Tuesday, September 25, 2018

September 25, 2018

How to do a cheap neighborhood potluck to get to know your neighbors. Since the weather was iffy, it was great motivation to clean out the basement. As you can see, there is a piece of pvc pipe with a rope running through it and attached to our ceiling rafters with old curtains on it to hide our junk. Our tables are a bit beat up, but color unifies and we had a roll of brown kraft paper. The flowers were perennial balloon flowers I found at Lowes that they were marking down for $1 each and I intend to plant. I decorated them with some tulle netting that I had and some Christmas curling ribbon that we had. The candle holders and candles were leftovers from my daughter's wedding here two years ago. (We made the candle holders out of some old bunk beds we had found at the thrift shop.) We bought bottled water at Aldi's (about $5.00 spent - and these are the leftovers) and used an old planter as the method to keep them cold (washed out, of course). Then we just threw some hot dogs on the grill, made the fixings, and asked everyone to bring a potluck dish and a drink to share. Had a great time and even met a new neighbor. We sent the invite and reminders by Facebook messenger this year, with a few phone calls thrown in and asked neighbors to invite neighbors. We did buy paper plates, forks, and cups (for other people's drinks they were bringing.) I also made two chocolate pies. Another year we didn't want to clean out the basement and the weather permitted us to move our equipment and have it under the Tractor shed for shade since we don't have a lot of trees. We also had benches left over from the wedding, but in past years, we have asked them to each bring a chair.

We had a Dinner for Eight party at our house this weekend on Saturday, and a neighborhood potluck on Sunday afternoon.  The hit of both of these parties were our new pigs, Red and Freckles.  It gave the kids something to do to go pick some tomatoes to take to the pigs.  The pigs showed off by showing us how they drink from the water barrel with the pig nipples.  We so enjoyed seeing this.  The pigs have also been entertainment for our cattle.  The cattle rotation came close to the pig area this week, so they were busy getting to know each other.

Sherri Powell picked a peck of peppers to pickle.  Where did Peter Piper find a peck of peppers already pickled?  I mostly pickled these jalapenos for one of my brothers who loves them.  We have gotten around to just canning them right in with what we used to mix the pickled peppers with.  This year's peppers have fresh mixed horseradish that we got from our neighbors  (Thanks Don and Carol!).  I planted some of the leftover pieces in my kitchen garden to grow.  

So we went and picked my mom up from SC to keep her out of the path of Hurricane Florence. My mom is a busy person and needs something to do (wonder where I get it from?) Anyway, when she came, I mentioned I needed to clean the fabric up in my sewing room. I thought that would keep her busy all weekend. Ha. She finished that the same day, and called me up to help her. Then she wanted to vacuum, and before I knew what happened I was taking the vacuum cleaner apart and fixing it and she was directing me where to vacuum. Well then she proceeded to direct me on how to clean the dish drainer with a paint brush to get those tiny metal pieces. My husband took a turn when she wanted to clean out the refrigerator.  Anyway, we got so much done she ended up being more of a blessing to me than I was to her.   For those times when I just needed to sit down a minute, I found my husband's homemade blueberry wine to be delicious.  LOL.   It even gave me the subject matter for the children's moment I did the Sunday after, and left the house cleaner than ever for the events we had at our house the next weekend.

Life is so good. . .

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September 4, 2018

So excited!  Yesterday marked the first time we have had pigs at Powell Acres!  Our new adventure!  We bought two pigs locally.  Red and Freckles.  They are Duroc/Yorkshire cross.

Don't know what we would have done without all of the helpful hints we got from our friends at Homesteads and Sustainability Facebook group here.  Because of their advice, we shored up our pig area with more electric fencing, contained our pigs to train them to electric and help them assimilate to a new environment, and learned a number of other tips and techniques.  We also watched a number of Youtube videos where we learned how to put peanut butter on the pig nipples for the pig waterer to attract the pigs and "train" them where to find water.  We also learned from Youtube research what kind of feeder to get by weeding out what went wrong with others and learned to anchor it to a post by watching some videos by Lumnah Acres.  We really like these videos as they do an excellent job of showing how Homesteading is really trial and error, and there is no end as to how you can tweak things to make them right for you.

We transported the pigs to their new home in our horse trailer.  It was quite convenient to put them in the side door, as it is above the floor of the trailer and insured that they did not escape while we were bringing in the next one.  When we got home (a very short distance - maybe 7 miles), they were still terrorized by the new experience, with one hiding behind the other one in our trailer.  After some water and food, they decided it was safe to come out.  

One of the things we worry about with adding a new animal to the farm is how our "security force" is going to react.  Our dogs, Phoenix and Hercules.  We put them both in the basement (they love it there on a hot day - especially when a neighbor is enjoying target practice, as they don't like the noise.)  We brought out one dog at a time to meet our new farm animals, since they are brothers and tend to be closer to inciting a riot when they are together.  Once one dog met the pigs, my husband took him back to the basement and brought out the other dog.  This led to a more peaceful introduction to our new farm animals.