Friday, February 22, 2013

Pigs, cats, goats, oh my!

Our first week back home from our epic six week road trip has revolved around animals.
Have you ever eaten bacon or pork chops from pigs raised on milk and whey? There is nothing like it! Last year, I gave away most of my whey from cheese making to my friends who raise pigs, and in return my family was the happy recipient of excellent bacon, pork chops and roasts. While we usually don't eat much piggy meat, we decided to raise our own pigs after tasting the amazing flavor of these “dairy enhanced” pigs. So this year, three oinkers will share our lives. They will live on lush green pasture, eat organic grain and dairy products from my goats, and get lots of love and attention. While shopping for our potential new porkers, I snapped pictures of these guys, who might end up being the parents of our litter.

The other new addition to our family is Oscar, a tabby boy cat who was given to us by a friend who has too many cats. Since I am allergic to cats, Oscar lives in the shop for now, so he can get used to the new surroundings and us. He is technically Kai's pet (he has been begging us for a cat for over a year), but we all visit the shop often to pet the kitty (washing my hands compulsively after every visit so I don't start sneezing). Once Oscar gets outside, I hope he will be spared by the numerous coyotes, birds of prey, bobcats, and dog packs. We warned Kai about the possibility of Oscar becoming lunch for one of the wild animals, but he still insisted on getting a cat.

Sorry for the bad picture quality.  Meet Oscar.
On to goats. I took my goat Gracie with the bad leg to the vet a week ago, and he diagnosed a bad sprain. I am grateful it's not hoof rot or a bacterial infection. The vet taught me how to give an injection into the jugular vein, which is quite nerve racking. The carotid artery is just behind the jugular vein, and you don't want to poke that one... On top of the anti-inflammation medicine, I also ice her leg three times a day, which involves her prancing away from my grasp as I try to attach the ice bag with an ace bandage.  After swearing at her, getting stepped on, and getting thrown into manure, I finally succeed in attaching the darn thing to her leg, and then I sit around for ten minutes watching her, so she doesn't eat the ice pack.  In the meantime, Coco, the other goat, uses me as a scratching post.

Another theme of the week was visiting with friends. We were fortunate to have a couple of days filled with sun, so we could all hang out by the creek, go for walks, prune our blueberries and grapes, and start onion seeds in the greenhouse. Right now, however, it is snowing and sleeting, and the poor robins who hopped in our back yard by the dozens to find worms have disappeared again. These birds are signs of spring, but I bet they are sulking somewhere right now, shivering and bitter about the change of weather. That's kind of how I feel right now. It ain't Arizona here, and the wood stove is cranking. Home schooling has resumed with full vigor, and so has my household work load.  But I am grateful for our homestead and our friends, and I know the snow will stop.  Eventually.

Eva with her best friend.

The girls decided to give the doll a bath in the river.

Time to start onions and leeks.


  1. Starting seeds in the sunshine! I planted my tomatoes, peppers, and brassica plants last week. My ground is already warm enough to throw out the spinach and carrots. I can't wait to hear/read about your adventures in piggies.

    1. Wow! I am jealous you get to plant spinach and carrots! It is snowing here right now. Hmpf.

  2. Wow! Pigs! That is awesome. Thanks for the photos of the creek - I've had several dreams about that place recently.

    1. Dear Carolyn,
      There will be more pictures of the creek to come! Hope your dreams are good ones! We miss you!


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