Cottage Bacon

We added a new member to our bacon family.  This week we received our first batch of Cottage Bacon back from the smokehouse.  It is a cured pork shoulder (Boston Butt to be precise) that has been smoked and sliced.  Cooking in a skillet is fast and easy, just like bacon, but this is a meatier cut, so the pieces taste somewhere between bacon and fried ham.  Needless to say, we like it. It can make a great accompaniment to a breakfast, but also try it as a BLT sandwich variant. Get… Read More

Freezer Park

Harry is the king of malapropisms around here, and the words and phrases he coins are usually superior to any of the correct ones extant in the English language, so we have adopted some Harry-isms into our vocabulary.  Here’s the story on his latest:  freezer park. This Saturday I finished installation on our second walk-in freezer.  I built it in the abandoned side of our house (see this post last year about stabilizing the structure).  We all dreamed of converting that room into a kitchen and eventually rebuilding the house starting with… Read More

Better Late Than Never

After months of flooded fields and delays due to my recuperation from leg and back injuries, the pigs are finally out on pasture.  We usually can get the pigs out of their winter yard by early May once the grass starts growing, but this spring has been atypical. The pigs all were happy to be on grass.  I trucked them out back this evening and they went right to work digging their new digs.  Their first order of business was to establish a mud wallow. After they swamped around, they moved back into… Read More

Let the Feeder Feed the Chickens

Update Jan 2018:  I wrote a follow-up with dimensions here. I guess I can say I’m a veteran chicken feeder builder.  I’ve learned that there are innumerable ways to build a container from which chickens eat, but very few of the feeders I’ve built (or the ones I’ve seen elsewhere, or the store bought ones for that matter) are efficient.  And of all the livestock classes, pastured chickens have the most challenging economics, so inefficient feeding is the quickest way to financial ruin.  Right now we are in the peak of chicken… Read More

Cows in the Yard

We have a steep, weedy patch just behind the house.  When we moved here it had a small mowed path through the middle, but the rest was dense overgrown sumac and wild grape tangled under a poplar canopy.  After running the pigs through and then following up with untold hours of chainsawing, we managed to open the understory and get a pretty good stand of orchardgrass and clover to grow there.  There are still some patches of heavy burdock in places where we’ve fed pigs, but that’s a decent forage in its… Read More

Just for Pretty: Kittens

Mama didn’t raise no fool.  The kittens are getting taught by their mother to hang out right at the front door, since there’s always a chance that one of us will bring them something to eat.  Not that there are aren’t a zillion mice around in the fields and voles in the gardens, but the cats are opportunists and they’ll gladly accept handouts.  Having cats underfoot is an annoyance, but they are undeniably cute, so we don’t begrudge them their habit of obstructing the doorway.