There are more new piglets. There are now more than thirty six piglets running around the barn at various ages. The two sows that had piglets last week are sharing the seventeen piglets between the two of them. Yesterday when we peeked into their stall, all the piglets except one were snuggled up together to one mama, and there was just one with the other sow. They like to pile up together to keep cozy and warm. Then one mother will roll over so the piglets cannot nurse anymore and they will all make their way to the other mama. These piglets are getting very pudgy very quickly.
The pigs are currently being treated with an abundance of mouth-watering Honeycrisp apples! These apples are culls from Noggins Farm's dried apple chip production. The pigs go crazy for them! Even the piglets get caught up in the excitement and gobble them up.
This potato and sausage pie uses sausage, but you could also use your ground pork if you still have it in your freezer. Just spice up the pork a bit first. To use your sausages, let them thaw then break open the casings.
Please note this week the value of the shares are larger because of a mix up from last week when the values were a little under what we wanted them to be. We will be back to normal next week.
As I dropped Nathan off to do chores on Saturday, Josh had just been by with a bin of apples for the pigs and cattle, and they were chowing down very happily. I couldn't help but snap a picture of them all sharing the space together.
Tales from the barnyard:
This morning when Nathan arrived at the barn, he was delighted to find that Orena and Blackie had both farrowed (gave birth) just a few hours earlier. We now have 24 piglets who seem to be doing very well. The piglets have a heat lamp to go under for extra warmth, when they are not nursing.
The whole chicken in the full monty meat share is a stewing hen. These hens need a slow and low approach to cooking them, if you do this you will be rewarded with the most flavourful and tender meat. Great for stews, soups, pot pies, coq au vin (see recipe below), etc.
Coq au vin, is a recipe for an older rooster (coq) or hen, who since they have used their muscles so much more have gotten tough and need a longer cooking time to make those muscles tender.
We took a beef in on Monday to the butcher. It will hang, or dry aged, for two weeks before it cut up. Hanging has a few different purposes; it allows the natural enzymes to break down the tissue making it more tender and it drys out the meat concentrating the flavor.
One of the concerns we had before we installed the water lines was how to keep the water lines from freezing. So far this winter we have only had the lines freeze once. That was on a particularly cold and windy night and some of the doors were inadvertently left open. However, once the doors were closed, it only took a couple hours for the lines to thaw again. It is amazing how much heat farm animals produce. Most of time the barn stays between 4-8 degrees celsius, even when it is -15 degrees outside. We have found that as long as we are attentive at opening the doors in the morning and closing them at night then we can keep the barn above the freezing point. (The doors being the openings for the pigs, hens, and cattle to go through to have access to the out doors.)
Chicken wings or ham steak or deli ham or bacon $9-12 value
($17.50- $20.50 value)
Monty Meat Share:
Bone-in Chicken Breast $9/lb average weight 2.46lbs ($22.14 value)
Tails from the barnyard:
We got a new poop shovel! The old one was just too worn out, all the scraping on the floor of a pen really takes a toll on a shovel. With the new shovel the pens can be cleaned out with greater ease and speed.
We brought 13 pigs into the butcher in the last two weeks, and there are about 6 more that will be ready soon. You can look forward to more pork in your shares from now on.
1 pack chicken thighs 1.48lbs average @ $6/lb $8.88 value
Tails from the barnyard:
It was a wonderful Christmas for all. Of course daily animal chores continued as normal, however there was still time in between chores to spend time with friends and family throughout the holidays.
Last week there were several new arrivals to the farm. A guilt farrowed. A guilt is a female pig before she has babies, farrowing is the term used for the parturition of swine. The guilt previously mentioned is now called a sow. This new sow has seven cute piglets, who are all absolutely adorable and doing well. They have a heat lamb in a corner of their stall to snuggle up under if they get chilly.
On New Years Eve two pigs and a buck rabbit decided to have a little party of their own. When Tim came to the barn early on the 1st of January he discovered that two pigs had escaped from their pen, and were helping themselves to a bucket of eggs that they has knocked over. There was also an escaped buck rabbit who was scampering about the barn freely. Soon enough they were all back in their pens, no worse for the wear.
After the pea shoots have been harvested we bring the trays of soil, roots, and shoot ends to the pigs to eat. I asked why the pigs weren't eating them right now and Nathan told me it was because it was the pigs nap time. We went inside and sure enough there were the pigs all nestled down together having a nap.
Chimichurri sauce is so fresh and so flavourful. We will be making this fur sure this week. I froze a lot of parsley this fall and it worked really great. I just washed the herbs, took them off their stocks and put them into plastic bags. It has kept its flavour really well. I also froze basil, dill, and cilantro with great success.
I haven't been able to find any recipes using boneless rabbit pieces, I suppose it's not something traditionally done with rabbit. Let us know how you are using your rabbit pieces, send along a picture too, and we will share it with the other members.