Ellie Watch

This is my Ellie girl.

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She is a 4 year old Guernsey/Jersey cross…and I love her. I know it sounds ridiculous to hear someone say they love a cow…but I do, and I’m not ashamed to say it…well, not entirely ashamed 😉 I think I would die if something happened to this girl, which is why I stayed at home while Farmerman and the kiddos are off fishing at the coast. You see, Ellie is due with her second calf on August 7th, and just like a woman’s pregnancy, she could calve up to two weeks before and two weeks after her due date…and I do not want to leave her just in case she needs help during, or more importantly, after calving.

What??…I am NOT obsessed. I am only getting up a couple times throughout the night and frantically searching the paddock for her with the flashlight. And who doesn’t go trekking through their land in temps of 100+ to look for their cow multiple times a day because she hasn’t been seen for the last 30 minutes?? And then, when the cow is found, who doesn’t rub her belly trying to “bump” the calf to make sure the sweet little booger is still wiggling around, meaning it is still alive…totally non-obsessive behavior, right…RIGHT??!!
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You see, we don’t have a bull on our farm yet which can be considered a blessing and a curse. A curse because we have to be able to pay attention to all the girls cycles and know when to take them to the vet so they can be artificially inseminated (AI’d). A blessing because it’s one less mouth to feed and we don’t have to deal with, well, a bull who could be sweet as pie one day and fly into a murderous rage the next. Also, AI takes all the guesswork out of it so you know the exact date your cow should calve…which is wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. We brought Ellie home October 29th, and the nice dairy we bought her from AI’d her on the 27th…omgosh…I’ve been calculating her due date from the 29th, not the 27th…so she is actually due on the 4th!! Ok, now I am freaking out a little bit more than I had been the last month or so.

And my freaking out is at a little more elevated level anyway because this is what my “milking equipment” used to look like…
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And this is what it looks like now….eeek!!
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Since the beginning I have hand milked, which was great when I was milking a Dexter once a day and getting no more than half a gallon leaving the rest for her calf. I love to hand milk; there is just something about it that is just, well, satisfying. You go up with an empty bucket, work your arms to death, and are back in the house in 30 minutes with a full bucket of frothy milk…there aren’t many other things as instantly gratifying as that!

Granted, it can end up terribly sometimes…like when the cow kicks the bucket and spills all the milk all over the floor. I’ve also always figured that any time saved by machine milking would be made up for in the cleaning of the machine…and considering we drink our milk raw, proper sanitation is a huge deal. I know my hands are clean when I milk cause I can see ’em…I can’t see in all the parts and pieces of the machine.

Ellie came to us 4 months into her lactation and without her calf. This meant I had to milk 2 to 2½ gallons, twice a day…every day. My forearms became awfully Popeye-esque, apparently I twitched milked in my sleep, I lost all sensation in my thumbs, pointer & middle fingers, and I thought I was going to die…but I could give an ah-mazing back rub and I could do this awesome thing that made it look like I had worms under my skin on the back of my hand when I gripped the steering wheel quickly and repeatedly and it totally grossed freaked the kids out. You know, it really is the little things that count…and what can I say…I’m a glass half full kinda gal 😉 

Toward the end of Ellie’s lactation we dropped back to milking 2 gallons only once a day, and thankfully this allowed for my left hand to regain all its sensation. However, my right hand was still numb up until the end of May when I stopped milking in preparation for her next lactation. Oh, and did I mention a cow’s production increases on her second lactation??

So, I finally faced the reality that I needed to buy a machine…like, last week. And being from the family that I’m from, and the one I married into, I couldn’t just go out and buy a brand new machine. Pfft…not when there are so many good deals on used, rebuilt machines on ebay! I’ve been able to Frankenstein this thing together like nobody’s business, well, with the help of the good folks at the Keeping a Family Cow forum.

