Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A ride in the country...

So as I had posted earlier, we had a little snag when I called about getting our pigs processed. Mainly that the butcher shop closest to us and recommended by the folks we bought our pigs from was backed up until January! And I called at the very beginning of November! So I got some more names and did some more calling around. I was ready to drive these pigs across the country if it meant getting rid of them! In reality, I was feeling a bit panicky because we had only planned to have them through the fall and had no set up for the water to prevent freezing and the pen is so far from the house there is no way I wanted to lug water up there every day, aside from the matter of slogging food through snow and mud twice a day up to them. More than one place was booked through January. I guess deer season really gets these places hopping. Who knew that it was necessary to plan things like this so far ahead? Not I...

Happily, I found a place that could take care of the pigs for us at the end of November and only a mere two hour drive from us. So on Friday, Paul borrowed a trailer, built higher sides for it and with my dad's help loaded the pigs up. I had envisioned this going totally wrong with escaped pigs and that sort of thing, but with some prodding from Paul and the promise of a meal on the trailer, they walked right up the ramp. So I didn't get any even mildly funny pictures or stories to tell. Since we had to make an early start Saturday morning, we had the pigs stay in the trailer for the night. I had visions of escaped pigs and trying to round them up in the morning, but thankfully, Paul's construction was up to the task and the pigs were still in the trailer in the morning. With the kiddos at the grandparents', Paul and I took the drive to Weston to get rid of the pigs. Again, I had visions of the pigs escaping when they were unloaded from the trailer, but they went ever so compliantly into the livestock herding gates at the butcher shop. Reading this over, I can see that the one time we dealt with getting an escaped pig back to the pen must have made a traumatic impression on me that I didn't want to repeat in any way, shape or form.

They slapped some big tags on the pigs to mark them as ours, and then we went into the office to fill out our cut sheets. It's how you tell what cuts of meat you'd like from your animals. Since it was the first time we'd ever done it, I felt like we were just calling shots in the dark. We figured next time it'd be easier to know what to ask for because we'd figure it out and go from what we get this time around. I get the idea we're going to be eating lots of pork this coming year, and that's fine with us. It's just hard deciding whether to turn shoulders into roasts or sausage and if you don't turn them into sausage, how much sausage will you come out with. Conversely, if you decide to turn the shoulders into sausage, how much sausage are you going to have to put away during the next year? And will the kids be willing to eat the hot sausage or complain about it being "too hot"? Plus add in the factor that half of one of the pigs was for my parents and trying to figure out what they'd like... You get the idea, I think.

Anyhow, the meat is supposed to be ready for picking up sometime this week ready for pickup now. (While I was writing this all out, they called to say we could pickup anytime.) All except for the bacon and hams that they have to send out for curing and really couldn't give us an idea of how quickly they'd be back because it depended on how busy the place that cures is. So that's a total of three trips to get rid of these pigs. That converts to roughly 12 hours of driving--but it feels so great not have to hike up the hill for feedings twice a day now. In fact, I think one of us still comments on it every time feeding time rolls around. Will we do this again? I think so, especially with the time and effort put into building the pig pen and shelter. We do have a bit of fixing up to do with the pen before more can go in because we didn't put electric fencing into their house area, so they rooted big holes under the back of it. They were too big to get out by the time they figured that out, but it wouldn't hold little piggies as is. The solar charger on the electric fencing worked very well at keeping them from tearing up the edges of the pen, except for the week that Paul turned it off and they went to town along the back edge. The final jury is still out until we can actually count (and taste) the dividends.

And to finish the post up, here's a couple pictures of the old Weston State Hospital which was constructed in the 1800's to house the mentally ill. It is the largest cut stone building in the United States, and might be the second largest in the world. Closed in 1994, the grounds of the buildings are impressive, and old pictures show a rather attractive setting. The building is huge and there are two similar sized buildings of brick also on the grounds.


brokenteepee December 1, 2009 at 1:40 PM  

I am glad you got your piggies to the butcher.
I remember when we had our first deer there and they are asking me what I wanted and I was like, well, a deer in the headlights 'cause I had never done it before. Then when we took Michael the goat I was crying 'cause he was my baby and I didn't want to be there.

About This Blogger

I am a thirty-something mother of two girls and a boy ranging from preschool to middle school. My husband and I keep working and reworking on our goal of raising our family healthier. Our house is a constant work under construction--adding on and remodeling. We're happy to have bought our property a few years ago, but as any homeowners know, owning a home just adds to your list of projects and chores because there's always improvements to be made and maintenance to be done. On our burgeoning homestead, we have chickens, guineas, a few goats, and our most recent additions-rabbits.
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I picked the name Petalz and Finz a couple years ago when I decided to try Etsy out. I wanted to custom make some baby related items and have things for girls and boys. I felt the name incorporated both my kids (at the time) into it--petalz for Ivy and finz for Finn.

I haven't had time to do much of anything with my Etsy for a while, but it's still my in my long term goals. In the mean time, I'm having fun with this blog thing. I've found some creative inspiration through my own posting, but also through many other wonderful blogs out there.
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