first stupid chickens... now stinkin' pigs
7/2008 to 1/2009
I have to admit, in early 2007, when Country Wife brought home a dozen young chicks in a peeping box from the farm supply store, it wasn't too much of a hard sell to get me to keep 'em. "What 'cha going t'do honey? Drown 'em?" she said, with a smirkish face that really said, 'I dare you to say something stupid (i.e. psychologically damaging, requiring therapy) in front of the kids.'
"Of course not sweetie... not with all the kids watching!" Which was stupid enough, but not enough to get me in too much trouble. And fact was, I was and continue to be resigned to the fact that if you buy property that looks like a farm, and smells like a farm, and has leaning structures on it that look like farm buildings... at some point you're going to BE FARMING. Get over it.
Even with gritted teeth and a few books on how not to kill chickens within the first 24 hours of receiving them, I ended up diggin' in and learning a thing or two. (Setting an example for my homeschooled children, of course.) And within a year, we seem to be official "Chicken Farmers" and collecting eggs twice a day.
This apparent transformation must have been obvious from the outside. Were my farm boots leaking? Was it the WWJD [What Would John Deere?] hat? Could I have said, "These are the best eggs on the PLANET!" just a few too many times over my three-to-four egg breakfast?
Hard to tell. But whatever gave me away as a pushover Faux Farmer this past summer,  my gullible nature was once again tested. It appears Country Wife and Country Neighbor conspired to bring us bring me kickin' and screamin' into the nether worlds of hobby pig farming! (Looking back, I am massively grateful to God's great design plan, that made it impossible to bring a box of a dozen squealing little piglets into the family room our our entertainment pleasure.)
That image aside, this is what happened: "We were just at the cutest little farmers market this weekend," says Country Neighbor over the phone, "...and we bought four of the cutest little pigs."
"That's wonderful!" I say.
"When do you want to come over and pick out your
two? Country Wife and I
God love Country Neighbors....
I'm thinking back that maybe I didn't thank Country Neighbor enough for those twenty or thirty Publicly Schooled Chickens she gave us, and this is what happens in the country when neighbors don't show proper appreciations. They move you up to something a little more challenging. Testing me to see where the breaking point might be, I suspect.
Here is a picture of one of our pigs in November, '08, enjoying a meal and a constitutional outside of his lovely Lil'Tykes log cabin home. Both pigs eventually became too big to fit inside, and they trashed it. I believe these pigs were Rock 'n' Roll Band Stars in a previous life. You may begin discussing Karma to yourselves. I'm thinking of ham for dinner.
Yeah... sounds kind of crass, but at least I'm using the word "heaven" instead of "oven."
We're trying to keep everything low key, for the sake of the kids. But I'm not so sure that the kids aren't way ahead of us on this. The general 'feeling' among the kids from age 14 to 5 is pretty consistent and can be summed up in two words: "Eh... whatever." (That's assuming "eh" is a word.)
Here's you homeschoolers out there that live and breathe for life's "learning moments" here's a unit study for you on farming for food:
What Happens to Farm Animals in the Food Chain is this: You buy or breed them, You raise them by feeding them, You Kill Them Then You Eat Them.
The whole thing is a massive learning experiment, and if you look at it that way, you can kind of get past the parts that bother City Husbands like me. Not much more to it than that ... unless you've made the mistake of naming the pigs anything other than Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or Pork Chop.
It's Saturday. I've just cooked up our first batch of sausage from our family farm raised pigs. It's gone in less than five minutes. Jessica is at her Aunt Julie's house, making official, authentic Polish Kielbasa, from a family recipe. Julie says that the forty pounds of Boston Butt Roasts should make something like FIFTY FEET of Kielbasa Jessica sent a picture of the casings soaking in a bowl. Her caption? "Not Noodles." She cracks me up! And she's such a trooper. I also love that a family tradition is being passed down to my children. Jessica will remember this event forever. Much more than any present she has ever received.
This is a simple truth: Travel, Meet People, Do Things, Form Relationships, Write About It. These things alone will make you the richest person in the world, and provide memories aplenty after the power goes out and the TV is off. No other (worldly) possession or personal status matters as much as these things.
Homeschooling is not a
pedagogy, it's a lifestyle.
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