Tag Archives: vegetables

Hot pig slops, yum!

These pigs are going to be spoiled (well, in a way-they’ll be sleeping outside), but they’re going to get hot meals.  Cooked potatoes kept warm on the woodstove all night with hard feed, or some hot water and milk over meal.

After all, who wants to dig into a cold bowl of cereal on a sub-zero morning?  Not me.

This is the best time to have a pig, there’s so much food.  Potatoes and squash and apples and greens, loads of waste veggies.  Between the pigs and the birds, nothing gets wasted.  The pigs get the chicken food fines, the chickens pre-graze the pig lunches:

The pig lunch buckets get lined up a few days ahead. I pick up a wheelbarrow load of apples at a time, and the garden greens day before usually, so the chickens get first crack at the buffet.  They don’t hold back.  Sometimes they’re in a mood and clean up on the kale, sometimes not.  They also choose a few apples and pull them out of the bucket to eat. 

And a little of that too…
Or leave them in the bucket
Note chicken behind the pumpkin

Sunbathing and pig lunch

It´s a nice hot day, so the chickens decided to flake out in the path.These are the Famous Five, the house moochers.  They just kind of tip over like beached boats, and stick out a wing.

Even Jean Jacket‘s in there.

Or they´ll find some shade where they can get it.

Even a Brahma is lounging.I wanted to not get these pigs stuck on a 3x/day feeding schedule so it was possible to leave for the day, so they get their piggy rations morning and night, but to tide them over, they also get a 5 gal bucket of apples every day, or whatever fruit/scraps/vegetables (It’s a good time of year to be a pig).

Usually, there are several apples left over come supper time.  If there are no apples, then I know they had a big day, and they’re legitimately hungry for dinner.Today they got turnips and kale too, and happily, they loved the kale, eating it first.  I wasn’t sure after the cucumbers. They stand on it to rip a piece off with their mouths, like they’ve done it before.

These pigs have the craziest eyebrows! They’re wild Grandpa Wizard eyebrows, like visors.

So cute!

 

Picky picky piglets

No pigs are alike.  These pigs have distinguished themselves by being extraordinary rooters -powerful and efficient, although they’re still just little (uhoh when they grow)- and being picky eaters.

They’ll eat apples.  They’ll eat peaches.  But a vegetable?

Eggplant.  No way.

Green pepper.  Mmm, nope.

Mustard greens.  Nope.

Cucumber.  They gummed it.  I broke it in half, the better to learn what was inside.  They tasted the inside, made expressive Ew faces, and nosed them out of the bowl.  Come on!  A cucumber?!   I get it, with the eggplant, ok, I don’t like them unless they’re grilled either, but a juicy green pepper?  A delicious cucumber?  My hens can’t eat all the cukes I have.

These pigs are here in prime harvest time to be plied with as much as they can eat in windfall apples and surplus veggies.  All vegetables pigs past have quite enjoyed, mind you. And these two turn out to be picky eaters?

I look at them.  You’re pigs.  How can you be picky?  That’s against your definition.  They look down their snouts.  We’ll have the peaches, s’il vous plait.

Pigs spit out the pits just like we do

I’m baking eggplant in the sun oven.  See if they’ll eat them cooked, even if I have to drizzle with olive oil.  If they approve, I’m cooking two every sunny day until the eggplant glut is over.

Standing in the food bowl asserts dominance and ownership of the food bowl. No one is fooled.

Ok. I guess it’s time to move the pig house. I did four days ago, but ok…

2016 Canned food tally

I think I’m finished with canning for the year.  I think!

I have to make a habit of tracking my annual canning.  I’m curious to know what the ideal #s are for two people for one year.

