December was not a mellow month around here. Lots of work. It started with butchering our pig.
Like last year, we did it all ourselves. Like last year, it was not an easy task. 2 whole days and then some. But the end result is spectacular. We salted and cured our own ham, bacon, and hocks. Then we smoked it in apple wood. Holy cow, a lot of work, but now we have a lot of deliciousness for at least the next 12 months, probably more. Thanks for Greg and Jack for helping on the cut up day. And thanks to Emily for helping on the kill and scraping day. That day sucked.
We enjoyed winter solstice with a little bonfire on the edge of our pasture. Just Jemma, Emily, and I- plus some curious cows and a dog named Joe.
For about 2 months this fall I would periodically prowl local neighborhoods for bags of leaves. It’s kind of fun, but I feel weird doing it. Last year the City brought us 400 bags of leaves or something like that. Probably a few too many. This year I probably have 200 total, and I could use a little more. These leaves are bedding for chickens and pigs. The chickens scratch through them, even more so when we throw some millet in the pile. The pigs will just shred them, it’s amazing how much the pigs work. More on that in future posts. Here is a picture of the chickens on a cold afternoon with a fresh bag of leaves. There’s no millet in there, just leaves. They love scratching through it to see what they can find.
At the end of it all, these leaves become compost for our vegetable gardens. As it is, the soil around here is really low in organic material. By the time May comes around, our garden soil will be really high in organic material. It’s quite the transformation and it’s almost all thanks to the pigs and chickens. I’ll post a lot of pictures on here as we progress through the spring, you get to witness soil formation right here! Probably no one is as excited about it as I am, but it is an amazing thing to see.