May 17, 2012
We had a wonderful visit today with one of our readers, Luann Barbagallo, who stopped by to pick up two pints of syrup and to see just what PHF was all about.
Luann and her family are starting their own homestead in a nearby county. I’m not sure what pearls of wisdom we had to offer as Luann has twenty years of gardening, canning and raising milk goats under her belt. That experience will go a long way in starting a homestead. I hope to keep in touch Luann, you never know, we may need some milk goat advice when we finally get to that stage.
We showed her how the off grid system worked and then took a tour of the farm, stopping by to see the princess piggies. The girls were on their best behavior and allowed Luann to view the pig palace set up. She was interested to see what methods we use to raise our pigs since she and her husband will be purchasing their own feeder pigs in just a few days.
We showed her the smoke house where we smoked eight hams last fall, because if your going to raise pigs you have to have a smoke house. She whole heartedly agreed.
In the past few years we have come to know several homesteading families and one of the nice things about it is that we all share ideas. Everyone has abilities that can help another. We are all folks who choose to live a simpler lifestyle, who choose to leave the whirlwind world of consumerism and depend on our own ingenuity to provide for ourselves.
It was a great experience to meet someone from our blog family of readers. Luann, thank you so much for stopping by, we thoroughly enjoyed your visit. Wish you lived a little bit closer. You and your husband are always welcome.
April 4, 2012
Sonny and Bill set out on an adventure yesterday to pick up four piglets. They purchased them from a farm located a few hours from here near the town of Farmington. I’m not sure why it took all day but I believe the directions may have been a bit difficult to follow. Out here in the country roads are not always labeled and landmarks are often used instead. If you are not familiar with the area it can be quite a tail chaser to find your destination.
But despite that Sonny and Bill came home with four piglets. Two are blue butts and two are Hampshires. We will be raising the three females and Sonny delivered the hampshire male to Twolynns Farm where he will be treated like king.
Our three girls have already made themselves at home and are quite the princess piggies. I went down to the pig palace this morning and they were still asleep in their house, stretched out on a thick mattress of soft hay. I poured their morning rations into the feed trough and sweetly called out for them to come to breakfast. One of the girls raised her head slightly and gave me a look of royal disdain. How dare I wake them? I left them to their beauty sleep and figured they would eat when they were ready. So young and already full of attitude.
Who are those two guys? Are they our new footmen?
Checking out the new digs.
What...no truffles hidden under this hay?
March 31, 2012
Its only the last day of March and the daffodils are already dried and withered. We have experienced one morning of frost, but we were prepared and covered all the berry bushes. The only problem is we forgot about the Hydrangea bushes and the newly sprouting leaves got a little burned. I believe they will be fine and recover.
We have extended the garden even more. Now it wraps all the way around the smaller PV array. Sonny and Bill have been busy putting up fencing. I planted about a hundred yellow onions and about thirty red onions. We didn’t plant near enough last year, so hopefully we have enough to graze on through the summer and be able to harvest a good many to put up for the winter. It sounds like a lot of onions, but what survives in a garden is always a gamble. The chickens already got in there and unearthed a couple of bulbs by doing the chicken dance on top of the rows.
We made sure we planted the rows wide enough for the rototiller to pass through. Hopefully this will help keep the weeds under control. We will still have to hand pull the weeds around the plants but we won’t have to kill ourselves weeding the walkways. We barely had the rototiller home and unloaded before Sonny had it out in the garden tilling up between the rows of onions. He did this even though they haven’t popped through the soil yet.
If all goes well we will raise some more pigs this year. Bill and Paula found some piglets for sale in the trader paper. We plan to go check them out tomorrow and if they appear to be healthy we will bring them home. Sonny has been scrambling to get the hog pen ready. We dragged out the feed trough this morning and scrubbed it out. It needs a little repair after the beatings it took from the frat boy’s (last years pigs) wild wing dings. We still need to make sure the fence is in good order, clean the water trough and set up the water tank. Bill is going to come over tomorrow morning to help get things in order before we all head out on our piglet excursion. I can hardly wait to have my ears drilled through with the shrill, nails across a chalk board, ear deafening squeals of those piglets as they are loaded onto the truck. (thats sarcasm if you weren’t sure). Maybe I’ll take a pair of ear plugs along and save myself a 150 decibel headache.
