The pigs are doing quite well. They have learned to cuddle together under the heat lamp at night. hiding their faces in the straw while their little bums poke out. The seem to quite like mango and asparagus. We’ve settled on names; the white one, the boy, is Bacon while the pink one, the girl, is Hammie.
Today the pigs arrived. It was a few days earlier than we’d expected thinking they were coming on Tuesday. We both raced home from work and finished the pen.
We added three posts, the tarp cover, the heat lamp, the feeders, the water, the bedding, the chicken wire and patched a few areas that looked like piggies might escape through. At about 5:30, our friend drove up with the pigs and we settled them into their new home. I’ve got to say, they’re pretty cute.
This is piggy #1
This is piggy #2
6 litres water
100 nettle tops, washed
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
Juice of 1 orange, strained
30g cream of tartar
- Bring the water to the boil in a large pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the nettles and leave to infuse for at least an hour (until it is at blood temperature).
- Strain the nettle liquid through a colander lined with a large piece of muslin into a large brewing bucket. Squeeze the muslin to get the maximum amount of liquid into the bucket.
- Add the sugar, stirring to ensure it is dissolved, then add the cream of tartar, and lemon and orange juice.
- Finally, once the mixture is tepid, stir in the yeast. Cover, add a airlock and leave for 2-3 days in a warm place, until it’s obviously fermenting.
- Remove any scum which has risen to the top in fermentation and siphon the beer into sterilized bottles and seal with corks.
- Leave for at least a couple more days or up to a month before drinking.
Spring break is almost over and what a beautiful end to a busy week. The skies were clear and the sun was shining brightly……
As Spring Vacation winds down, we’re trying to tie up some projects here at the Beavercreek Backyard Farm. The weather was rainy this morning, so we decided to clean out the garage instead of working on the pig pen. It’s not finished yet, but it looks so much better.
We had 2 gallons of whole milk that had been on clearance sitting around so it was time to make cheese. I didn’t really want to as my last batches had turned out so disappointingly, but I decided to go ahead and try to make a Farmer’s Cheddar. I used the whey to make some ricotta.
The ricotta worked well this time and the cheddar is in the new press overnight.
DH brewed a batch of Coffee Stout last night and it’s bubbling away like crazy.
We also finally were able to get Christmas, the turkey hen, to thaw enough to try and cook. She’s been in the Big Green Egg for about 5.5 hours and is almost ready. The skin split a little, but it looks fantastic.
The weather cleared this afternoon just in time for a few photos of the vegetable beds in the back yard. Here’s hoping tomorrow brings clear skies.
Today marked the official beginning of the series “How to raise Pigs using the least amount of cash possible”. Wednesday’s episode begins with a trip to the local farm store to use our $5.00 coupon on the purchase of some electrical wire fencing tape.
One the way home I spotted a plastics manufacturer with some pallets laying around. We stopped and they were kind enough to let us have them for free. This brings our total pallet expense to $13.00.
So far we have spent:
$13.00 – Pallets
$39.98 – Water Nipples
$13.98 – Food Bins
$26.95 – Electric Fence Tape
I also cleaned out the hen house – they were very grateful!
We got four new chicks today: 2 Black Cuckoo Marans and two Jersey Giants. They were on sale at Wilco and we decided to pick up a few new ones to replace the ones that we lost over the winter.
It was an exciting day at the backyard farm today….
First, I checked on a couple of cheese wheels I had made this winter. One had blown up like a balloon. When I cut into it, it literally farted gas at me. My Parmesan cheese was full of wholes and looked just like Swiss. It smelled good, but when I checked in with Jim at New England Cheesemaking, he thought I should toss it. Definitely something icky making that gas blob.
We had much better success with our smoked salmon. I’ll add some pictures tomorrow, it was too late this evening.
The most fun was the trip to Ace Hardware. We went to pick up some black spray paint for my new chairs and left with a bunch of veg starts. The four packs were only $.99 each. I got broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Savoy cabbage and artichokes.
All in all a good start. Tomorrow, the pig pen…….
This weekend, according to the moon phase, is a not particularly good time for planting anything. It was, however, a dry March weekend in Oregon, so planting happened.
Saturday was beautiful so I added compost and fertilizer to the kitchen garden beds and planted 2 rows of Nantes Carrots. I also cleaned up around the garlic that I planted in November. In the greenhouse, the lettuces are germinating well. I started 6 cells each of Sugar Pumpkin, Butternut Squash, and a Green Squash that starts with a K?. I also started 18 cells of tiny pumpkins.
This morning DH set out some cinder blocks that were lying around for a potato bed and filled it with compost. We planted 3 Cherry Red Potatoes and 3 LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes. I also put 4 short rows of Detroit Red Beets into the raised beds in the backyard. Eight varieties of beans also went in this weekend up in the fenced garden: Jacob’s Cattle, Pebble, European Soldier, Appaloosa, Tongues of Fire, Cranberry, Snowcap and Steuban Yellow Eye. It might be a little early, but I thought I’d give it a go.
I also went to an interesting class this afternoon about growing mushrooms at home. Not much how-to, but some great ideas and contact information for the Oregon Mycological Society. I think it would be fun to go on some of their outings. The gentleman told us its a good place to start learning to identify edible mushrooms. He also said that in France you can take mushrooms to any pharmacist to have them identified – it’s part of their training. How cool!
My grandfather, Edwin Alexander McDougall, was a wonderful man. He took in my mother, sister and I after my father died in a boating accident when I was only 6 months old. My grandmother, whom I don’t remember died soon after and grandpa was left to deal with all us girls. He was the stable light in my life, the one that walked me to school, the man that taught me to garden. Grandpa always said that you prune roses between Lincoln’s birthday (the same day as his) and Washington’s birthday. He would trim our roses and then take a walk with his shears pruning the roses of any neighbor that would have him. They would usually ‘pay’ him with a strong cup of coffee and a home baked sweet. After the neighborhood’s roses were in shape, Grandpa would come home to sit on the back porch watching the airplane descending into pdx or tend to his fruit trees.
Grandpa died the 5th of October in 1983 he was 92 years old. I think of him often, but I always remember on President’s day. The grapes and blueberries are pruned just like he would have taught me. Now it time to prune the roses – look after them Grandpa.