Pork Day

IMG_20150427_073152643Well, our pigs are now pork. On April 27 we took the day off of work and with the help of some friends we killed and butchered our two pigs. It was a sad and difficult task to have to kill them, this was something neither of us had ever done before, but after a few tears we all got through it.

It was a cool sunny day and we worked in the open air in our backyard. It ended up being a fun time and it was great to have many hands to help out.IMG_20150427_095346588_HDR

It took just over three hours from start to finish to break down both pigs and get all of the meat in coolers. We chilled them in eight coolers for three full days. The meat looks great and is super tender.

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Now we are still steadily breaking these girls down, vacuum sealing, and doing inventory. After freshening the ice daily we are down to two coolers with two giant hams and belly to go. This has been the hardest part of the task. We were prepared for the long task of breaking both girls down but we’ve been doing it in the evenings after work and it has been a big job.

We quickly used up all of our freezer space and had to get another chest freezer, but it was well worth it, and I think we will get great use from this new freezer. IMG_20150506_074148939It tripled our freezer space. We also traded some eggs and pork for a smoker which will come in handy when time to make bacon and other tasty treats. We used it this weekend on some ribs and shoulders and it was delicious!

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Once we complete our inventory we will do an overall cost analysis, but we are looking great so far on our return. We’ve processed 200 pounds so far and are at a high estimate right now of $2 a pound for fresh, local, backyard pork.

It is very quiet in the yard now and we do miss the pigs and their playful natures, but we think we will be ready to try this again in another year. We will be able to work through what we have over this year and continue bartering for other products and goodies made by friends. It will be a great year!

Happy homesteading!

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Year One Inventory

We can hardly believe we have been on our half acre for a year now.  The time has flown, but working with the earth through the seasons really helps us to remember the progress we’ve made over this past year.

One of the beautiful things about homesteading is you can begin anytime, anywhere.  Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-reliance.  What we love about that is we began with what we had available (a rental property), and did not feel discouraged by what we didn’t (our very own dream farm).

As soon as we moved in we began sowing seeds for an early Spring garden and kept planting through Summer and into Fall.  We view a garden as a continuous, ongoing project, so we were excited to add some fauna to our lives this year.

So, on our one year homestead-iversary, we now have:

4 egg laying chickens   IMG_20150131_144027609

5 bunnies 10401945_10152541768843994_7622560708564101386_n

2 pigs  10269466_10152618892498994_8339796715640002491_n (2)

8 baby ducklings   1511218_10152671627618994_2198901058063708291_n

2 house cats IMG_20141220_193633285~2 IMG_20150111_090932062_HDR

and us.

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We don’t know how long we will be at this house, but we will make our homestead wherever we are. We are so excited to see what this year will bring and are looking forward to documenting and sharing the journey.

Happy homesteading!