  • 6 pts Plumsauce
  • 24 pts “V8”, or, attempted tomato sauce that came out as juice, and after that much work, I canned it anyway.  We drink a fair amount of V8, so that’s a few we won’t purchase
  • 24 pts Tomato sauce (that did work)
  • 21 pts Grape or Cherry tomatoes
  • 6 pts Pickles
  • 21 pts Pears
  • 36 pts Applesauce
  • 78 pts Peaches
  • 6 halfpts pickled garlic
  • 41 qts Tomato “soup” – just the tomato part of the soup, aka tomatoes between juice and sauce – they will make many good (tomato basil, cream of tomato, chili, did I mention tomato basil?) soups and stews.
  • 46 more pts Applesauce

I hoped to do more “convenience foods”, like ready to eat soups.  I also hoped to have most of a month to focus on preserving, but it turned out  the opposite.   It was a very busy Sep/Oct: I had to fit preserving in at the end of workdays and it was a weary, onerous task.

That’s a total of 309 jars; 42 canner batches (! – now I’m kind of impressing myself).

I canned no pumpkin this year, because somehow I have quite a bit left over from 2015, and I think I did far fewer apples, because it was an awful apple year.  Edit-I purchased apples, and canned two more bushels.

Trash the rack!

This is the canning game-changer of the year – a silicone canning mat.  Not only does it make everything quieter (no rattling), wayyyy less frustrating (those wire lifting racks are simply awful), but the water stays clear (no rusty lifting rack rusting into the water), AND nine pints fit in the canner with this mat, as opposed to seven!

img_4544

Available at Lee Valley Tools

2015 Canning inventory

Since I thought I should make a habit of documenting how much I can every year, I looked back into 2015, which was Year One for canning serious quantities.

I found my list alright, but for the big ones – peaches and apples – the number is left blank!  Argggh!  So, I have to estimate, based on 2016.  I canned two bushels of peaches each year, but I did more apples than I did peaches, sooo….

  • 15 pts beets
  • 2 pts plumsauce
  • 3 pts blue plums
  • 3 pts red plums
  • 3L pickles
  • 3 pts pickles
  • 14 pts pears
  • 5 pts pineapple (grocery store sale!)
  • 5 pts cherry tomatoes (whole,  with a Tbsp of vinegar and pinch of salt – SO good)
  • 7L peaches
  • 60 pts peaches (approx)
  • 70 pts applesauce (approx)
  • 7 pts pie-ready pumpkin
  • 28 pts pumpkin
  • 4 half pints peach honey (not really canned, just jarred)
  • 18 half pints pesto (ditto, jarred, and frozen)

So that’s (approx) 30 canner loads, including 6 double loads in the pressure canner for the beets and pumpkin.

 

 

Vegetarian

Whenever I’m forced to say I’m vegetarian, usually in some public place where eating is happening, I’m always asked, “Why?” by someone earnestly curious, while silence blooms around us to eavesdrop.  I flounder to answer this question every time.   Is it that I don’t believe in cruelty to animals?  Do I believe I’ll have better health, better karma, or is it a moral/environmental act -in other words, am I working on my carbon footprint?

All of the above is true for me, but let’s explore some of the “meatier” issues here.

Environmentally, there’s a strong argument that a healthy ecosystem includes grazing animals (Omnivore’s Dilemma).  But then the common mistake is to jump from this fact to defend supermarket steak- a product that is so far removed from ethics and health that it’s no longer defensible.

Yes, our evolutionary ancestors ate meat and our genetics carry the DNA of generations of meat eaters.  However, they hunted!  There were no mammoth feedlots.  As a society we are now inarguably too far removed from the  source of our food and the reality of the food chain.  Remarkable, how a little saran wrap can insulate us so thoroughly from the pain and death involved in the meat we eat.

There’s a very strong argument that vegetarianism is a better health choice.  VERY strong. There remains a counter-argument that  for some, vegetarianism can never provide optimum health (Vegetarian Myth).  However, even that camp can’t deny that North Americans eat too much meat and would benefit from significant reduction.

So, to cut down on meat is better for us individually and collectively, everyone agrees.

