The beauty of farm life is that is has seasons.  Some seasons are filled with bountiful life, the pastures swaying with green grass, the garden yielding its fruit, and the fresh newborn livestock.  There are seasons of death, livestock that has fattened up and is ready for slaughter, the fields dry up, and the trees are bare with nothing to offer but the sight of their branches bending with the cold winter winds.  The gardens sleep.  Then there are seasons of planning and hoping, gathering and preserving.  No matter the time of year, life on the farm is filled with adventure for the entire family. 

This past month has been filled with much excitement.  The farm is producing offspring.  We have had 3 calves and dozens of lambs born.  The kids have been enjoying the game of catching the lambs and holding them.   A few lambs were abandoned and the kids have so lovingly taken them in to feed and keep them.  It is so adorable to see the little lambs follow the children around as if they are their mothers.  The girls had been making bottles to feed them through the night and all through the day.  Now they are getting old enough that they can eat 4 meals a day.  The little lambs always cry for their bottles of fresh milk.

This past January we have had a touch of snow.  Mikey and Junior rushed outside to roll balls of snow to create snowmen.  They used little stones for eyes, a stick for the mouth, and a little carrot for its nose.
Farm kids find things to do.  Junior helps his dad feed the cows and when the bale twine is done holding it all together, he invents uses for it.  He makes bow and arrows of all sizes.  From miniature to full size.

We have a trampoline and one day some big kids were jumping and one of the bars for the net got damaged.  The net caved in so I told the kids they needed to wait until dad fixed the bar. 

Junior:  "I can fix it."
Me:  "You won't know how to fix the bar.  Let dad fix it."
Junior:  "I have an idea..."

Before I could answer him, he was out the door.  In the flurry of getting breakfast made, I must have forgot our earlier conversation because I looked out the kitchen window and saw Junior tying bale twine together.  I did not think much of it.  Then I see him walking across the yard stretching the bale twine.  I followed the bale twine to its source and saw it attached to the net.  He did fix it.  He had it pulled back in place with a 200 foot piece of bale twine that was about 12 pieces in total. This is a photo I took but since it was hard to see the twine, I marked it in with hot pink.  Isn't that just so cute that Junior figured out how to fix the trampoline?  Later I asked him what he did and he said, "I fixed it."

Pig Butchering time

We are sure blessed to have a butcher for our adopted grandfather.  Owen never ceases to amaze us with his knowledge of butchering, curing, smoking, and cutting up the meats.  This past month Mark and Owen took the pig over to an Amish man who scalded, scraped, and quartered the meat.  From there Owen had the boys help him haul it all into my pretty kitchen!  We had sides of bacon and hunks of meat all over my counter top.

Here you see Owen and the boys salt curing the sides of bacon and the hog jowl.  He cured them at his home for 2-3 weeks and then hickory smoked them.  No nitrates or nitrites, just pure wholesome raised goodness.  These pigs were raised on our pasture, fed our milk and whey, and given some organic, NonGMO feed. 

I had fun making sausage patties and then pressure canning them.  If you are curious on how to can sausage patties, make sure to watch Volume 3 of Homesteading for Beginners.  I show a lot on meat canning on there.  It is so satisfying to pop open a can of sausage and serve it to my family at mealtime.

Just the other day I made buttered noodles, green beans, and sausage patties for the kids.  Mealtime was very quiet.  Everyone was enjoying the food.  Junior said it was the Best Lunch he had in a year.  They used to make it for lunch with me years ago.  I attached the video of the kids helping make this same lunch.  It is so cute.  Junior had his cute loud comments and it still keeps us laughing.
I had about 50 pounds of breakfast sausage that I canned in patties and crumbled meat.  There was about 20 pounds of raw sausage remaining and Owen pulled a glass jar of seasoning he made for me out of his butchering bag.  It was Italian Seasoning for pizza sausage.  Well, I smelled the seasoning.  I mixed it into the raw meat by hand.  The meat was cold!
It gave the girls and I an excellent idea...PIZZA.  I learned a trick recently, in fact.  I roll out the dough very thin on a cookie sheet that was smeared with olive oil and sprinkled with corn meal.  Next, I bake the crust for about 12 minutes.  I take the crust from the oven and since it is hard enough, I transfer the crust onto the rack in the oven without the cookie sheet, just bare.  I let it bake for another 5-10 minutes so the crust is good and crunchy.  Then I remove it from the oven, add all my toppings, and oh yes, the pizza sausage!  I added some sliced onions as well.  This was by far the BEST pizza I have ever ate!  Nothing, not even brick oven pizzaria pizza could compare.

