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Old 01-19-2013, 01:42 PM   #41
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Re: Jan. Farm/Homesteading Chat Thread

Missc: that's quite the list! Personally, I have no idea how much to plan on, it all revolves around a trip DH wants to take this summer. I'd love to raise a pig and meat birds but that would require hiring (and trusting someone to actually do the job) to feed/care for them for 2 weeks while we're gone.

I want to expand the gardens but it looks more like I'll be spending the summer clearing and prepping the space for gardens rather than planting, which is better so I can get the soil in shape, just a bummer not to plant all Iwant. I'm SOOO eager to grow a significant portion of our food (we go thru a TON of food here!) I'll buy a half or quarter cow (probably a quarter) every year instead of raising a cow and I have a great source of local raw milk for $6/gal so I probably won't get a milk cow (or at least not anytime in the near future), but organic/free range chicken is super expensive and I'm unable to buy that in bulk like cow (I can get pig to, for an ok price but they're pretty easy to raise so wanted to do that myself)

BUT, I do have bees coming in June

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Old 01-20-2013, 04:48 AM   #42
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Re: Jan. Farm/Homesteading Chat Thread

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RCB - I hope your FIL is doing ok. I'm so sorry to hear. Did you get the shearing done this week?
Amanda - I hope work slows down for you! And am glad that your husband is so supportive!
We are doing well. I worked 5 days this week, it's too much. But am so glad to be home today. I just want to nestle and cuddle into the farm, love on the kids and dh, visit with my horses, clean my house, plan for our pigs and poultry this spring, and never leave again! Totally unrealistic, but a girl can dream, right?
DH is at fire right now, I have pizza crust rising...I hope. Floors are clean, kids are fed and playing, and we have done some school. It's a good day! Once dh comes home I hope to put kids down for a nap and kidnap him outside with me to put up our pig fence. We ordered some electric netting from Premier1 to pasture them and it came yesterday. I don't know if it will be enough, it looks like we'll be raising 8 pigs this year, but we'll put it up and see. We won't pick up the piglets until mid-march anyway, so we have time.
We have one more Christmas party at our house next week so I'd love to get a head start cleaning for that. There's laundry (always!) and I really need to finish my sewing my sil's present.
Just wanted to check in, I hope y'all are doing well!
Yay for pig fencing!!! March/April is when we are getting our piglets too. Are you going with a heritage breed this year? I'm going to compare prices... for our first year raising I don't know if I want to fork over a lot extra for a few heritage ones or just stick to a basic breed. I guess it will depend on the price difference...
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:50 AM   #43
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Re: Jan. Farm/Homesteading Chat Thread

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BUT, I do have bees coming in June
I'm so excited about your bees! What kind of hives are you planning on getting?
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:14 AM   #44
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Re: Jan. Farm/Homesteading Chat Thread

Hey Ladies! It's been a whirlwind of 2 weeks. Hope it will settle down a bit? haha. I am going to do a picture post today (I learned how to do photobucket)!

We got half our lane re-graveled 2 days ago... The boys were in awe of the gravel truck and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to shoo the cows off the gravel so they wouldn't poop on it. I also felt the desire to keep it clean.... crazy!


Yesterday we rendered pig fat into lard. It took 5-1/2 hours. Here is DH stirring the fat in the hog cauldron he cleaned up (we have another 2 that I was begging him to clean because I was so worried it wouldn't fit 8 hogs' worth of fat... I was wrong!).


I wish I could post the other pics, but I haven't asked the other family we did it with if that was okay or not so I covered their faces. Here is a friend pouring the rendered lard into jars.



Here is our friends using the lard press to squeeze out the lard from the cracklins...


Cracklins and some of the jars of lard:



IRL, you can see which lard is best for baking (pure white) and which should be used in cooking or frying.

It was a really cool process. One thing we did learn is that it's best to cut up the fat into rabbit ear sizes before starting the process. Too big and it can be harder to stir. Also I think we left the cracklins in a little too long. Next year we'll know!

The guys went shooting on and off throughout the process while we wives would take turns stirring. The kids played pretty well so that was helpful (and baby girl took a huge nap!). It was a good day!

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Old 01-20-2013, 05:22 AM   #45
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Re: Jan. Farm/Homesteading Chat Thread

DH will start shearing this week.. he had to get set up last week. It takes about a month to get through them because he has to do it in his spare time (evenings he would normally spend with me!). He caught one herd's calves and needs to catch the ones by our house.
He wants to butcher a cow in Feb. Now that we've done lard, we may try to render tallow... we'll see!

This week should be fun. Playdates, therapy, and school are on the agenda. I'll probably take the boys to watch DH shear some. FIL gets results on Friday.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:06 PM   #46
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Re: Jan. Farm/Homesteading Chat Thread

Oh man, RCB, I love the pictures of the lard rendering! Awesome! It looks like you'll be set for baking this year! I hope the shearing, and FIL's test results, come out positively. We found Berkshire/Duroc mix piglets. The mama had 10 piglets last week, so we're getting 8 of them. We've got 7.5 committed to people already (including one for us...yum!)! I think that if we didn't have other people buying them, we wouldn't worry as much about where they came from and what breed they are for our first year. But, since we do have others buying them I want to make sure we provide a quality product. Also, these pigs weren't much more expensive than other piglets I've seen. From what I've read, it's easy for pigs to get sick, so I wanted to be careful and get them from a decent place.
Amanda, I forgot to add, it was fun to hear about your puppy - and yay for bees!
Last night our large shed - a gray tarp covering pipes, like a hoophouse? - was blown over in the wind. So, dh and my dad picked it up and moved all of the stuff we had in it (straw, our tractor, lawn tractor, gator, 4-wheeler, tractor implements, etc) to other places. What a mess.
This week, we aren't too busy...We are closing on our mortgage tomorrow, yay . School, the kids have swim and A has puppy class. Looking forward to spending some time at home!
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:54 PM   #47
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Re: Jan. Farm/Homesteading Chat Thread

so my plast post didn't post, grrr. and Now i've got the flu (mild but...) I'm guessing it's NOT from work since I've been treating patients with it for months and haven't come down with anything (droplet percautions, gloves and mask, tons of handwashing) so I'm guessing it came from Walmart (especially since the first one in the house with it was my youngest, she started in about 3 days ago, which was 3 days after her flu shot). I had my shot in septmeber but still.

