Pigs, Produce and Preserving

I need to stop making pledges about any particular schedule of blogging. Summer gets the best of us in many ways. The weeds begin to win and the wind goes out of the sails, often just when it is time for fall gardening. I don’t think people understand the importance of this overlapping time period, particularly where we are in southern central Virginia. There is definitely a fall season, just perfect for greens, with some like collards thriving AFTER the first frost. Many people won’t eat them before then. Add broccoli, lettuces, and kale and you have a wonderful fall harvest. But it means starting that while you are still doing the other even as the days are getting shorter. So, Bob is working hard, gleaning what he can before turning over the soil.

So, there’s a lot going on farm wise including the addition of a new pig. We adopted a full blooded Berkshire boar to help bring some diversity to our gene pool. Watch out, ladies, he is a looker! We also still have Biscuit, who managed to escape the pen a couple times this summer, laying waste to the hen yard and stirring up the rest of the herd. I led him back at 3 AM one morning, tossing pieces of watermelons and squash along the way. He seems more secure now behind electric fence, but we always feed him first to discourage head butting the chain link. He has, Bob says, “No respect for the fence.”

We had three litters of pigs this summer and learned a lot, including a few painful lessons with sad consequences. But, we also had a wonderful time watching one litter, Hamp’s Herd, grow up. They were the last group born and lived the most wild, natural life with their mama. In fact, for the first eight weeks, they were pretty much free ranging as they could easily slip under the electric fence. They used the nearby soybean field to move around, coming back for a meal with mama and then heading out to pillage the cantaloupe bed.

Potatoes are coming in just now, redskins and yukon golds. Several varieties of sweet potatoes won’t be too far behind. We ate the first potatoes last night, roasted with chicken. I am looking forward to freezing mashed potatoes for us to break out at Thanksgiving. I’ve done them before and they are just like you find in the freezer case but you can decide what to add to them. Ditto for sweet potatoes which can go into muffins, pies and the traditional marshmallow casserole.

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