The pizza was a hit for everyone.  I think we will be making pizza more often now that we have our lovely pizza sausage canned.  I canned about 12 pints of it.  Each pint will cover several pizzas.  What a blessing. 

Oh, the Hog Jowl.  Did I mention hog jowl?  You may wonder what this is.  It is the meat from the side of the pigs face.  Sounds utterly disgusting, right?  Well, you have not had bacon until you tried hog jowl.  Hog jowl is a Southern delicacy.  I finally got to try it.  I must say, the smell was intoxicating.  Smoked to perfection!  I sliced it country style and put it on a baking sheet in the oven on 400˚F.  That cooks the bacon perfectly.

I made some fresh buttermilk biscuits to go along with the hog jowl and it was a really tasty breakfast.  We just got our smoked bacon back and I made a tray of bacon for the family yesterday.  The kids said they like hog jowl the best.  Now we see why it is a Southern delicacy.

Just for a reminder…

Tea Time Talk Show Tuesday Upcoming Schedule:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018  at 10 am CST will feature Co-Host Owen Newman

  • The following Tuesday will be featuring Owen Newman from the hills of TN talking about homesteading and the simple life.  He has a lot of wisdom and experience living with less and making the most of each and every resource they are given.  If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below or send us an email or message on facebook from the keeper of the homestead page.  

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12 thoughts on “Life on the Farm Has Seasons

  1. Could you share the Italian seasoning recipe you used? We are getting ready to butcher at the end of the month and this would be great.
    Thank you

  2. I loved watching the kids cook together several years ago in your Youtube video. That is precious. I shared that with a young mother whose beautiful middle child, a daughter, loves to cook, wash dishes, etc.
    Great job on the pizzas, too! Nothing– NOTHING else compares to homemade!
    Enjoyed this post greatly!
    Happy week,
    Kelley~

  3. Your hard work has really paid off. Being blessed with new life, food and a wonderful family who could ask for more! Rejoice.

    • Hello Sara,
      We are fortunate to have a man down the road that mixes organic feed of all sorts since there are many homesteaders in the community. Some people have relationships with grocery stores and restaurants to get the FREE leftovers or old food to feed pigs. I know a guy who fed his pigs for free just doing that and letting them graze. We let ours graze, but they do tear up the grass looking for grubs. The perfect spot is to fence them into your garden area at the end of the season and they will actually fertilize and till the ground perfectly fine so it is ready to plant next year. The pigs even get all the weeds and weed seeds eaten up along with all the roots and everything. Once they avoided a habenero plant which is a hot pepper and later we found that they ate that too. We were surprised to see that. Wonder how they liked the heat of it! Pigs are great. One thing that we do is we raise an extra pig to sell. That usually offsets your feed cost in the end. We figure we paid about $1 a pound per pig in feed cost, and when we sold the other pig, that covered even that cost. That was a great savings.
      Hope it all works out for you to have pigs, they are fun to watch and they are cheap, but healthy meat to serve your family!
      God bless,
      Erin

  4. Sure enjoy reading your blog. I love the pizza you made. It looks so tasty. I love making my own pizza and I agree that homemade pizza is the best.

  5. That pizza looks so good! I think we will have to make some soon. I have a tradition of making heart shaped homemade pizza on Valentines day for years. This year we will not be home. Glad you are still blogging. Your blog is still my favorite!

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