And while I am unreasonably terrified and intimidated by using, and cleaning, and hauling, this machine, I’m pretty sure I will hear a huge sigh of relief the first time Ellie hears that pump kick on. After the initial couple days adjustment period she put up with hand milking like a champ, but I could tell that she would get a tad irritated by the amount of time it took me to milk her out…being an ex-dairy girl, she was used to getting to business and then getting on with her day. I am terribly sad that the 30 minutes of peace and quiet in the barn that I cherish will be filled with the sound of my vacuum pump working away, but from what I hear I will wonder why I didn’t get a machine sooner.

And in spite of Boy 1’s efforts to spike it up with hair gel yesterday, Ellie’s smooth bangs poll hair are hinting to a little boy bumping around in there.  But oh my, how I would love a little spotted mini-Ellie running around the farm!  So, wish us luck and send some little heifer(girl) thoughts this way…will update with pictures after the big event 😉

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Snake!

Nothing gives me the heebie-jeebies more than coming across a snake…except for maybe Lima beans…and the unexpected splash of fresh, hot chicken poo on the back of the neck.

Being in South Texas we have the added bonus of being home to four different venomous snakes…snake sightings were somewhat common even when we lived in town . Granted you’re likely to find more snakes out in the boonies and even more so in the, ahem, swamp we call home.

In this area you can find rattlesnakes, coral snakes, copperheads, and water moccasins along with lots of non-venomous varieties. Funny the things one can be thankful for, eh? Some are thankful that the only snake they’ve ever come across was at the zoo…pfft…I’m thankful that we’ve never seen any rattlesnakes on our place and have only run across copperheads, the occasional water moccasin, and one coral snake. You know, it’s really the little things that count.

Our land had been vacant for some time before we moved here and it was terribly overgrown…perfect snake habitat. Well, at least that’s what we figured since we killed over 40 copperheads that first summer.

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My snake wranglers our first spring on the land….oh my, were they ever really that little?

Over the years our numbers have gone down dramatically, thanks to many snake hunting expeditions after dark and Boy 1’s crazy snake killing dog. I swear he thought it was his purpose in life to eradicate the world of slithering beasts, venomous or not. He’d get bit in the process every now and then, but he’d come straight up to the house for some Benadryl and a couple hours rest and then he’d be right back at it.

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Oh my, then there was the time The Girl found one in the bathroom. It was just the two of us at home, of course, since anytime something major happens the Farmerman is on shift or otherwise not home!

Time for the “back-story”…should only take a minute then we shall get back to the point at hand…sorry it’s hereditary…

The Girl got the whole potty training thing down pat by the time she was 3, except for when she REALLY had to go…and since she always waited till the last possible second to go, she ALWAYS, REALLY had to go. She’d run to the bathroom, doing the pee-pee dance, and then scream “I can’t do it!!” When asked why, she’d scream even more frantically “Cause I have to go too bad!!” Seriously…we have really never figured that one out.

355She’s so little….WAAAAA!!

So, The Girl was 3 and came running to me saying she had to go potty. I sent her to the bathroom and we go thru her normal routine (see above) a couple times. But then she comes back out, doing the pee-pee dance, and says she saw a snake. Being the awesome momma I am, I told her that it was probably a worm(thinking she had not really seen anything at all), and I sent her back in. She comes back again, still dancing, and adamantly tells me that she saw the snake again. So, another proud momma moment here, I start asking the poor dancing baby to describe the snake to me. When I asked her how long is was and she stretched her sweet little arms out as far as she could, I knew she had probably actually seen a snake…and it was in the bathroom!!!

After running her outside to cop a squat, we snuck back in, armed with a broom. I peered around the corner of the door just as a slithering, slimy snake stuck his head out from behind the toilet. So we did what any reasonable person would do…we shut the door and shoved a towel between it and the floor and we called Farmerman and the boys to come home and rescue us. Thankfully they were just down the street and were able to properly dispose of it. It would’ve been a long night without a potty if they hadn’t been around…snake wrangler is NOT in my job description! It was decided that an uncovered gray water drain line from our bathtub probably wasn’t the best idea, so we fixed it and never had a snake in the house again.

