Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bringing Home The (future) Bacon

It all started with a love of bacon, ribs, and country hams......

Last year we bought half of a pig a friend had raised and butchered. Why? Well because we knew that the pig had been raised ethically and well our family likes pork! This was the first time we tried our hand at making homemade bacon and country ham and they both turned out amazing!! When our bacon supply began to run low, we purchased a half of a belly from another friend who raises pigs. Again we made homemade bacon. It was even better then the first time! We were getting the nack of this whole make your own bacon thing!!

That is when another friend of ours asked if we knew where to buy some feeder pigs. These are young pigs you raise yourself to be butchered. Michigan has been hit hard by a virus that killed a lot of baby pigs this year, but I did have a friend who's farm didn't get hit, so I put my other friend in touch with the farmer. That is when the wheels started to turn in my head..... why didn't we get one too! Oh sure, we aren't zoned to have a pig, but my friends were getting two for their family, so what was one more!! We would raise ours at their place, about 2 miles from our house.


Are we nuts? Oh yes we are! The excitement was at an all time high that Saturday morning when we all set out to the pig farm to collect our feeder pigs. My friend Sandi at Bear Foot Farms is an amazing lady. Her husband is a pig whisper. They had healthy and might I add very happy pigs, everywhere. Mamas and babies all running around. I think everyone should take a morning and just go watch pasture raised pigs for a few hours. They are beautiful, entertaining and only mildly stinky!!! The littlest country kid had a wonderful time making friends with a three day old little pig named Buttons.


With our three little piggies loaded in our dog kennel in the back of our friends pick up, we headed for home. You know you live in a rural area when you stop for breakfast and no one bats an eye at a pick up truck with pigs! The kids all threw fresh grass they had ripped out of the restaurant's lawn to the piggies before we headed in so they could have breakfast too. Yes their children and ours all understand, these cute piggies are destined to be food. They are okay with it. I think it is wonderful that our children KNOW where food comes from and can show kindness to the animals that will someday feed them.

During the drive back with the pigs, we decided we needed to name our pig. Now I know, you should never name something you might have to eat, but we couldn't just call it "the pig." The oldest country kid was torn between calling it Bacon and Oreo. When we asked the littlest country kid who is two he replied "Cow!!!" Ummm a pig named cow!?!?! We went with Oreo.

Once we got to our friend's property the kids all took off to play while the men folk finished up the pig pen. I set about scrubbing down our dog kennel. Now mind you, those pigs didn't smell that bad, but OMG that kennel was horrible! I scrubbed it four times with various thing and left it to sit in the sun with my fingers crossed we would be able to someday bring it back in the house! I mean for crying out loud, the pigs had only been in it about two hours!!! I am happy to report that we were able to bring it back in later that day and that Heidi the homestead house spent many hours sniffing her pen even though I could no longer smell anything.

We got the three little piggies all settled in their new home and of course they had to begin digging immediately!! There was much exploring and of course our little Oreo made the rounds. She got a drink, had a bite to eat and then made herself a nice wallow. Of course like any young girl she had to adorn herself with some local bling, and opted for a nice root on the head.


I know, I know.... most people like to be blissfully ignorant as to where that cut of meat in the Styrofoam package, neatly wrapped in clear wrap comes from. I get it, I do. And maybe I am a fool to have named our pig and enjoyed her antics. I know my heart will hurt a little when she is well over 200 pounds and her day comes. But for me, for our family, giving Oreo a great life till then.... well that is all that matters.


20 comments:

  1. Yum! We raised hogs when I was a kid....had as many as 50 at one time, so I can sure understand what you mean about watching them! The only time I didn't appreciate them so much, was when we came home from church to find them out and across the street in the neighbors pasture! Grass is greener, I guess. That was back in the 50's. (sigh) Good memories.....thanks! Dona

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    1. Maybe it wasn't greener... just less trampled, peed and pooed on! LOL

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  2. AAAH! I could never do that! I know where my bacon comes from but I don't want to be the one to get it! You are so amazing, I am a coward!

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    1. No your not Karen! When the day comes for her to go, I don't want to know the day. I just want them to take her to the processor and bring me the meat.

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  3. Love the pictures! We had pigs also (70) and I really enjoyed seeing the babies born and cuddling with them! We even had one Mama that was so friendly that our youngest, 5 at the time, rode her across the pasture like a horse. AHHH! Those were the days!

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    1. Our 2 year old is in love with pigs now!! LOL He keeps asking "were pigs mama?"

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  4. we raise chickens for eggs only as we couldnt get ourselves to butcher them. I have a local farm that we can get meat from ... Im a veg. but the rest of the fam is not so ... I dont think I could eat something I named or knew... But I understand the idea of cleaner and ethically raised animals for food.

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    1. I think the fact it is not in my yard and I don't see it everyday helps. If it was right out back I may cuddle it too much and it would be harder.

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  5. I think it's awesome that y'all are raising a pig for food, name or no name. I really wish we were able to do something similar. We do have a local butcher that raises pigs and cows and we hopefully will be able to take full advantage of that next year.

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    1. It really is so much better tasting when you know where it comes from and that it had a happy life.

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  6. I came over to see your post because I was wondering, how ya goin raise a pig on 1/4 acre? Now I understand. I'm super jealous. We have the space, but we just don't have a set-up yet where our pig could live and be safe (and not get into all kinds of trouble). I'm hoping by next spring. Wish I had a neighbor like yours.

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    1. I love teaming up with my friends and dragging them into my hair brained schemes! LOL

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  7. What a cute story and it is so like ours. We brought two feeder pigs home to our farm this year and are excited about making bacon. Would you share your bacon recipe?

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    1. Tracy this is how we did ours http://bornagainfarmgirl.blogspot.com/2014/05/homestead-tips-on-tuesday-makin-bacon.html

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  8. As a kid I raised bummer lambs to sell in the fall; your pig story brought back many good memories. Thanks for linking this, the great shaving post and also the very informative one on composting up at Wonderful Wed. Blog Hop. Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

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    1. Thanks for popping by Carrie! I am glad I could take you back to some happy memories :)

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