Friday, June 16, 2017

Echinacea Lemonade Popsicles

Summer colds are no fun - but popsicles are! Here's a fun way to give the kids' immune system a boost during warm weather.

Echinacea Lemonade Popsicles

3 cups of water
3 bags of echinacea tea
1/2 cup of honey
3/4 cup lemon juice
Steep tea according to directions; discard (compost!) tea bags. Stir in honey and lemon juice. Pour into popsicle forms and freeze.

Use echinacea elderberry tea if you have it, for extra immune-boosting power. Or alternately, use elderberry syrup instead of the honey (I like to use my homemade elderberry honey - elderberries harvested from my garden, and honey from my own bees - so I am completely sure of the quality of the ingredients).

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Cheerful Agrarian and the Three Little Pigs

Once upon a time (about 1:30 this afternoon, actually), the Cheerful Agrarian went with two of her children to pick out two little pigs to live in her back yard. On the drive to the farm, she texted her friend Monica, who said she would like Cheerful to raise a pig for her family, too. And so it was that Cheerful brought home not two, but three little pigs.
Now, these pigs do not have houses of straw (it's been very windy here in Wisconsin lately (a tornado went through just two miles south of us last month), so even if a house of straw could stand up to the huffing and puffing of the big bad wolf, I don't think it would do so well against the weather this spring), nor do they have houses of sticks (I haven't perfected my wattle-and-daub technique yet - but it's on my list!) They definitely don't have a house of bricks (have you priced bricks lately? Definitely out of my price range!) Instead, they have a house of fiberglass. An old truck topper, to be precise, that a friend gave us last year ("and please don't give it back!")
The pigs are named Chris P. Bacon (a name that my daughter had picked out last year, but we opted for other names for our two previous porkers, so it was only common courtesy to use it this time around), Alexander Hamilton (he's so popular these days!), and Spot Chop (my 10 year old son named him - I told him to try to think of something that included a reference to his spots and the idea of pork chops. So Spot Chop he became - Spotch for short.)
Weighing in at just 30 pounds each, they are the perfect size to be loved on and adored by the kids (and their mother . . .) They love their new home - before we had even unloaded them all from the truck, Spotch had already started digging holes with his until-now-untried snout. They certainly didn't need to be taught how to root! Four and a half hours later, and they still haven't so much as sniffed at their hog feed. I'm sure that will change pretty quickly, though.

I'm going to try to keep a running tally to see how much it's costing us to raise our own bacon (the two we raised last year ended up around $3.16/lb- $1195.25 total - including on-farm slaughter, processing, and curing the bacon and hams) These pigs cost us $55 each ($165 total), and their first bag of feed (we're going all organic) was $24.88 (65 cents more per bag than last year). So, at 90 pounds total, they've cost us $189.88.