We’ve had chickens now for about 3 years and amazingly had never had one in the coop…till this past fall. I had a hen decide she wanted to be a momma and she had six perfect dark brown eggs under her. We marked it on the calendar and started counting down the 21 days till they hatched. We even candled them to see if they were growing and at day 17 all six were full of little chicks. Then on day 18, she only had 5 eggs under her…not ideal, but it does happen every now and then. Day 20 she had 2 eggs left. Day 22 we heard peeping as we walked up to the coop. Opened the door and saw momma and two chickies on the floor instead of the nest box…and a big black snake in her place in the nest box. That dang jerk had eaten all my her babies!! Thankfully Boy 1 was home and came to my rescue cause, again, Farmerman was at work 😉20130726-144053.jpg

We’ve had two or three more big black snakes in the laying boxes since then. I don’t know for sure since we may have seen the same one twice. Farmerman didn’t have fast enough hands a couple months ago and the snake got away. We think he was back again last night and The Girl almost grabbed him while collecting eggs…we seriously need to stop gathering eggs after dark! Farmerman reached in the box, grabbed that snake by the tail and pulled him out of the coop…did you catch that it was with HIS HANDS?!? It flipped and flopped around trying to get him before he was able to, um, very dramatically (according to The Girl) dispose of the egg thief. Don’t get me wrong, I think snakes have a place in the world and on our farm, but my coop is not it. I’m pretty sure he’s been partaking of the egg feast for some time and am confident he would’ve found his way back eventually had we just relocated him.

And wouldn’t you know that my dang “wanna be a momma or die” broody hens weren’t even discouraged by that snake creeping around under ’em?? I guess if the 100+ degree days, the passage of time (3 months), and a snake hasn’t deterred them from trying to hatch eggs, then nothing but a bunch of eggs hatching under them will get them out of the nest boxes…dang determined girls, they’re starting to worry me! So, since I don’t have a rooster at the moment, I bought the girls some babies! I am still waiting for some more to come in. When they do I’ll put a few under the girls and the rest in the incubator. Then when they hatch I’ll stick them all under the mommas and let those stubborn girls raise em for me 😉 Hopefully we will have some Birchen Marans chickies running around here in about 3 weeks or so!!

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These Birchen Marans are from Greenfire Farms who have the most beautiful birds…not where mine are from, but I’m hoping they’ll be as pretty

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Blue Laced Red Wyandottes…have I told you I’ve always wanted Wyandottes…arent they purty!!

Our chickens are free range during the day, but they make their way to the safety of the coop at dusk.  Adding the new chickies to the 39 we already have calls for a chicken coop expansion…and that’s what we’re off to do now! Will update with chickie pictures when we get some!

Meet Penelope

You’d never guess that she’s a former show girl, would ya?

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Don’t worry, sweet girl, it happens to the best of us 😉

Boy 2 raised & showed Penelope last year. From the beginning we knew she was something special…mainly cause she told us so.

What…your pig has never talked to you? Yep, neither had any of ours, until Penelope…seriously. You’ve never seen such a happy, easy going pig. And when you bend down and pick her ear up so you can see her eye to eye, she tells you all about her day, I promise!  Sometimes I think I even hear her grumbling about being an ex-beauty queen, world on a silver platter, and what her first 12 babies did to her body 😉

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She didn’t even complain, and actually seemed to enjoy it when it was time to get washed up before the shows…if you’ve ever been in the show barn during hog washing you know how traumatic it can be for all involved…hmph, I imagine anyone within a mile radius can hear that kind of ruckus. Can you say earplugs?!

