Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not for the faint of heart...

but pig skulls make some truly wonderful broth! I actually thought about posting a photo, but decided that perhaps posterity didn't really need that image. At any rate, if you take a pig skull, the usual veggies, a bit of salt and pepper, and maybe some thyme, cover it with water in a Very Large Pot, and let it simmer and simmer and simmer. Well, in a word, yum! The stuff can hold up a spoon when it's been chilled too. I'm quite happy we'll have three of the things (from our own pigs) to play with soon. It turns out you can also make things (other than head cheese) with the other parts of a pig's head. Who knew?

So yes, the farm proceedeth in a farmly way. Which is to say, exceptionally frustrating at times. The garden, after we finally got things planted, has suffered from slugs, now under control, and moles, now content to go dig up my rutabaga seedlings in the winter garden. The field mice now, they are a problem. I've read that mice find chocolate delicious but poisonous and have just scattered a bag of chocolate chips in strategic places around the garden. Places such as the broccoli plants they haven't finished devouring yet. It's too late for the sweet potatoes. Those were probably a lost cause anyway though, given the extreme cabbage yearness of it all. The Irish potatoes seem to be doing fine, after a rocky start. Slugs again.

Current livestock count--still one llama, three young sheep (soon to become meat), three extremely large pigs (also soon to become meat, after we sell the last one), seven hens and one rooster (Jersey Giant and a sorry specimen at the moment), five turkeys, and twenty-two Ancona ducks. The ducks are my personal favourite. I mean to say, they eat slugs, what's not to like? But they're also much more enjoyable to deal with than chickens. We had, for two days, twenty-five blue-foot chicks. Then some small predator had them. The shed has been hardened and we'll try again once the Better Half is back from his hike. Not blue-foots (blue-feet?) though.

The state and county finally got their heads into position and the soil remediation is actually in process. In other words, they've dug an enormous hole in the front pasture (allowing me to see lots of cool soil stuff), removed the contaminated soil and spread it all over such of the pasture not occupied by hole. Then there's the pile of clean dirt, which was a wonderful but temporary playground for the Spawn. Also a largish pile of horse manure, to be mixed into the dirty dirt. Nitrogen apparently speeds the breakdown of petrol. Plus the dirty dirt is subsoil from two to four meters down. It's going to end up being our new pasture topsoil and needs all the help it can get.

Erm. There more, I'm sure, but the hour advances and I have to be up in time to open the gate for the excavators tomorrow. And, of course, since I'm solo parenting and solo farming this week, I'm fighting a bug of some sort. Murphy.

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