Do We Eat the Pigs on our Farm?

2015-01-02 12.57.53I am often asked if we really eat the hogs that we raise.  It seems the anti-farm crowd is trying to scare consumers into thinking that hogs raised in climate-controlled barns are not worth eating.  They want you to believe that animals raised eating grass instead of the grain based diet we feed means they are better for you.

I disagree.  The hogs on our farm eat a mixture of corn, soybean meal and nutrients.  We can monitor their nutrition needs and provide feed based on their needs and age of the pig.  Our younger pigs get a different feed than our older pigs.  The company we buy feed from provides us a “nutritionist” that helps us develop the best feed plan for our animals.  He is on one of our farms at least twice a week.  He walks through our barns and inspects the animals, looking for pigs that might be underweight or those that need a bit more nutrition.  And he helps us develop a plan for them.

So I know what my pigs eat.  If my pigs were out in grass, they would be eating bugs, larvae, grass, dirt, and whatever else they could find.  Pigs are curious animals and will eat anything.  Growing up, I remember throwing “slop” to our sows (pregnant mother pigs) that we kept in outside lots.  And those pigs would sometime give birth outside, lay on their litters and kill them before we could get to them.  Now that all of our animals are inside, we can closely monitor each one and provide individual nutrition plans if they need it.

So do I eat the meat we raise on our farm?  You bet I do!  And you may too.  If you purchase Indiana Kitchen bacon at the grocery store, those hogs could be from my farm.  That packing facility is just an hour from my farm and it’s where we sell a lot of our hogs.  Those hogs are processed into a local bacon that you can buy in your grocery store for an affordable price.  Some of my farmer friends sell to other facilities, like Tyson.  Another local pork product you can find in major retail grocery stores.

In upcoming weeks, I’ll show you pictures of our family butchering a hog over Christmas break.  And how we make lard, cracklins and popcorn from the pig.  Nothing gets wasted. Because I’m not afraid to eat what we raise on the farm!

Jeanette2brownsmall

 

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Why are friendships so hard?

As I sit and write this, it’s a Saturday night.  Another Saturday night where we are home.  And I’m bored out of my mind.  I can’t stand the thought of doing another load of laundry, washing another dish or monitoring another fight that breaks out amongst the kids.  It’s been a week of snow, blistering cold and snow days where the kids were home more than they were at school.  I worked from home a few days. And when the walls started closing in on me, I drove slowly to the office, taking a 90 minute normal commute, and managing to get to the office in 2 1/2 hours.  The slick roads and blizzard like winds were worth some peace and quiet of my office walls.

All week, The Farmer told me we should plan something Saturday night.  Let it be known we aren’t date people.  It seems frivolous and not worth the effort.  I don’t really care to go out to eat.  And I hate the movie theatre.  I’m just not a TV or movie person.  In my little town, there isn’t much more to do.  So we take a vacation, by ourselves, about once every two years.  That makes up the lack of dates during the year.

So as Saturday night approached, I was ready to do something, go somewhere, anything to get out of the house.  And no one wanted to do anything.  I begged everyone to go to the school basketball game. But the kids weren’t really excited, The Farmer wanted to chill and I started getting more and more down in the dumps.  It’s a night when other families are getting together to play cards, talk, goof off.  Anything.  I feel like I’m surrounded by people who are best friends with everyone but me.  And it sounds childish.  But the feeling is real.

It then brings back thoughts I’ve had for the past decade.  If my world were to crash around me, who would be there?  Who are my friends?  I have really nice “scratch the surface” type friendships with a ton of people.  I think I know a zillion people.  If anyone wants their kids bragged on or to talk about school activities, farm, sports, I’m your girl.  I love to brag about the kids my friends hang out with.  And I tell their parents when they do really great things.  But my relationships never go beyond that.  I walk into basketball games and feel like I’m on my own island.  I go to church and feel horribly lonely.  I don’t have community.  And it sucks.

It sucks even more that I don’t know how to fix it.  If the answer was to do more entertaining and invite friends over, I’ve done that. I’ve tried to get to know people.  And I don’t want it to sound so dire.  There are times I sit and talk to people at games.  It’s not all the time that I feel so lonely.  But when I do, the feeling is crushing.

I think it hurts so much because I am, by nature, an extrovert.  But I’ve turned very introvert because I think I’m wierding people out.  So I’m quiet.  And it’s so not me!!  But I don’t know what to do.

I do have some very dear friends.  My Farmer and my kids mean the world to me.  Then there are a few local friends who I know I can call when I need something.  And others that I treasure who are scattered around the US.  Bloomington, Yorktown, Batesville, Greenfield, Little Rock.  All of these places hold the people who I hold most dear.  And those locations are at least one-two hours from me.  But when I get to spend time with those ladies, I treasure every second.  It’s comfort for my soul.  Their laughter fills me with such energy.  But I’ve not really been able to make many of those kind of relationships happen in my own back yard.

I’m not exactly sure why I need to spill my guts here.  It scares me to think what people will think of this.  Maybe some people will think I’m pathetic.  I don’t want pity.  I guess that’s a risk I take.  But maybe someone can relate.  Someone who looks like they are happy-go-lucky on the surface, but really just wants to figure out how better to connect with people.  That extrovert who is struggling to find their voice.  The mother who just wants out of the house on a Saturday night.  The lady waiting to share a cup of coffee with a friend.

Jeanette2brownsmall

What we feed our pigs

I’m often asked why we don’t let our pigs eat grass or roam outside to forage for their food.  While there are people who raise their hogs outside, we choose to keep ours in climate-controlled buildings.  Not only does this allow our livestock to remain comfortable in warm barns, it allows us to monitor what […]

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Vlogging: Unloading Hundreds of Pigs

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For most people, the day after Christmas means sleeping in, watching football, playing with the kids toys, card games and naps.  When you live on a farm, life looks a little different. The Little Man and I spent the morning helping The Farmer unload a semi-load of baby pigs.  We get these pigs when they […]

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Oyster Dressing

Judy flowers

Christmas is about the birth of a King.  In our house and in our families, that is first and foremost in our celebrations.  And while we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, we also celebrate our families.  Mine is pretty large with numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, second cousins and three wonderful grandparents.  The Farmer’s family […]

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Why do we Keep our Pigs in a Barn?

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I get asked often why my Farmer chooses to raise our hogs inside climate, controlled hog barns.  There is plenty of people raising hogs who choose to keep their animals outside.  They say it’s better for the hogs.  While I choose not to debate how anyone wants to raise their livestock, I do educate people […]

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The Perfect Wine for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

tavel wine

Thanksgiving can be stressful.  Family, lots of food, and football can lead to a very long, noisy day.  If you are in charge of the Thanksgiving meal then you might wonder what is the perfect wine for your meal. While my philosophy has always been to eat what you like and drink what you like, […]

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Wordless Wednesday: What Might Have Been

On what would have been your 41st birthday.  It still doesn’t seem real.  Happy Birthday Dear Jennie.  You were so greatly loved and are so greatly missed.

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Spaghetti Pie to Feed a Crew

Spaghetti Pie

Every planting and harvest season, I’m responsible for one night of feeding our field help.  That means I cook for 10 guys, 3 kids and my Grandma.  Grandma doesn’t help in the field but I do like to take her a meal so she can take a night off from cooking for herself.  And then […]

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A Grateful Pumpkin

pumpkin

I’ve always wondered what we should do with our pumpkins once Halloween is over.  We don’t usually carve them.  The kids haven’t been old enough to have free reign with sharp objects yet.  And I never process them to make pumpkin because The Farmer doesn’t like pumpkin and won’t eat desserts made from it. So […]

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