But, to cut down, or to quit?  I think  that comes down to a “what feels right?”, for you.

The average American eats 9oz of meat per day (Michael Pollan), and eating meat is connected to every life-shortening disease you could mention- heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  1/3 of all arable land is devoted to  growing crops for animal food (US FDA), while the vast majority of food calories grown to feed to meat animals is “wasted” on metabolism during the animals growth. On average it takes 20 food calories fed to an animal to get one meat calorie out (Diet For a Small Planet).  Lets not even start in on the vast additional environmental and health problems caused by the overuse of corn to feed the meat industry.  Just watch King Corn.
World Bank agricultural scientists have deemed the meat industry the cause of 51% of global carbon emissions (World Watch).

Chickens and pigs score higher on cognitive tests than dogs and cats, but the latter have legal protection while the former are subjected to entire lives of “unmitigated misery” (Bruce Freidrich). Most people who came within spitting distance of a slaughterhouse would feel disturbed, to put it mildly.  Visiting an industrial abattoir (placed suitably very distant from anywhere residential) as a hitchhiker in a cattle truck several years ago was shockingly traumatic for me, and I din’t even set foot inside the place.

However, the switch over from meat-eating to vegetarian, clearly, does not come from reading a litany of statistics, nor even seeing films of unanesthetized turkeys having their beaks sawed off in a spray of blood and silenced screams.    The facts pointing to better health, better agriculture, and better karma have been available for years.  It seems as though some internal readiness comes first, and then some external trigger finally flips the switch and anchors it.

I was vegan for some years in my twenties, and it didn’t go well.  I found that I couldn’t stay healthy.  In hindsight I see that I didn’t have the discipline and knowledge to be able to sustain my own nutrition.  It takes education, dedication, and responsibility to feed oneself in a balanced way, especially as a vegan.  On the other hand, how else would you want to eat, if not consciously?

Returning to meat,  I contributed to much animal loss of life over the years by eating unconsciously, assisted by the “saran wrap remove”, and believing that I could not be completely healthy, let alone athletic, on a vegetable-based diet (justified frequently with my vegan story).  This is demonstrably bullshit.   Ironman athletes like Brendan Brazier and Dave Scott prove it.  Just last night I learned one of my favorite UFC fighters just went veggie, joining Mac Danzig and others. Continue reading Vegetarian

Garden, R.I.P.

I can’t say I didn’t expect it.

What I didn’t expect was that it would go down to deer.  Not weeds, or lack of water.  Deer utterly destroyed the garden, and more so by trampling it than eating it.  It looked like a herd thundered through it.  Mucky must’ve had an off day to allow this.

Even with the destruction and inconvenient conclusion that a deer fence is vital, guard horse notwithstanding, I’m happy with my gardening success this year, and even post-deer, there are quite a few meals on the ground.

The scarlet runners were as fail-safe as always, and many escaped the depredations.  I’m sorry I missed the amazingly quick spiral climb they do up their trellises.  The other beans and peas, despite being completely defoliated (by the looks of the stalks, they were quite healthy before attack), forced out a fair number of pods.  Celery- healthy, ignored, but not long like you’d buy in the store at all.  All leaf.

The corn are the most successful and unmolested vegetables, if you don’t count the zucchini that won’t fit in the fridge.  I’m already wise enough to only plant one zucchini.  A megalomaniac  among squash, they are.  Tomatoes, trampled, although my upside down tomatoes are passably successful.  Possibly too much water.  They aren’t reddening, although I hear everyone’s tomatoes are doing that.

I got the cutest, perfect cucumber- amazing considering total neglect and trampling.  I’m surprised it had enough heat, likewise for the jalapeno peppers, which also came through.  My favorite of the flight-of-fancy plants, though, is the watermelon.  At the end of a gnarled, shriveled, pale thread of a stalk, a perfect, green sphere of a watermelon, exactly the size of a softball.  ♥! Continue reading Garden, R.I.P.