I was going to write about watching Blossom make a nest and then give birth to seven eight piglets last Tuesday evening.
But this morning, an event happened that amazed me! The day started out normally (though I slept in a bit). As I went down to feed the pigs I loudly yelled “Sooo-ey” to call them to eat. Since everyone was there besides Blossom, (who’d nested way back in the woods with her piglets) it was moot but I was trying to entice Blossom to come down. After I finished up, I decided to fix up another pig hut for my other sow, Sue, who is looking like she will give birth in the next week or two. As I was working, I noticed Sue had come back and Dozer, the Big Papa, was sniffing her. Thinking she might be in the early stages of labor I watched… and realized it was Blossom, not Sue.
Blossom is the black pig in front of Sue, the other black pig in the background
I quickly locked Blossom into the pen I’d set up for her, with some food to keep her happy. I set out for the nest she’d created 200 yards into the woods. Once up there, I discovered eight piglets; I’d only counted seven each of the other times I’d visited, but black piglets snuggled up to a black mama makes it very hard to count how many.
I was able to capture five piglets; four girls and a boy. I tied up my jacket’s arms and hood to make a bag to carry them home and made note of where at least two other piglets were hiding and set off to return them to their mama. After getting the piglets settled in, I started back only to hear some of the older pigs grunting in their “something is upsetting me” way.
Then I spied The Little Piglet Who Could. She was running down the hill toward the pig huts and making a her little piglet “I need my Mama” noise. After watching her tiny form maneuvering through the woods and mud, I started videoing as she got close (see below). This tiny 3.5 day old piglet ran all the way from the nest 1/8 mile away, through woods she’d never seen, following her mama’s scent (or something) to get to safety!
After settling The Little Piglet Who Could in with mama and her sisters and brother, I returned to find the last two piglets (girls) and brought them home. What a day! And what a big week! I’ve now seen piglets born in person and witnessed the most amazing feat by a tiny piglet!
If you want to see piglets being born, I managed to video five of the births! I hope you enjoy them; it was amazing!
One of my favorite breakfasts is easy to make, and it’s very, very local. I love scrambled eggs and bacon. It’s not an everyday breakfast around here but it’s great for special occasions or on those mornings when I ‘m in the mood for something hearty!
My first step is to make the bacon. Lately I’ve been using the oven to cook the bacon; it cooks up crispier and I can easily fit all my bacon on the tray, leaving extra bacon in the fridge for other recipes. After it’s baked, I drain the bacon and put about a tablespoon or two of bacon grease in a skillet and add scrambled eggs (eggs, herbs, salt, milk, and a bit of parmesan or romano cheese). While they’re cooking I often make a bowl of mixed veggies. They add to the yummy flavors and a serving of veggies is perfect with such a heavy breakfast! By the time the eggs are cooked, the bacon is cool and the whole meal is plated up. I pour the mostly-cooled bacon grease into a glass jar (jelly jars are best) and I keep it to use with various recipes (Alfredo sauce is great with a roux made of flour and bacon grease). Hammi is always happy with a spot of bacon grease on his food too! I love that in about 20 minutes, I get a lovely breakfast as well as bacon grease and cooked bacon to use in many other meals!
But I digress. What I really mean to say is that you have an opportunity to have your own tasty bacon to add to the eggs you already buy! We often have custom pork and lamb available for you!
Buying in bulk is a great way to save money while getting the best quality meat possible. Bulk means not only is the price per pound less than retail cuts, it also means you can make choices you can’t make buying retail. You can pick your favorite sausage flavors, buy thicker or thinner cuts of meat; whatever your preference, have your sausages made into patties because that’s the only way your four-year-old will eat it, and you can ask for the bones and leaf lard if you’re inclined!
To purchase in bulk, just follow the instructions above Email me or visit our online store to place a deposit (choose local pick-up for your shipping method). I will contact you with further details.