And you’ve never seen a pig enjoy just being a pig as much as Penelope. Much to the horror of our FFA advisor, she absolutely LOVED running around the show ring at her first show…I swear all the giggling from the crowd even egged her on. She ran circles in that ring, grunting and snorting about till she got hot. She then proceeded to root herself out a nice cool spot in the dirt, then plopped down in it with a huge sigh of contentment. You’d have never known that Boy 2 spent time every day before that teaching her how to walk like a proper show girl should.
ACK…note to self…get a camera with a better zoom!
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Does it look like the judge is stifling a laugh, or trying to rub out the headache he feels coming on?? I’m going with laugh, just cause that’s what I was doing!

We just loved that girl, so much so that we decided to add her to our little herd of pasture pigs. Besides, since Gloucestershire Old Spots were used in creating the commercial Spot pig of today, we figured it’d be nice for Penelope to get back to her roots 😉

This was Penelope a couple weeks ago…poor girl, a big pregger belly like that in South Texas, in late June just can’t be much fun!
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And this (click for the video) was Penelope just over a week later…

She easily delivered 10 piglets in the pasture without the need of a farrowing crate or much help from the peanut gallery…

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What…full out zebra and momma’s Bogs isn’t your standard farm uniform?!

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It was really something else to watch. She would deliver a piglet, and as soon as it was up & running she would get up and go to another spot to have the next one. Once she had them all delivered she went and laid down near them and made her momma grunts to call them to her and the feeding frenzy began. I swear she kept getting up and moving because she was scared she was going to squish them! Well, that’s what I swear now…at the time I was freaking out thinking she was abandoning her babies and being a horrible momma. But then to watch her big ol’ 400ish lb self plop down and then call the babies was a truly humbling experience…we humans think we are so smart don’t we?? I really need to learn how to let nature take its course!

I really don’t know if there has been anything, ever, curter than a bunch of spotted babies!
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And they really do get up and start running and wrestling (video here too) around with each other, too…can you believe they were only about 2 hours old in the video?!

Bug Out, Hoarders, & Thrift Shops

Betcha never thought those terms went together, did ya?? Hang with me for a sec and I’ll give you the back story & then a video 😉 

**WARNING–this post contains all sorts of ’70s & early ’80s fashions**

Bugging out

Some 30 odd years ago, my grandparents and parents were apparently WAY ahead of their time. They came up with a “bug out” plan…well, that’s what they’d call it these days. Hmm, I have no idea what they called it back then…maybe a “get outta Dodge” plan, or an “escape from the city in the desert to the desert mountains” plan? All I know is that it was the late ’70s in the midst of gas shortages and economic unrest and my family felt like they needed to have a place they could escape to if it came to civil unrest. So, they bought some land out in the country, like 2 ½ hours out in the country, and put a mobile home on it. It was so far out in the country that there was no electricity, no running water, and no indoor plumbing. But, it was surrounded by public land that was full of deer & elk, and it was near the teeny tiny town Grandpa grew up in, so I guess it was an easy choice.

        

Hoard much??

There were many weekends and vacations spent when I was a baby setting up the mobile home and making sure it was pest and {amazingly} dust proof…my Grandpa was a meticulous sealer 😉 While Dad & Grandpa sealed, chopped firewood, shooed away pesky woodpeckers determined to break in, and killed rattlesnakes; Mom & Grandma spent their time at The Trailer stocking it with canned and dehydrated food, water, and toiletries. Oh, and it was also their job to make The Trailer feel like our home away from home. You’d think it’d be a big, expensive task to furnish and decorate a whole other house, right? Especially when our nation was in said economic unrest? Hah, you silly gooses you…you see, Grandma & Mom don’t throw or give anything away…EVER.

They were hoarders, when hoarding wasn’t coo-ool.

I am convinced Mom & Grandma agreed to the whole “Trailer” plan just so all their old things had a place to retire. The curtains in the living room used to reside in Mom & Dad’s bedroom in the city. The drawers were filled with outgrown baby clothes and “almost” worn out clothes. Outdated winter coats, Mom’s wedding shoes, and Grandma’s extra pink polyester robe complete with old tissues in the pocket {come on, you know your Grandma’s pockets were the same}, joined the hiking and snow boots in the closet.

