Zoe loves picnics. And she loves using her tea set. She was so excited to see the sun shining on our front porch (the only place the sun was hitting) she had to get out her tea set and have lunch outside. Needless to say it wasn’t actually warm outside and they soon had to put their sweatshirts on but, they had a blast with the first picnic of the season.
One of our first projects was building a secure pig pen. Last year we had a few problems with the pigs getting out. This year we are doing all we can to keep them in. We set up hog panels and electric fencing around the bottom. Greg also built this board walk type thing around much of the pen. The pen will not be green for long. It will soon just look like a dirt/mud pit as the pigs do what they do best…root. The board walk will help keep us out of the mud when we need to go inside and it should keep them from being able to ground out the electric fencing with dirt.
Zoe helping by balancing things on a stick 🙂
Greg built this fabulous pig house and even bought me Bard Red and white paint. I am a sucker for red barns. We don’t have enough room to actually have a barn but at least our animal houses will be my favorite colors. We are hoping to get many years of use out of it. The kids had fun playing in it…at least until it starts to stink. The house and most of the pen were completed in one day. As is often the case in this area we were being threatened with rain. All was fine until we opened the can of paint. We were expecting to get our little piggies the next day and had to get the house painted before they got in there. Thankfully, it never started raining too much so we just kept painting. It is just a pig house after all. We were able to get all the red and most of the roof painted white before having to call it quits. Unfortunately, after the rush to get this done we were not able to get the piggies. Apparently pigs are hard to come by this early in the year and the man we were getting them from had accidentally over promised and was out. Oh well. We have a great home from the ones we are scheduled to get in May.
Yeah, I guess you could call us a mini farm now. We have been busy, busy these last few weeks. I will attempt to update on all the fun changes and activities we have been up to. Here’s the list I can remember so far. I will expand on some of them later. We took down (with the help of a professional) a 60 ft fir tree, finished the fencing to keep kids and dog in the back yard, fenced a pig pen with hog panels and electric fencing (they better not get out this year), built a pig house and chicken tractor, fenced off the remaining “animal area” for the sheep, dug a trench to get water to the back of the property, got power to the back, made soap, gone on field trips, and just picked up our meat chicks today. We still have quite a list on the white board but they it is reducing. Well maybe not reducing but the list is progressing. Amazing how new things keep getting on it. And of course when I say “we” I mostly mean Greg. He has been working so hard to get things done and I keep getting in trouble for trying to do too much. It is not in my nature to sit and watch him work on these things but as he says “I don’t want the baby coming out right NOW.” OK, OK, I get it. So, we go out there to keep him company, provide moral support and hand him tools.
Apparently that’s all my brain will handle at the moment because it has stopped working (I hope it comes back soon). But for now I will leave you with some pictures of some darn cute hard working kids.
Hear ye, Hear ye!!! I confess to one and all that I need to share how I have selfishly wanted to keep some really great recipes to myself. And not share them with the world. Well here is the story…
Our church is now producing a church cookbook and my wonderful, beautiful, kind, sweet, etc. etc. etc (Can you name the movie that used the phrase “etc. etc. etc.? Hint it’s a classic) wife wanted to share some of the recipes we have collected over the years. She had decided on three (3) of our family favorites (which I will share later) . While she was deciding which three recipes to share she told me and I thought nothing of it. Until the day that she was transferring them to the form that the church needed three or four days before it was to be turned in . So I decided to look over her shoulder and noticed that the ones she was sharing where ones that I had found. I then went on to grab the papers from her fingers and run away like a little girl (sorry to all you little girls out there) and told her matter of factly, that she couldn’t give THOSE ones (Yes I do know that it was God’s CHURCH.) I am ashamed to admit that my selfish pride over took the idea that my wife enjoyed those meals and wanted to share them with those whom we love. So with that said I want to share with all of you those recipes, (And yes they were given to be put in the Church’s Cookbook).
First up is Cajun Chicken Pasta
- 4 ounces linguine pasta
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 4 fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
- Place the chicken and the Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the chicken in butter or margarine until almost tender (5 to 7 minutes).
- Add the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, mushrooms and green onion. Sauté and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat.
- Add the cream, basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper. Heat through. Add the cooked linguine, toss and heat through. Sprinkle in with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
It has occurred to me we haven’t updated on the pigs. Not sure how that got a way from me…oh wait…never mind, I do. So, our piggies Saucy and Barbie. WAY back in November we had the butcher come out to do the dirty work and hang them for us for a few days. Greg really wanted to do the butchering himself so when we got our pigs back they weren’t wrapped in little white packages like the cow was but rather just cut in half. It was rather odd to see them in the back of the truck but there they were. Zoe really wanted to go with him to the butcher to pick them up. When they got home they entertained the boys and I with a song they made up on the way home. Sung to the tune of this old man:
This fat man
He ate two
He ate saucy and Bar-B-Q
With a mmm, mmm, Yum, yum gi’me another one
This fat man came rolling home.
What a great way to start our butchering day! Or as Greg called it Bacon Makin’ Day! It was a busy day but it was great. Some experienced friends come over in the morning to get us started on the right track. We had gone to their house when they did their pigs to get in a little practice and see the whole thing in operation but it was such a blessing to have them come out and get us going. Greg was cutting outside and we were inside wrapping, grinding sausage, labelling and freezing. We made 2 different types of sausage, breakfast and hot Italian. Zoe was a total champ on the grinder. Especially when our helpers had to leave. She stepped right in and didn’t stop until we were done.
We took our hams in the next day to have them cured and smoked by the butcher. Let me tell you…the ham was soooo good. Huge! And so incredibly tasty. When all was done our freezer was over 3/4 full of just pork. I absolutely love having all of it out the freezer ready to be used. We will be doing pigs again this year. We learned a lot and will be applying some changes to the whole process but we are excited to give it another go.
Now it must be said that Zoe loved Saucy best out of the two pigs. She was a lot more active and loved to play in the mud and run around crazy. I guess Zoe could relate to this. So, any time we were eating pork (especially in the beginning) she would say we were eating Barbie. We don’t eat Saucy.