The pigs are in the garden. That’s a pretty good indicator of the growing season being over. The last thing to be picked was our dry beans, on Saturday. Sunday was just breezy enough to make winnowing the beans possible without a fan. I’ve been plenty busy in the kitchen getting the last of the canning done, green tomatoes and jellies. I’ll do my best to get some of the really yummy recipes that I’ve been using up on the blog as things continue to slow down into fall and winter.
This was the ‘last hurrah’ CSA drop. Each share took home two spaghetti squash and 2 pumpkins. This year’s varieties were ‘Crown‘ which is the smaller grey-green pumpkin. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks quite good! It’s supposed to be a great eating squash and a great keeper too. A friend has compared one of her favorites, the Hubbard squash with our other pick the ‘Cinderella’ or ‘Rouge vif d’Etampes‘ pumpkin and said that the Cinderella is a winner.
Both pumpkin varieties should be quite good roasted and seasoned just as you’d use an acorn or buttercup squash. Of course with the large Cinderella you could probably make several pies, breads and batches of cookies as well!
Dry beans were also in the share, this year we grew ‘Calypso‘. Also, two onions, carrots, green tomatoes and herbs (rosemary, parsley and thyme.) To finish the season with a bang, we also sent some really tasty canned goods: Green Tomato Salsa Verde, Lavender Chardonnay (or Pinot Grigio) Jelly and either a Rosemary Orange or Rosemary Cranberry Glaze/Sauce that is great on meat. I tried the Rosemary Orange on toast, but it was a bit of a stretch for me.
That does it for this season. Though it was a somewhat challenging year in the garden, I think we sent some pretty good things home with our shareholders. I even have a new favorite green bean variety! There are always lessons, thanks for hanging on with us this season.
This winter was a tough one for anyone raising hogs. A virus has been spreading around the country killing piglets on many large farms. That has left a shortage of piglets for farms like ours that don’t breed our own. After this spring’s search for enough to fill our pork orders, I’m re-thinking my reluctance to farrow on farm.
We picked up these two long haired beauts at a small farm East of Cavalier that also raised a miniature beef cattle breed (low land Angus, I think) horses and were looking into adding chickens to their mix. This boar (Camo) and gilt (Jackson) have been rooting from the beginning and are loving their new home. Yes, they came with names!
We had to get our pigs from two different farms, since we couldn’t find the six we needed from pasture based farms. These little guys came from a local CAFO. It was our last choice, but they seem to be loving the pastured life! They are learning to wallow and root in the soil like champs. They came with docked tails, a bummer because pigs use their long tails for swatting flies. Though, wallowing in mud helps with that. In confinement, hogs will chew each other’s tails because of stress/aggression. Docking tails makes them more sensitive, so the chew-ee won’t allow the chew-er to continue the behavior. On pasture, the animals have enough space to get away from each other and is a lower stress situation so that tail biting is generally not an issue.
We were a bit worried about integrating hogs from different farms, especially because there is a bit of a size/age difference. So far, that fear is unfounded. It seems that the long hairs are teaching the pink boys to embrace their instinctual behaviors. The little pinks will, hopefully, get the others to embrace the nipple water-er that allows us to keep the hog’s drinking water clean.
Right now the pigs are in a mostly un-used area of the farm, tucked between our quonset, winter chicken coop and our grain bins. Soon they’ll move out into our wooded area, where they will help to clear old brush.