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Over the years whenever either of them would redecorate, all the old decorations would inevitably end up at The Trailer. Tired of TV Guides & Mother Earth News piling up? Well, just take ’em to The Trailer. Found an extra deck of Old Maid playing cards at a yard sale?? Take ’em to the trailer! Got a good deal on a gazillion packets of Kool-Aid?? Take it to the trailer!! As a teenager I even hopped on the bandwagon and took my old Sassy & YM magazines out there…hoarding genetics apparently can’t be denied, folks.

Family Retreat

Since the unsure ’70s gave way to the more abundant ’80s and ’90s, The Trailer became more of a gathering place for the entire family than a post-apocalyptic shelter. It was a great place to just get away from it all, and an even better place to visit with family without any distractions. We hiked and slid down mountains, learned how to shoot a bow and arrow, and how NOT to shoot a BB gun…well, more like how NOT to pump up the BB gun 20ish times in a menacing way, point and shoot it at your cousin {thinking it was unloaded} who is prancing around down range like a bunny, then laugh hysterically when said cousin screams in what you think is mock pain when a BB from the NOT unloaded BB gun hits him in the butt thigh…po, Ty, po, po, Ty.

Sheesh, if it weren’t for the acid washed jacket I’d think this was Boy 2, not my brother!

For Mom it was a place to finally get some rest…she’d plop down in her favorite chair right by the Ashley stove and be knocked out till it was time to load up and go home…raising a family, going to school, and running a couple business can wear on a girl!

Mom, sticking her tongue out at Dad, and almost down for the count, I think we’d been there all of 30 seconds 😉

Visiting The Trailer was always like walking into a time capsule, or maybe even a literal home away from home. Heck, they even drilled a well and put a windmill up…now if we could just do something about the outhouse situation!!





Grandpa still meticulously kept The Trailer sealed so it would always be clean and well maintained for anyone who wanted to enjoy it, up until he just couldn’t do it anymore. It was only appropriate a few years back that it was there that the family met, almost all together, one last time in remembrance of him.

Passing the Torch

The Trailer has sat practically unused since then, and even though it had been years since Grandpa had worked on it, it remained clean and pest free…until two summers ago when the door was popped open. Since then it has been a constant worry of Grandma’s, to the point that she wanted to sell her half of it. Even though they were all too young to remember the one sad time they went to The Trailer, and even though we now live about 12 hours away, Boy 1, Boy 2, and The Girl decided they wanted to buy Grandma out.

We just got back home to the farm from a “working” visit to The Trailer to clean up the mess left from the door being open for who knows how long. Mom, Grandma, & my brother and nephews met us out there and the place is looking like new, well, actually more like old 😉 I went back to the big city with Mom and left the Boys & Farmerman to scout for their big elk hunt this fall. Like I said, there are NO distractions out there…we barely have cell service…so, with an obnoxious song stuck in their heads and a little time on their hands…they had just enough time left on the video camera to pay homage to some of what The Trailer encompasses 😉 Click HERE to be transported to the video on Vimeo {especially if viewing on a mobile device} or here to go to YouTube {won’t show on mobile devices 😦 }.

I spy, with my little eye, a bright pink polyester robe 😉

Free Range Bunnies??

Back in the fall, The Girl decided she just had to have some show bunnies.

Me: “Seriously?! But you already have TWO show pigs, we’ve got pasture piglets out the wazoo, and a brand new Ellie girl to milk! Do we really need bunnies, too?? And we know nothing about rabbits…and what are we going to do with them after the show?? I REFUSE to keep them. Besides, bunnies are only soft and fluffy until they start scratching the snot out of your wrists!”

The Girl: “But they’re SO cute, and SO fluffy, and SO soft and I promise I will go out there every day before and after school and take care of them all by myself!”

