoping for a great gardening year we are expecting very little.

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Book Review Thursday- The Dirty Life

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Farming | Posted on 19-05-2011

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This week I am reviewing The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I knew as soon as I started reading the introduction that I would love it. Her descriptive details of the food were making my belly growl. Kristin and her husband met and fell in love on a farm. They then decided to move to upstate New York and started their own farm where they now try to provide all of the grocery needs of a family (produce, milk, meat, flour, and others).

After reading the book I had a better idea of what I wanted to do with this blog. I loved hearing about their struggles and successes in starting up a farm, and falling in love. I realized that I wanted to hear more from her everyday. So that’s what I’m hoping to provide on this little blog. You will hear about our excitement from getting a new animal, our failures (in just about everything new), and the love that we have for God and each other.

If you enjoy farming books you will love this one.

What’s going on around here

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Spring | Posted on 18-05-2011

Today I’m just excited. No specific topic that I’ve been planning- I was just going to let you know what we have going on.

We have 20 chickens enjoying some free-ranging. Which is wonderful but also, unfortunately, includes leaving droppings right outside the back door, and occasionally sneaking in the house if we leave the door open.

In our moveable chicken pen we have 21 barnyard chicks that were born and raised here at our farm. They are now 6 weeks old.

I have just made arrangements for us to pick up 2 Gloucestershire Old Spot barrows next week. They will be coming here to stay for several months & will then be filling our freezer.

We are also trying to prepare to add a Jersey cow to our farm family in the next month. That involves putting up a fence & barn… the planning is under way.

I have been dreaming of having a farm for the past 4 years. I’m just so excited that things are now happening. I look forward to sharing more details with you in the weeks to come.

Book Review Thursday

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Pigs | Posted on 17-05-2011

May 5, 2011

Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs

I will preface this series by stating that as the mother of 4 young children the majority of books that I “read” are just skimmed through. Such is the case with Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs. I read the chapter that I thought was pertinent to us, and will read through the rest as needed.

This will be our first year of pig farming so the most important chapter for us is “Raising Hogs for the Family Table.” It has all of the basics in there for raising feeder pigs. Housing and feed were the 2 areas that I found most helpful.

We haven’t been able to decide what to do about fencing and housing. I was able to glean a few ideas from the book. A good suggestion was to place the pen near the garden in order to throw the pigs the garden waste. Insulating the roof of the pig house to prevent condensation, and building the house up off the ground were points I had not considered. Since we will be moving the pigs around I’m hoping that we can build something light enough to move.

After reading the book I have decided that we will be using pellets to feed our pigs. They are a perfectly good choice for small-scale farmers. There is information on how much protein each growing stage needs- starting at 7 lbs. all the way to slaughter. Another bit of information that caught my attention was that you can limit feed your pig. Limit feeding is giving the pig only about 90% of the feed the pig might want. This produces a much leaner carcass. We’re hoping that the Gloucestershire Old Spots will be pretty good foragers and will be happy getting much of their feed from the clover and weeds on our property.

Here’s a note for those of you suffering with flies- ducks are great for controlling your fly problem. I am going to have to check that out. The flies are bad enough with the chickens. I may have to abandon ship once we add in pigs and a cow.

This was a book that I borrowed from the library. I will definitely be adding it into our personal collection.

Turkeys Have Arrived

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Turkeys | Posted on 13-05-2011

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April 27
We received the phone call at around 6:55 this morning. The turkeys are here! Seventeen beautiful Bourbon Red turkeys were impatiently waiting for us at the post office. They have been in the mail for 2 long days traveling from Missouri to Indiana. The children and I carefully dipped each beak in water and placed them in their new temporary home (the chicks have been moved outside so the turkeys have taken up residence in the unused dog kennel). We raised turkeys last year so this will be our second round. They are not the most intelligent birds, and tend to have trouble figuring out the whole eating and drinking arrangement. I placed food in a trough for them, but also placed a towel in the kennel and sprinkled food on top. We will now just pray for the wisdom to raise these little guys and gals up into big strong toms and hens.

We ordered from Cackle Hatchery. This was our first time ordering from them. I am very pleased with the service that we have received, and would recommend them to anyone looking into ordering turkeys. Next month we have an order of guineas arriving from Cackle so I will be able to let you know how those turn out at the end of May.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Food | Posted on 03-05-2011

 

We all know that it’s important to start our day off with a nutritious breakfast. However, time is often an issue in the mornings and we must grab something fast and on the go- unfortunately this is often a sugar laden breakfast product with little or no nutritional value. Why not take a couple extra minutes and make a smoothie? They taste great, are a nutritious way to start our day, and give us an opportunity to use some of those fresh eggs. As you see we use raw egg yolks. I can only recommend doing this if you have access to fresh pastured eggs. I also recommend consuming only the raw egg yolk, not the egg white. Raw egg whites contain digestive enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients (http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/Egg_Yolk.html).

 

Here is the recipe. This is how we enjoy our smoothie but you may want to adjust the ingredients to your taste.

 

1 cup of whole raw milk

2 egg yolks from pastured hens

1 banana

2 heaping Tablespoons peanut butter

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth & enjoy!