Saturday, September 3, 2011


The total cost of raising the pigs, including purchase, milk replacer, feed and slaughter came to $550.18.  With a total meat return of 230 lbs the total cost is $2.39 per pound of meat.  This definitely worked out in our favor given the cost of pork currently.  Plus it was a great family experience and the children got to learn a lot about raising our own food.

The Meat- Uncured

Today we got back 129 lbs of uncured pork as listed below.  The cured meats, ham and bacon, will come back in 2 weeks.

Pork Chops- 21 packages of 6/package- 53 lbs
Pork Steaks- 7 packages- 11 lbs
Country Style Ribs- 6 packages- 14 lbs
Spare Ribs- 4 packages- 11 lbs
Sausage- 32 packages- 32 lbs
Neck Bones with meat- 4 packages- 8 lbs

Monday, August 29, 2011

Napolean and Wilbur

Napolean and Wilbur went to the butcher today.  We have thoroughly enjoyed them but it was definitely time for this chapter to come to an end.  Napolean's estimated weight is 300 lbs and Wilburs is 220 lbs based on measurements of girth and length.  They had a great send off and we look forward to getting the meat back later this week.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Chase hates to take naps.  But he was more than willing to try to sleep in the dogs' bed.  The dogs weren't too sure what to do about it though. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Indoor Beehive

Indoor Hive Entrance

Although the weather wasn't pleasant today, it has been very nice the past few weeks.  Hopefully, those warm days will result in some large bee swarms this spring.  Our indoor hive is waiting for a nice swarm to decide to move in.  Alternatively, James may add a swarm he collects locally if necessary.  Already, a few scout bees have found the hive entrance and explore it daily.
Indoor Hive
(the exit is in the bottom left)

Sunday, April 3, 2011


The Field-Before

The Field-After

We spent a wonderful weekend as a family working on our garden.  Everyone helped and we got far more accomplished than we expected.  We tilled and planted 1/8 of an acre of corn.  We also planted 1/8 of an acre of watermelon, canteloupe, honey dew, pumpkin and a few varieties of winter squash.  The main garden is tilled, as well, but not planted yet.  It is only 2500 square feet.  Planting it will come in the next few weeks. The kids did an amazing job of helping out and it is great to see them so willing to work with a great attitude. 
The Main Garden-After

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wilbur and Napoleon

Wilbur is doing very well and growing daily.  And he has a new best friend.  Without Charlotte and Templeton he seemed lonely and so Napoleon has come to stay.  Napoleon is 3 weeks older but a lot bigger.  They wrestle constantly and charge around snorting and squealing as best friends will, if they happen to be pigs.  They are excited to be able to finally move outside this weekend.  The warmer weather has made it possible for them to stay outside the shed permanently.  Their pen is under the old henhouse and it will provide them plenty of shade in the hot months ahead.  The swimming pool is their favorite place to lay in the midday heat.
Hannah helps feed them every day and likes to sit and watch them.  All the kids like to climb in the new pen and pet the pigs.  They have to be careful though.  Eating is taken very seriously.  After Napoleon and Wilbur eat they aren't real huggable, as you can see below.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Buff Orpington hen setting on eggs.

We are getting up to 20 eggs a day now.  We are selling some and eating a lot.  We may get sick of them before long.  The older 3 kids each have their own breed and have each chicken named.  Carter has white leghorns.  Brenden has ameraucanas.  Hannah has Black copper marans.  And all three will tell you they have the best hens.  We also have a few Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Cuckoo Marans, Black Astralorps and some mutts.
Americauna Rooster

Black Copper Maran Rooster

Black Copper Maran Hen

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wilbur- Stage II

Kori and I returned from a 3 day trip to a homeschool conference to find that Wilbur had grown tall and lanky.  He is also significantly faster when he moves.  He is making attempts at jumping out of the 29 gallon aquarium he calls home.  Grandmommy and Hannah did a great job feeding him while we were away.

We made great progress today with Wilbur.  After holding out for almost 9 hours he finally drank his milk from a bowl.  In doing so he also began taking nearly double the amount of milk he was drinking previously.  We are now offering him 4 ounces every 2 hours by bowl and he drinks it messily.  Fun fact for the day- when bored, pigs can blow bubbles in their milk.  Wilbur has too much time on his feet.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Easter Eggs

The chickens are steadily increasing the number of eggs they lay.  We average around 13 a day right now.  It is great to see they kids get excited about the different colors we are getting.  Our adult friends are surprised at the color range, as well.  This is the first year we have had such a varied flock and have really enjoyed them all.  Below is a typical day's worth of eggs.


We are down to one, thankfully healthy, pig.  Wilbur is our lone survivor.  Charlotte died within a 12 hour period of getting sick on Wednesday night.  We didn't have much warning at all.  For the record, placing an IV in a piglet isn't easy.

Wilbur is doing very well and now weighs 2 lbs 9 ounces.  He drinks 2-3 ounces at every feed.  We voted and decided to drop the night feeding at 2 am.  There was only one vote against and that was Wilbur's.  He was able to go to the Animal Clinic with me on Sunday and everyone loved him.  He got far more attention than your average pig.  

Wilbur is a Hampshire and has very distinct markings which help add to his cuteness.  We are somewhat disappointed that Wilbur's only means of communication consists of screams and grunts.  He is absolutely satisfied and happy, or he is not.  There is no middle ground.  So we try to keep him happy and he tries to let us know when we fail.  He can move amazingly fast when he wants to run.  Amazing that God made them so effective at escape from predators at such a young age.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Wilbur and Charlotte are doing well.  Unfortunately, Templeton died last night.  He had steadily eaten less and less.  He was much smaller than the other two and had far less hair than either of them and may have been underdeveloped.  He also did not get colostrum from the mother and so was less protected than they were.  We were all disappointed but we had already warned the kids when we brought him home so they were not surprised.  Wilbur eats the most every time and is visibly growing.  Hannah made the comment tonight that she thinks he would already feed three or four people.  Brenden has been helping feed the piglets during the day when Dad is gone.  Carter and Chase love to visit the piglets but neither wants to hold them. Carter already wants to get a few more.  Dad vetoed this, knowing that if he didn't, Mom would.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Arrivals

Yesterday we brought home 3 piglets from a sow who's surprise delivery occurred while she was waiting to be picked up to go to the butcher.  After talking to the owner, Hannah and Dad bought two piglets and were given a third that had been laid on by the mom.  It was cold and lifeless but quickly revived after we provided some sugar water and heat.  The kids were very excited.  Especially Chase, who recognized what they were immediately.  The kids were told that we could raise the piglets but that they would be food sometime in the future.  They reluctantly agreed after we explained how much damage a 450 lb pig could do and that the expense of feeding them would be horrific at that point. 

We will raise the pigs approximately 5-6 months, until about mid July or so.  In that time we will give them a great life.  And we will get the gift of knowing exactly what goes into our bacon and ham. 

We have named the girl Charlotte.  The two boys are named Wilbur and Templeton.  So far they are eating about 1.5-2.5 ounces every 4 hours around the clock.  They squeal quite excitedly when they hear us coming with the milk. We will have to let you know whether this is still fun after a week of this schedule.