Boy 1: “I already told the ag teacher we would take 4.”

Sheesh…why the heck not?! We’ve always jumped into every farm adventure with both feet…whether we knew anything about said adventure before hand or not. Could bunnies really be so hard? Besides, The Girl said she’d take care of them all by herself, and promised that she would have no problem letting them go at the end of the show season.

And who can really say no to bunnies??

So, we became bunny owners
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And they were soft, and fluffy, and oh so stinkin’ sweet. The Girl handled them twice a day, every day as promised.  She even made a bunny log so she could track what they were eating and gaining, her idea and all by herself, with hand drawn pictures of each of the four bunnies :)…and they never once tried scratching her wrists off.

Show day came about two months after we got them. They took a respectable 37th place out of about 90-ish entries…and they made the sale! Yep, bunnies all of a sudden became the easiest FFA project ever…and did I mention we only went thru one bag of feed?!? Easy AND cheap…I think I’m in love!

Judge: "Can you tell me if this is a boy or a girl?"

Judge: “Can you tell me if this is a boy or a girl?”

The Girl:  "I have NO idea."

The Girl: “I have NO idea.”

But…now what? Show was over and The Girl was devastated that she had to sell them. So we did what we do best, we procrastinated, and we hemmed and hawed about it till one night while I was milking and The Girl was loving on one of her bunnies when she started giggling about how fat he was. I glanced over and saw that the little guy looked like he was growing a little…UDDER?! Do bunnies even have “udders”?? You see, we were told all 4 bunnies were boys, which gave us all the time in the world to grow them out to wabbit stew size figure out what we would be doing with them. Next day there was fur all over the cage, a definite sign of impending baby bunnies. We put the little fatso in a different cage and a couple days later she delivered. Unfortunately the one little bunny she had didn’t make it…and neither did the OTHER girl’s kits. Yep, that makes TWO girls out of the four, sheesh.

However, even with the disappointment from the loss of the bitty bunnies, a bunny business plan had begun to form in The Girl’s head. Poor thing, it’s a curse…we just can’t have or do anything “just because”…I blame my momma, and my grandma, and heck might as well throw my great-grandma in there too since I’m pretty sure it started with her ;).

Grandma Perkin's first beauty shop.

Grandma Perkins’ first beauty shop.

Since we already had the cages, she reasoned, couldn’t she please just keep them and sell the babies or, <gulp>, raise them for meat?? It seemed like a grand idea, till our cool spring turned into a downright hot summer and the wascaly wabbits started to get miserable…and then started getting out. After a week or two of rounding them up every night and after seeing how they looked so content running around the barnyard and paddock we decided they could just stay out for a while.  Besides, they couldn’t fit thru the smaller openings at the bottom of the fence, so they should be safe and sound, right? The Girl was warned that we may lose one, or all, this way but when a week passed and the bunnies were all still accounted for we started to think free range bunnies might not be so bad! Then one day we only counted three bunnies.  Then a couple days later another disappeared, then a third. The Girl was a wreck. Just when we thought all hope was lost, one showed back up, granted he was missing a small piece of ear and had a slightly wild look in his eye, but he was back nonetheless! We kept him out and spied on him hoping he would eventually lead us to the other missing bunnies. To our surprise he cooperated and finally led us right to them!

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And it’s no wonder we couldn’t find them…they were outside the fence…next to the road!!

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Since we figured they’d been there for a few days already, we decided they’d be ok to stay there…the fact that they were totally surrounded by, and most definitely covered in poison ivy may have had a little something to do with that decision.

However, the next day when the neighbors hound started hooting and hollering from the general direction of where the bunnies had been we knew that their free range time had come to an end. It took four of us over an hour to chase those darn things back to the barn, and I’m sure the neighbors driving home from work were wondering what the heck we were up to THIS time, but I’m happy to report that all four bunnies are accounted for and barricaded into their pens…how they were opening the door in the first place is still a mystery.

