Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Three Little Pigs - Chapter 1

Our Three Little Pigs

Perhaps the newest story in our life will revive my writing skills... one can always hope. Meet the stars of our latest adventure! Sir dubbed them 'Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla' when we brought them home this past Saturday, but I think they're fast earning their own names already. When I'm doing the chores, they get called 'Boss, Rojo and Chip'.

Today I moved them from their stall in the barn out to their yard for some sunshine and grass and they had a blast digging and smacking to their hearts content. Once Freckles got over her initial fear of them, her natural guarding instincts took over, and she has decided they're her personal pets. She tried getting them to play with her, but that resulted in Boss and Rojo threatening to take her on in a wrestling match. In the end peace was established and Freckles took up her post in the pig pen to keep the newbies safe.

Guard Dog on Duty

About a month ago or so, we decided that since chickens had worked out so well for us over the past two years that we were probably ready to move on in our 'farming journey' and expand our horizons a little. Since Sir isn't as excited about my dream of a milk cow as I am, we settled on something a little less time-consuming and work-loaded and agreed on pigs instead. The first step was visiting the local livestock auction to observe and learn what our options might be. Almost every Saturday we'd watch the sales take note of the prices, condition and variety of what went through and then we'd go home and work on reconstructing our barnyard to include a pig pen. Finally one day we registered as buyers, but since we still had work to do to be completely ready, we set our bidding limit pretty low so we'd only end up buying if the pigs were ridiculously cheap. The first week we didn't even bid, the week after that the price exceeded our limit and we backed out of the bidding, the following week we couldn't make it to the sale and then there was last week.

We had plans for the evening, so to save time between the auction and when it would be time to go, we decided to take two vehicles to the sale. That way I could go home and get something done and Sir could run some errands after the auction. He took the two oldest kids and headed to the sale and I was going to join him with the rest of the gang once I finished making lunch and putting shoes on little people. Of course I was running late as usual, and even though I arrived at the auction two minutes before the sale was supposed to start, I could hear the bidding already in full swing. As I herded my little people in the door to the auction ring, I heard the auctioneer slam his hammer and say, "Sold! How many do you want?" and then I heard Sir's voice reply, "Two.". I rounded the corner with my sleeping infant in his car seat in one hand and my foot-dragging toddler in the other to find Sir motioning to me to go pick out two pigs. I plunked the carseat down, let go of the toddler and stepped up to the ring to make a selection on a heartbeat's notice. To buy myself time, I asked for gilts (female piglets) because I couldn't tell if the males were boars or barrows (gelded males) and the ringman ran his grease crayon down the back of the first gilt he found. As she scurried away, I realized she wasn't the healthiest looking piglet of the lot and tried to get him to change her for another, but I guess that was against the rules. The auctioneer said once they put a color on them, there was no switching, but I could choose a third pig for the same price if I wanted. Sir gave me a quick nod, and I picked out two other pigs tossing gender preference to the wind in favor of hardiest looking.

It turned out we got a second gilt and a barrow and once we got them home and in a warm stall with food and water they all looked great. I still have to weigh them so we can chart their progress, but they're smart little guys and have been adjusting and fitting into our barnyard menagerie quite well.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Just Like That

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
James 4:14

Last night my sister called me. I asked her how she was doing, and for the first time, I heard her speechless. She started to say something, but it took three tries before the words finally tumbled out. The house was gone.

The house we grew up in - toast. Literally - it had burnt to the ground. Our parents weren't at home, but the pets inside and everything else was lost. The house, pump-house/shop - all gone. It wasn't just the place I grew up in, the place I went to school at or the place I discovered a myriad of things. It was home. I spent 21 years there. Every wall and corner held a memory and it's hard to fathom that it's not there any more. I know what I feel about it, is nothing compared to what my parents must be going though. They raised 5 kids without running water for 8 years, without a telephone for 10 years, without electricity. They watched their little ones learn to walk, talk and love in that house. A lifetime of memories.

It's hard to imagine the old piano, Dad's 12 string guitar, his banjo, Mom's treadle sewing machine, her cupboard of keepsakes where she put all the treasures we gave her, the 410, the bread table or the storehouse gone, but they are. The chimney my grandpa built in the 70's was still standing last night, but that doesn't really make a dent in the enormity of the loss.

I thought maybe I could help by giving my parents a place to get away from it all - since there's not much else that really can be done, but then I realized they probably don't even have their documents like passports and birth certificates and licenses any more so that won't work for a while either. Besides, they're going to thinking of basic stuff for a while, like clothes to wear, replacing Dad's breathing machine and sorting out where they're going to start over from.

At least the rest of my siblings are there - I know when things happen, you want to know your kids are close and safe, and my parents have that.

"Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.
Matthew 6:8

And that is real comfort and Hope.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

You're Invited To The....

Please come and be encouraged with us!

"Jesus called a little child unto Him..."
Matthew 18:2

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dips and Dustings

For Dolly's birthday dinner, she asked for a Calamari appetizer. I was pretty happy with how it turned out, so before I lose the scraps of paper I made my notes on, I thought I'd write it all down here where I can find it a lot easier later.
And while I'm in a recording mode, let it be noted that Dolly made dinner by herself (mostly) Monday night. Tuna Casserole (she followed a recipe out of her new cookbook) and perfectly cooked green beans. She'll never understand what a treasure to me that milestone was, but it's one I'll savor for a long time.

Deep Fry Calamari Appetizer
Serves 8
  • 680 g. calamari pieces
  • 1 red pepper
  • ½large onion
  • 1&12;c. flour
  • &34;tsp. ground black pepper
  • &3tsp. salt
  • 2tsp. paprika
  • vegetable oil for frying
Thaw (if frozen) and drain calamari. Slice pepper into ¼" strips. Thinly slice onion across the grain to make ¼" or smaller half-ring strips. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Heat oil to 375° in a large skillet. In turns, dust and fry calamari, peppers and onions for 2-5 min until golden. Drain and keep in a low temp oven until ready to serve. Layer peppers and onions throughout calamari on a platter and serve with a dip of your choice.

Chipotle Dip
Makes about 2 cups.
  • 2 Tbs. pureed Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
  • ¾c. mayonnaise
  • ½c. plain yogurt
  • ½c. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
Mix all ingredients together and serve! Super easy, and delicious!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

For Hal

This little boy love anything and everything that has to do with chickens. He also learning his colors. I have told him that the egg on the top-right of the photo below is blue. Sir claims it's green. I doubt Hal would understand what aqua or teal or turquoise was though, so we have to settle on a normal color name for that particular chicken's eggs. I still say it's closer to blue. :)

On a white background.

On a blue background

And I shouldn't end a post without a picture of our littlest guy. He still doesn't have a blog name, but I'm working on figuring it out. I'm thinking of doing some name changing around here anyway. Maybe it'll all happen at once.

50 days old and smiling.