Monday, December 10, 2012

Bluefield Acres Porcine Bounty

According to the American Livestock Breeders Conservancy, in 2005 there were only 15 verifiable American Guinea Hogs left in the world. Well, there are quite a few more now, and we have several at Bluefield Acres that could use good homes. Ruby started the trend on October 21st with a litter of seven, followed by Ophelia on November 3rd with three, and Little Bit on November 10th with six.

Here's a little video Scott and I put together to show how our little ones spend their first six weeks of life. We keep them in a small enclosure with mom so they have plenty of access to food and water and no chance of getting lost in the woods. Ruby's are old enough to be set free now, so they'll soon be running with the big boys and girls, and Little Bit's already know how to escape and roam at will. Check 'em out. They are super curious, very gentle, and fun to raise. If you need a breeder or a feeder, let us know. We have a gracious plenty.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Painful Pig Math: A Tale of Two Sisters

On Easter Sunday (April 8th), Ophelia had her first litter of pigs - seven big beautiful girls and a stout male to boot. Unfortunately booting became a serious issue over the next three days, as Ophelia either crushed or neglected her babies to the point that several died. We're not sure if she simply didn't know what to do with them as a new mother or whether she was overwhelmed by the sheer number of little ones in her care. Either way, by Wednesday the 11th, she settled into motherhood with her remaining three girls and has done a good job of caring for them ever since.

Maybe it was the competition that inspired her.

On Tuesday, April 10th, only a couple of days behind Ophelia, Little Bit had her first litter as well - three little boys and two small females, and she has doted on them since day one. Little Bit is a small pig, so she produced a small brood, but she's clearly got a huge heart. Every morning before she eats breakfast, Little Bit covers her babies in straw, and she is ever careful with them whether feeding, wallowing, nursing, or sleeping. A fine mother indeed!

If you need a Guinea Hog, give us a shout. Three are spoken for, but there are still plenty to go around!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wild Edible Foods!

We recently bought Nature's Garden, Samuel Thayers book on foraging for wild edible plants, and I can't say enough about how awesome it is. Not only does the book go into great detail about 40 or so American wild edibles, but 98% can be found in North Carolina where we live. Samuel provides enough information to make you feel confident about exploring wild food in a safe manner. As Sam explains, you should never eat anything you're not absolutely confident about, but learning to tell the difference between wild varieties can often be as easy as telling the difference between a head of cabbage and a head of iceberg lettuce. We can all do it, it just takes basic observation skills, committment, and time.

Our first foray into wild food was not in Thayer's book, but since I'd observed and researched the above mushroom over an extended period, we felt very safe digging in. This is a cauliflower mushroom and is typically found at the base of conifers in our region during the late summer and early fall. Even though we were super confident on our identification, we took Samuel's advice and only ate a few bites the first night as never know how you'll react to any new food - wild or otherwise. Fortunately, we found this mushroom simply delectable!

Day two we went all out - spicy Guinea Hog burgers topped with Guinea Hog bacon, cheese, and sauteed wild mushroom . . . yummmmmmmmm!

We will definitely try this one again!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Best Sweet Potato Pie . . . Ever!

Scott finally made that sweet potato pie he promised - our sweet potatoes, home-rendered lard, and farm fresh eggs plus a few non-homegrown ingredients.

Here's our recipe for a 9" pie.

If you have time, make crust and chill overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees before baking.

Pie Crust
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup well-chilled lard
3-4 tablespoons bourbon (water can be used, but bourbon or vodka will produce a more tender crust)

Sift flour into large bowl
Add salt and mix thoroughly
Add chilled lard and cut in with two knives until lard is the size of peas
Add just enough bourbon to form a dry dough ball
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (overnight is better)
Place ball on well floured surface
Mash out with hands until approximately 6 inches in diameter
Flour top of crust and flip
Flour top again and roll to desired thickness
Gently fold in half and place in pie plate
Gently form to plate and trim or crimp edge

Here's what a 1/2 cup of our homemade lard looks like.
Crisco can be substituted.

Cutting in the lard.

The bourbon and lard are Scott's secret to a tender crust.

Pie Filling
1 pound of baked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/2 cup milk
3 medium-sized farm fresh eggs (or 2 large eggs)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teasponn ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger

Bake sweet potatoes until tender, then remove skin.
Mash sweet potatoes in bowl.
Add butter and mix thoroughly (we us a Kitchenaid mixer).
Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.
Beat on medium speed until smooth, then add vanilla and mix.
Lastly, run through ricer to guarantee smooth consistency, and pour filling into unbaked pie crust.

Cooking Directions
Cook pie for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees (until knife inserted in the center comes out clean)
Cool pie to room temperture, add homemade whipped cream, and serve.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spanish Goats and Sweet Potatoes

Well, it's been a busy summer. Between two graduate classes, traveling to Atlanta and Spokane, and working full time for Scott, I haven't had much time to blog, so I'll do my best to sum up what's been going on at the farm in this post.

The garden did horribly this year. It's just been too hot! We harvested a few ears of sweet corn last month, but our field corn (which was shoulder high and beautiful at the beginning of June) didn't produce at all. Our tomatoes grew like crazy, but most got blossom end rot and had to be thrown out, and any that were edible were consumed by the rabbits. Thank goodness our sweet potatoes did well! We harvested them today and look forward to devouring some very soon - think SWEET POTATO PIE!

Yesterday we delivered four gilts to customers and picked up two 4-month old Spanish goats for ourselves. Godiva, the brown one, is extremely curious and outgoing, while the black one (Snickers) is a bit shy. The girls are currently in a holding pen so they can adjust to their new home, but we hope to introduce them to more of the property (and the pigs) very soon.

These little ladies will be the foundation of our breeding stock and will be in charge of landscaping all fenced areas of the property . . . let's just hope we can keep them out of the orchard!

Nothing quite like sweet feed for making friends!

Looking forward to FALL!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hot Weather; Cool Pigs

The weather has been miserable hot in Southeastern NC since about mid-May. . .  
but we've got some really cool little pigs.


Magnolia had a litter of three boys and five girls on June 7th. Unfortunately within two days of their birth, two baby pigs were dead. We think Magnolia smothered them but can't say for sure. We assured her that our freezer had room for extra sausage, and she's been a doting mother ever since.

All six remaining babies are spoken for at the moment, but we're hoping Scarlet is pregant and will have a litter herself within a couple of months. Here are some pictures of the happy and healthy little guys and gals.

If interested in getting a pig from Scarlet's litter, email

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Decorative Hand Hoe

Scott got an order for another hand hoe, so he banged one out while heat treating knives for the Blade Show in June. See what you think.

Which reminds me . . . I need to hoe the garden!

If you want to see more of Scott's metal work, go to, and I'll post more on the garden soon.