Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall At The Bull Homestead

I have always loved fall.  From the beautiful colors, the changing of the leaves, the crisp cool air, the bountiful harvests, pumpkin flavored everything, the beauty of the landscape and everything fall offers.  My grandmother always said it was because I born in the fall, maybe but either way it is my favorite season. 
I also love to decorate for fall.  I have tons of boxes/totes full of fall decorations yet every year I feel the need to make even more.  From the big display out at the road end to the cushions on the couch and everything in between.  This year I have only made a few new decorations so far but fall is far from over too. 

I wanted to take the time to share some of my fall favorites at the Bull Homestead.

This is my fall display at the end of the driveway for this year.  I have made one every year since we bought the property.  Although this is the first year I have not been able to use my 100+ year old wagon in the display I think it turned out well.  The wagon  just always added something special to it for me and it saddens me to be able to use it any longer as it needs major repair.
Apparently my displays at the road end have become quite popular with the local community as well.  This year with limited time and dreary weather I was behind on setting up my display.  I had a ton of people in my local community come up to me and ask if I was making the display this year.  One person who I would have never thought paid any attention to what I do actually told me they look forward to the change in season to see what great ideas I would come up with next.  It really made me feel good to know so many are interested in it as I love to make them and put a lot of thought and effort into making it. 

These are two of my favorite fall crafts so far this year.  The first (fall tree) was actually something I came up with last year.  I took a small tree cut it down and glued pretty colored fake leaves to it.  I liked it but the tree last year was so big with branches in all the wrong places it just never really looked right.  This year I was quite picky when it came to tree selection and it make a big difference in the finished product of the tree.  We will use the tree through out the fall, first decorating it with Halloween and then we will put Thanksgiving decorations on it.  My kids love making little decorations for the tree so it is fun for them too.
The bouquet of leaves (second picture) was made because I was looking for something to decorate my sitting porch with.  I used the same basics of gluing leaves on branches only on in a much smaller scale.  I put florist foam in the planter and covered it with hay.  I added some tops from the corn stalks we grew then finished it off with a small scarecrow.  It was actually quite easy but one of my favorite decorations so far.

This is just a small sample of the fall beauty here this year.  The colors started out very dull and with in days were brilliant and colorful unfortunately the weather has been rainy and the skies gray hiding the beauty of the hill sides. 
The first picture is the hill behind the house.  Most of our property is wooded and it sure makes for a gorgeous display in the fall.  Although I searched all over trying to find a nice view of our property this was the only one I found that fit most of the property in the picture.  The dreary skies that day however did not help in showing just how pretty everything really looked.
The pumpkins in the picture are only part of the 70+ we grew this year.  I love pumpkins and when they still a little green they always look so pretty in pictures.  The pumpkins didn't take very long to turn the beautiful orange color though.
The rest of the photos are just little favorites around the house/property I wish we could have had a few more sunny days for photo taking but it is still beautiful just the same.

Hope everyone has enjoyed fall here so far and although the wet weather lately has affected the amount of beautifully colored trees the mountains are still beautiful to look at here.  When the leaves are gone I will still love fall and all that it still has to offer.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Raising The Pigs

We raised our own pig (for meat) for the first time this year.  We started from scratch back in April building a pen with help from friends and family, plus getting everything else we would need.  In return for their help we also raised pigs for them and two other friends.  So we ended up raising five pigs our first year!  Talk about jumping in head first to the unknown.
Our pig the day we got her
I had no idea what we were getting into other then that "pigs stink" or so I remembered from being a kid when my aunt raised one.  I knew I would have to help with the feeding and interact with the pigs as Thad works during the week and I was not looking forward to it at all.  I will admit that being short did make the thought of a 200 lb. pig very intimidating.  I was worried that no matter how hard I tried not to I would find myself attached to them only to have the time come to get rid of them.  I also worried how our kids (3-6yrs) would handle the situation as the rest of our animals are "pets".  We let them know from the beginning that we would be raising them for food or "bacon" and that they pigs were not "pets" to keep.  We didn't name any of the pigs other then calling them "Our" pig or so and so's pig to help prevent any attachment to them.  
The pigs really weren't that hard to raise.  The guys must have built a great pen for them as the pigs didn't escape once not even when they were tall enough to climb up on the fence and try to come over their feeder when I fed them.  Although half way through we did have to make changes to the feeder as they would not stay out of it making it almost impossible to get feed in it.  I would feed them in the mornings when I did the other animal chores and Thad would feed them at night.  He would always give them extra attention and play with them.
We did have one pig that wouldn't eat for a few days.  It was in the hottest part of the summer and this summer was hotter then normal for here.  After an online search and questioning friends who had pigs we ended up giving the pig Gatorade and feeding it separately for a few days.  It was soon back to normal but was the smallest pig at butcher time and I believe it had to do with not eating those days. 
When the day came to butcher the pigs the kids and I went to Grandmas house so we wouldn't have to witness the end.  I know its all part of raising animals for food but I was not about to subject the kids to this part of it.  The kids did know what was happening that day with out seeing all the gory details.  That and I did not want to be here for it myself either.  I think it was the best decision as the first thing our daughter said when we got home that day was can we have "bacon" yet and not really caring that we no longer had the pigs.
I think our first year was pretty successful considering "Our Pig" (the biggest for the beginning) ended up being 200lbs!  Since we already have everything set up we will most likely do it again next year.  Oh and as for the smell I remembered as a kid was so dreading it really wasn't that bad.  Maybe it was that the pen was not right next to the house or that having the other animals first has made my sense of smell less sensitive?  
Our pig a week before the end.  Some how they never appeared as big as they really were in pictures.
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