Pigs are very hardy but they still need shelter and warmth during the winter. One of the pig huts I have needed some changes before winter arrived. It’s made with a cattle panel frame, which is great but doesn’t hold up well to heavy or wet snow. Earlier this year I’d added some T-posts to help hold up the roof but apparently some pig thought it was in the way and the already-bent post became more bent, so a new, straight post was needed. Next, the back end of the hut was open fo allow breezes in the summer. Last year I just covered it with a tarp but pigs find tarps are great fun to play with and they’d ripped it apart last year. I wanted to keep the tarp as long as the tarp could last so with help I sandwiched it between two sets of pallets. It works great!
Finally, the area I’ve been using for the piglet’s feeding time is needed for the sheep, so I decided to create a “creep area for them to eat in. A creep feeder is designed so the smaller piglets can get into an area where bigger pigs can’t. I just created it this morning so I haven’t tested it yet but I have high hopes it will work! I basically created a box out of panels, with one side raised so little pigs could get in. It has a gate I can ope to enter to feed.
See the pictures below for both before pictures of the pig hut and after pictures of the pig hut and the creep feeder. All the huts need is more straw to fill them and as it gets colder, I usually find things like old comforters to suspend from the ceiling to block the wind (let me know if you have anything thats stained but still in good shape and I’ll pick it up)! They do destroy it eventually but I haven’t found much else that works as a temporary windblock; in the summer I like it to be open and breezy!
I wrote this on a Tuesday morning, as I was dropping two pigs off at the butcher.
This is one of the hardest days for a farmer. Today two of my piggies are going to the butcher. One of the ways I know that I am a farmer is that it is so hard for me to do this. To me, that means that I have given these piggies everything that I can so that they can have a good life. I eat meat. I’ve tried being a vegetarian for ethical reasons but I just feel ill (and get sick) after a few weeks with no meat. And for me to eat meat and have a conscience, I need to know that the animals had the best life possible. So this is why I do what I do. I love these piggies from the time that they are tiny piglets. I give them scratches. I talk to them. They know they are loved. And beyond all of the things I do to keep them healthy, that love is the part that I think makes all the difference.
So I celebrate these piggies. And I celebrate the pain I’m feeling right now.
I feel the same with my other animals, but pigs hold a special place in my heart.
Do you love good quality meat but get frustrated when cuts aren’t available or aren’t cut the way you prefer? Custom ordering is a wonderful way to get the meat you want at a lower price than the stores AND have it cut to your specifications!
Our pork and lamb is the best you can buy. Our pork is raised in the forest. The hogs have access to up to 30 acres of land to forage and they’re also given a ration of GMO- and soy-free grain that’s been soaked for at least 12 hours, as well as minerals, kelp and fishmeal for protein. The pigs are fed and checked on twice a day and love the head scratchings and pats they get.
Our lambs live out in the fields and only come in for shelter, minerals, and when we call them to get checked out. They are completely grass-fed and spend their time happily munching grass and greens as part of a large flock, including their mamas.
We have both pork and lamb ready for pre-order. Pork is $4.75/lb hanging weight* and lamb is $5.95/lb hanging weight*. If you’ve not bought meat in bulk before, here is how the process runs:
place a non-refundable* deposit of for the animal(s) you want – $50 for lamb, $100 for a half hog, and $150 for a whole hog
shortly before their harvesting date, we will put you in contact with the processor to choose your cuts
soon after delivery to the processor, we will receive the hanging weight * of the animal and send you an invoice for the balance
the processor will contact you with a pickup date. It’s generally about 2-4 weeks after harvesting. You pick up your meat from the processor (Mt. Airy) and pay them for their services
*What is hanging weight? It is the weight of the animal after the processor has started processing your meat but before the final cuts. It’s typically about 40% of the live weight, but it varies by species. Our hogs typically run about 125-200 lbs hanging weight and our lamb runs about 40-65 lbs hanging weight.