Our first attempt at free range rabbits has failed, and I’m pretty sure they picked up some fleas while they were out in the “wild”…seriously, how do you get rid of fleas on a rabbit? Knowing how happy they were out there means I’m sure we will try to figure something else out, but for now I’ve got poison ivy and scratched wrists to tend to ;).

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UPDATE!!

Before I could get this posted, The Girl went out and checked her bunnies and we found this!!  This harebrained…heehee, couldn’t help myself…bunny plan just might work out after all!

A Tale of Two Stanleys

I admit it, we are horrible at naming animals. It’s been that way for years, ever since a stray dog wandered into our yard. We kept thinking he’d be claimed or head back home, but he wasn’t and didn’t, so we called him Dog…original right? Next opportunity to come up with an oh so unique name was when we bought the jungle that would eventually become Sweet Liberty Farm. Apparently our “vacant” property was actually home to a sweet little dog who we named Lady. We’ve had a donkey named Jack, a black and white Hampshire show pig named Oreo, and Broke-Leg, the hen with a limp from a healed broken leg.

I know, it’s a problem…thankfully we have some pretty original kids. Their first foray into naming was with our very first pigs. They came up with Maple & Crispy, otherwise known as Mrs. & Mr. Bacon.

Our first heritage piglets were a Red Wattle gilt who we were going to raise up to be a momma, and her brother who was destined for the freezer. Boy 1, tired of hearing us call them “piggy”, decided they should be Lucy and Stanley. Such originally silly names for pigs, right? Oh, but how their names suited them, especially Stanley’s.

Boy 1 & Stanley
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Now I know a lot of y’all out there just don’t know how we could ever eat something that has a name, especially a something that we’ve raised from a sweet little red, floppy eared piglet who squeaked like a squeaky toy whenever he was talking to his sister. So, I’ll tell you what I’ve told myself and the kiddos…we love bacon, and pork chops, and pulled pork sandwiches, and ham, and sausage, and, well you get the picture. Since we will never stop eating them, ever, we have a couple choices. We could continue to buy our pork products from the grocery store with all it’s pretty packages filled with nameless animals that have most likely never seen sunshine, never wallered in the mud or played in the sprinklers, and have possibly chewed on the metal rails of their tiny pens until their mouths are bloody…a sad reality in most large commercial hog operations. Or, we could fill our freezer, and bellies, with the product of a happy pig named Stanley who gets to not only play in the mud and bask in the sunshine, but who gets to chase his sister and other herd mates thru the pasture. Not to mention the daily belly rubs that can make a 400 lb Stanley weak in the knees. We know that Stanley got to live, well, like a pig and we loved on him every chance we got. I won’t lie, it was hard to drop him off at the processor, but we know that he was given the best life a pig could have. He has also served his final purpose by providing us with such unbelievably tasty bacon…must’ve been the belly rubs 😉

As a final tribute to our boy Stanley, and to avoid boring name choices in the future, it was decided that all of our future meat piglets would be named Stanley…ahem, even if we were raising more than one at a time…I told you we were bad at names.

Meet Black Stanley and White Stanley…otherwise known as “The Stanleys”.

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They are out of our two litters this last winter and will be heading off to “freezer camp” sometime this fall. Black Stanley is kind of grumpy, but you’ve never seen bliss till you’ve seen him being sprayed with the water hose. And, oh my, White Stanley is such a happy, sweet, easy going boy who has his momma’s quirky personality…I am dreading that final goodbye…but not nearly as much as I despise the idea of promoting the practice of factory farming by buying those dry, tasteless supermarket packages.

If you would like to raise a Stanley of your own, but don’t have a way to…why not let us do it for you? We currently have limited openings in our Half and Whole hog CSA Shares. Please see the Pastured Pork page on our farm website www.SweetLibertyFarm.com, for more info.