We hope to pick up at least three piglets. One for Bill and Paula, one for us, and then we will split the last one. Oh, and if they have another extra one available we will pick one up for Twolynns Farm. I’m definitely gonna need a those ear plugs.
The tomatoes and green peppers we planted in the greenhouse are sprouting up. Its been pretty cool at night so I have been bringing them into the house. They need temps to be at least in the 60’s to get a good start.
Green pepper sprout.
The beginnings of a tomato plant.
These warmer afternoons has had us hankering for a rest on the porch swing. We cleared away the stack of leftover winter wood for the wood stove and hung up the porch swing in its place. We weren’t the first ones to get to lounge on it though. The moment our backs were turned Moby The Immobilizer had taken his place on the slated seat and stretched out full length. Ahh, a mouse snack, a warm sunny afternoon, and a nap. Life is good for a farm cat.
April 11, 2011
When you live on a farm you have to get work done while the sun shines and Pot Hole Farm is no exception. We had plenty of sun beams streaming this morning so I thought it was a good time to rake up the fallen branches and debris in the yard. A wheelbarrow and rake…what more could a girl ask for? With the warmer days and rain showers the grass has been growing like Rip Van Winkles beard. It’s time for the lawn mower to come out of winter storage to give the grass a well needed trim, but it won’t be today with a storm on the horizon.
I’m not the only one with this idea. When I rode down to the Country Store this morning to pick up some bread I saw two of my neighbors buzzing around the yard on their lawn mowers. It always reminds me of those clowns in the little car racing around the ring of the circus Big Top. I know I look like that too when I cut grass. No one goes at a slow speed. We always have the mower in top gear cutting rows back and forth through the grass and making circles around obstacles. Sonny can lean down and pick up a stray dog toy and never slow up. I on the other hand would end up in the creek.
Of course I had my crew working with me today. Ruby, Moby and the chickens. The guineas were off working in another department, but I have heard rumblings of a strike. Those guineas are all union. Ruby pulled out more sticks as fast I could rake them up and the chickens and Moby inspected all my work. Slave drivers. I think I deserve a raise.
I think I better get the Quality Control Supervisors over here.
Looks like production is slow. Tell her to get a move on.
April 10, 2011
The temps today got up to eighty degrees and the sun was shining all day for a change. I actually broke a sweat while I planted the strawberry plants that we bought last weekend.
Sonny built a raised bed out of 2x6s and we decided to put it along the side of the porch. They will get full sun there. We needed to fill the bed with some dirt so we got a wheel barrow load from the garden. I had two bags of organic potting soil and we mixed that in as well. Our soil here is mostly clay and I’ve read that strawberries like a more sandy type soil. Luckily there is still some sand left from the root cellar project. The masons left it when they put the block up last year.
A dab of that mixed with the rest of the soil and the strawberry plants should be happy.
Of course the chickens had to inspect while I was planting the strawberries. They were just itching to get in that strawberry bed and do the chicken dance. Unfortunately for them the strawberry patch will not be a chicken disco because I put a fence around it. I fashioned a fence out of chicken wire and four fence stakes. The fence stakes worked well as anchors on the four corners to keep the chicken wire from sagging. I secured the fencing material to the stakes by reusing the wire that had secured the roll of chicken wire. Then I stapled the rest of the fence to wood boards. It turned out to be pretty sturdy.
It should be easy to cover the plants with a sheet if we get a freeze and I have some wedding veil material that I picked up at the flea market last year if birds try to eat the berries. With any luck strawberry shortcake will be on the desert menu.
Saturday John and Carol helped us put the fencing up for the pig pen. Sonny bought some supplies but to keep costs down we have been using left over materials from other projects. We had some cattle wire and T-posts and John had the wood posts and gate. It helps when you don’t have to go buy all new materials to a job.
Pot Hole Farm Pig Pen
It took all morning to put up the fence but with everyone pitching in it was finished in no time. We still need to do a little damage control to make sure the pigs can’t root their way out, but if they do we all know whose pig it will be. Yea, thats right. Speed dial.