Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It was the best of times it was the worst of times…

It was the worst of times...

Since I want to end on a positive note, I will start out by sharing the “worst of times”. Last week we started running low on apples to feed to the pigs so we decided that on Friday we would go pick up some more at Hollie’s parents’ farm. By now many of the apples have fallen on the ground which isn’t very friendly on our backs. Friday rolled around and we were delayed in the morning by a friend who was having a much worse day than I care to have. By the time we were ready to leave, I realized that we wouldn’t make it to Hollie’s parents’ farm in time to get back and take the kids camping that evening. They had been looking forward to it and you just can’t break a promise like going camping. So we ran a few errands and enjoyed the beautiful day.

We arrived home in time to load the camper on the pickup and grab some hot dogs and marshmallows. We drove the entire ten minutes it takes to get “in the middle of nowhere” by the Vernon Reservoir. The boys and I met up with my brother in law and his kids and later my childhood friend and his kids showed up. We had a good laugh at our campers all lined up in a row. All three are the “cab-over” style that sits in the back of the truck. The three of us combined spent less than $800 on those campers! All three are older than we are! The kids had a blast and were cozy in the campers sipping hot chocolate and popping popcorn over the stove. I absolutely cherish each moment I can spend with my boys and feel very blessed that I can take them camping so easily. The next morning we woke up to snow and I woke up with a head cold. We tried to do a little fishing, but it was just too cold for the younger kids.

We went home and unloaded the camper and hooked up the flatbed so we could get apples. As we pulled into Lehi, the snow showed no signs of letting up. And it never did let up. The kids were going to help pick apples to begin with but since it was so windy and cold we decided to keep them indoors. This meant Hollie would need to be inside as well to keep an eye on them. (If you’re doing the math, this leaves me to pick up apples.) So I went out to the orchard all bundled up to now dig the apples out of the snow.

If I ever had any doubt that my father in law, Sherman,  loved me, it quickly vanished when he pulled up with the tractor and maneuvered the front loader for me to load the apples. He too was all bundled up.

That’s Sherman on the tractor in the picture.

He moved the tractor along as I first kicked off the snow and then picked up the apples. It is during times like these that I begin to wonder if it is even worth the effort. I start to calculate in my head how much an hour I really make raising pigs. I continued to grumble to myself, cursing those pigs all the while those annoying snowflakes keep landing on my nose and eyelashes. Friday would have been such nice day for doing this kind of work. (The picture of me smiling is because I am utterly delirious at this point!)

After a while, we had a good load of apples to take home to the pigs. I dumped the apples to the pigs and they didn’t even say thank you. They just ate and then started using my truck as a scratching post. (I hate when they do that!) So before I decided to “harvest” the pigs early, I called it a day and went in exhausted and running a fever.

It was the best of times…

The next day I slept in a little and woke feeling much better. I hurried and got all the farm chores done. I watched the pigs wake up and run over to the apples and start eating. Then they roamed over to the haystack and started eating some alfalfa. After that they moseyed over to their grain and then up the hill for what little grass is left. The sun was shining even though it was only 15 degrees but it quickly warmed up. Despite my grumpy mood the previous day I realized that I truly love raising those pigs. I hurried and got ready as we were expecting visitors to the farm. Some of the chefs from the Viking Cooking School came as well a few others. Jim Light who I mentioned in a previous post wanted to see the farm and had asked if he and some of his colleagues and friends could make a visit.

We showed them our little farm and then invited them in to sample some bacon, ham and grilled chops.

That is me in the yellow shirt writing down an order with Jim Light behind me to the right.

Everybody seemed to enjoy the pork as was evident by the orders we received. We heard several comments like, “This is the best pork I have ever tasted!” which made us feel good especially since it was coming from a group who enjoys a wide variety of high quality, gourmet foods for a living. Suddenly picking the apples in the snowstorm didn’t seem so bad and maybe even worthwhile. We had a wonderful visit with everybody and decided that we would have to offer a farm visit to all of our customers sometime in the near future.

We have been overwhelmed with the positive response we continue to get with our pork and the many kind notes, emails, comments, and letters we receive. Thank you all for your input and response to our announcement of offering pastured chicken and turkey and grass fed beef. We will keep you updated on this blog as we move forward with these efforts. If you have suggestions or comments we would love to hear from you. We want to grow the natural, healthy food you want. We want to be your farmer!  We are now taking orders for February and April 2010 deliveries.  For ordering information see here.

Since I began this post with the opening line in Charles Dickens', "A Tale of Two Cities", I will end with its final line,

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."


stefanie said...

We enjoyed seeing your small farm and your huge efforts! The "taste testing" was great and you and Hollie were gracious hosts!

Stefanie in Mona

Christiansen's Hog Heaven said...


We enjoyed every one's company and had a great time. We are going to offer a "farm tour" again in the near future. Then again, maybe we will wait until it warms up again since our house is a little small for hosting parties indoors. Who am I kidding, its a little small for us! : )

We would like to offer a tour with sampling of all of our products, pork, beef, chicken, and turkey!