No respiratory symptoms yet, I know they're coming but have body aches and chills like nothing else. So, my house in a wreck, the chicken soup I intended to make and the bread that goes with it was forgone in favor of a bath and a quick cooking meal (curry).

So, who takes over for you when you're sick? I won't be allowed to go to work (bummer too since I haven't been there long enough to use my sick time I've accumulated. I have to get past my probationary period first) because even though with plenty of advil I could tough it out, I could infect my patients. dont want to give an elderly person or a baby the flu (we have one old guy come in with the flu who is now on his death bed, he's my great uncle too. They don't expect him to last more than a day or so now).
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:55 PM   #48
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Re: Jan. Farm/Homesteading Chat Thread

RCB: Jelous of your homestead! and the fact you're not burried under snow!

Oh and DH found a bull calf (Jersey) on craigs list for $200, local too. It's registered and comes with papers. I wanted to him because we're not in the position to get a cow
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:05 PM   #49
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Re: Jan. Farm/Homesteading Chat Thread

Amanda, are you feeling better? I hope so! It's such a drag to be sick. I'm sorry about your great uncle, we'll keep him in our thoughts and prayers. That's a bummer about the jersey calf, he sounds like a nice find. Would you have kept him for beef? or as a Bull?
RCB - how's shearing going?
We filled an order for 8 pigs, with us keeping 1 for ourselves (maybe selling some of the cuts off it)...and since that happened so fast, now DH is wondering if we should get all 10 piglets! I'm a little stressed out because of the feed issue. We're pasturing them and will feed grain 1-2 times a day. I'm not sure what that grain will consist of though. Our local mix has GMO corn and soybean, and I really don't want to feed that if at all possible. I found organic corn, but it's double the price and we have to pick it up from the farm, bring to the mill to have it milled, then bring it home. We'd have to do 500# minimum (which we'll use with 10 pigs, no doubt) for a custom milled food. The problem is the mix I found would still have soybean meal in it, but I could see if I can do field peas instead, which I think are more likely to be non-GMO. I'm also trying to figure out what I can grow for them to lessen their dependence on the grain...maybe finish on turnips or pumpkins/squash/etc in our garden? I kind of feel like we're going to end up getting the mill mix, but I'm trying to exhaust all other options first. We'll likely be able to get excess milk (7gal a day) from our neighbors dairy, when they aren't raising pigs themselves. They only give it to them when young though. Ah! The options!
Kids are doing good this week. It's so lovely to be home, and A's puppy class was cancelled tonight so we get to hang out. Going to make meatloaf for dinner, need sew sil's placemats and J's curtains for his door (we're using a quilt right now...I'd like to have curtains by the party Sat), and need to dr. the dog...one of our LGD has something going on with his back. I'm not sure if it's that he's trying to get frozen bird poo out of his fir and is irritating his back, or if something else is going on? It just looks a bit irritated, but not nearly like a hot spot. And, we haven't seen him licking at it, it just looks like he has (unless the other LGD is licking it for him...I guess that's an option).
Anyway, enough thinking aloud. Hope you guys are well!
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:19 AM   #50
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Re: Jan. Farm/Homesteading Chat Thread

Hmmm, well I don't know how many kitchen scraps you'll have, but around here we'd probably have enough to feed one pig solely off of slop from the kitchen (we go thru soooo much food in this house!) That may help make a small dent. I'm with you on trying to find GMO free options! In fact I just found a supplier of organic chicken feed, it's not my local feed store but it's still another mom and pop shop in the city. ONly problem is they are open SUPER early and close super earlier (must be the farmer in them) and everything else 'in town' doesn't open till at least 9 am, so if I'm going to go to town I'd really want to do all my errands. So I'll wait till spring, where it will be pleasurable to hang out for a couple hours and walk around (right now it's -5 so no...)

I'm starting to feel better. I did have to call in sick to work yesterday. Today the body aches have subsided for the most part, along my spine still hurts and my back is a bit sore. pretty weak too, can't do much without getting out of breath, sweaty and needing to sit.

Made an awesome homemade chicken soup last night with chicken thighs (not a fan of dark meat but it was still good. I figured I could use the added vitamins and fat from the dark meat). Had to sit on a stool to chop everything but oh well. I added tons of every spice that 'smelled right' (that smelled like it'd go well) so I'm sure that'll give my immune system a boost too.

oh and I would have kept the cow as a bull and found a female to breed with so I could have a milk cow. I'm lovin the raw milk that I'm able to get at my local small grocer. Had some past it's expiration that smelled not so much like milk and set it on the counter. I forgot about it and a couple days later had some pretty awsome cottage cheese (I love cottage cheese with strawberries for breakfast)

Got all my seed ordering done the other day. Can't wait for them to arrive. Need to start on the hot pepper plants (they'll eventually go in the green hous ein the raised bed.)

Really can't wait for this deep freeze to be over with and spring to come. I really need to move to a more temperate climate. Long cold winters and I don't get along so well anymore I guess!

If I ever won the lottery I'd buy a farm in like VA or something and be self sustainable. (I probably have the most backward lottery hopes in the world )
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