Saturday, June 7, 2014
Bringing Home The (future) Bacon
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.