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Relearning the Old Ways

December 21st, 2014

Atavism [atuh-viz-uhm] noun – the reappearance in an individual of characteristics of some remote ancestor that have been absent in intervening generations.

found while reading The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens

Yesterday we spent the day butchering our pigs. They were slaughtered last Saturday and hung on our back porch during the week. Neil came back yesterday and we cut, ground, salted, and packaged up the meat. We got them almost 100% processed. The only thing I have left is one type of ham brine to mix/boil. That’s quite a feat, last year I spent an entire week working on this process.
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As we worked I thought about all the older people I have met recently that have told me about how they remember slaughtering hogs when they were kids. My grandfather’s wife was one of those people. She spent a long time telling me about how they used to raise 5-6 hogs each year to feed the family (she had a lot of brothers & sisters).  Back then they grew food because they had to, now we do it because we want to.

Have you experienced talking to people from previous generations about their memories of growing/raising their own food? 

Holy Blueberries Piggos

July 30th, 2014

We have the pigs in an area by the back garden that has a small patch of high bush blueberry bushes.  They were overgrown with weeds, something blueberries do not take too kindly too.  We knew the pigs would chomp down the weeds and possibly root a little around the bushes.  That wasn’t a huge issue though, I figured I could simply take cuttings to start new bushes. I didn’t think much of the bushes until yesterday when I noticed they were heavy laden with GIANT berries.
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The pigs had decided to use the area around the bushes as their latrine after chomping down the weeds. They have only rooted a little bit around one bush. I plan on moving them shortly and filling back in with soil and the bush should do just fine. The size of these berries is incredible. I’ve been growing/picking blueberries my entire life and I’ve never seen berries this large. They’re flavorful too, not watered down as sometimes oversized fruit is.
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Funny thing is that I read in a very old (circa 1880’s) livestock book that pigs fed with wheat middling have very high quality manure, some of the best pig manure you can get. I didn’t think much of that until now. The pigs have been getting wheat mids in their feed every day. In return I get giant fruit, I think next I’ll be putting them in the orchard under the fruit trees to improve fertility in that part of the garden.

What kind of manure or fertilizer have you found to work best in your garden?

Watering the Pigs

July 26th, 2014

I’ve been wanting to buy a button pig waterer for a while now and just got around to ordering it.  I was hoping to rig it up to a barrel attached to the pig house with a big of spouting collecting water from their roof.  We seem to get just enough rain that I could water the pigs without using electric to pump it of our well and without having to lug it up there in 3 gallon watering cans.
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My waterer came yesterday and it screws right into one of the bungs on the barrel I was going to use for the project.  This certainly makes my life easier and should hopefully make the project go much more quickly.  We shall see, we’re hoping to having this up & running sometime this week.

Do you have any time/money saving devices in the works for your gardens/animals? 

Quote of the Day: Joseph Harris

January 19th, 2014

“It is, nevertheless, a fact, that there is no more docile or tractable animal on a farm than a well-bred pig.”

-Joseph Harris in Harris on the Pig: Practical Hints for the Pig Farmer

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Yesterday we went to visit a local pig farm and I put down my deposit on 2 piglets. The farm was wonderful. You could see how much Mary loved her pigs.
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The pigs were all happy as clams, out on large areas of forage. They had cozy warm houses and lots of hay.
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This farm breeds heritage pigs, she has Red Wattle, Large Black and Guinea hogs. The piglets I ordered are a mix of the three, that should make for meaty pigs with a good layer of lard.
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Now I just have to start making the rest of the preparations needed for our future piggos. There are a few things I need to buy and a few things that need done to make pig keeping a little easier this year. We’re really looking forward to having them, being out at the farm reminded us of how much fun the pigs were to have around.

Have you ever spent time a lot of pigs?

Cultivate Simple 38: Hog Heaven

July 16th, 2013

On this weeks episode we are discussing pigs and why you should think about getting one.

Susy’s Geeky Corner

Start decluttering your mailbox with

The Permaculture Podcast – Josh Trought and D Acres – This is where we got our pigs from. In the last 10 minutes of the interview he talks about how they use pigs on their farm.

Premier 1 Supplies – Pig Quick Fence

Books of the Week

raising the homestead hog copy

What is your favorite cut of pork?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.