The Blueberries are in

A few years ago the farm planted 300 various blueberry plants. When we moved in they were completely overgrown in grass taller than me – for those of you who know me. This is a big accomplishment! The pigs rototilled the field and a couple of months ago while they still had some leaves, I was able to flag 18 plants that had survived. Those plucky little plants are drought resistant and have been naturally neglected, uh, selected to be low maintenance. While these plants are fighters, we are tagging them out and going to make life a little easier for them.

For reference, I am 6’ tall. Those Canadian thistles are HUGE!

This Saturday (a sunny day!) we moved all of the flagged dormant plants to the driveway along the top pasture. It was a good thing they were flagged because without leaves it would have been tricky to pick the right ones out of the 300. Thank you “past us” for making a choice to help “future us”. We reaped the benefits of that choice for sure.

The plants are “precisely” one shovel length from the fence. They should certainly make this an imperial measurement if it isn’t already. It came in super handy and I think Mike did a good job making a straight line. We had 4 bushes at our last place which was enough for us. That means if the birds and kids don’t beat us to them, we will have enough to share. Summer, here we come!

Fonts, fonts, fonts

Branding… it isn’t something I ever really think of until I received my first order of swag from Vistaprint. I love swag and it is even better when it is something you created.

I love everything about our farm logo. It is lime green, it is simple, it is easy to craft with (not tons of detail!), the font is fresh but not too out there. It was perfect… until I went to edit our location to it! What font did I use?!? How will people know that “Local” is Cobble Hill and I am not just toting around a sweet bag I picked up somewhere else?!

It became a bit of a hunt. I found a paper trail and saw that I purchased the logo from Vectorstock, but then knew I would have edited our farm name onto it in a free online editing program. A program I could not remember. I completely forgot what I used. Without finding that program I was on my own to sift through millions of fonts to find ours. After looking up the image dates, scouring my search history and giving up on what free photo editor I might have used back in August, I thought to look at the file extension types on the logo. One was pxl.jpg. PXL! It turns out the original online editor I used was pixlr.com. Success! When I pulled up the window, I was already logged in and it showed the logo I had last edited 94 days ago. I can’t tell you how good that felt.

I won’t forget this time! I looked up and downloaded the fonts so I can have them forever. Then I emailed copies to Mike to make sure I could hunt them down. As the final piece of the puzzle, I am blogging them here too. We have used “Loverstruck” for our name and location, and “Roundaries” for our tagline. Success feels good! Probably because I had to work hard at it!

The Running of the Pigs

Mouth noise, it does nothing for me. Like a nail on a chalkboard the sound usually sends me packing. Not when it comes from these delightful little piggies though. I could listen to them crunch and munch all day.

This week I took a few videos to immortalize these piggy little moments. Pumpkins are in season and we carved six with the kids this week, as a result, we have some pigs hopping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon. Not to mention they have also been enjoying the 50lb bag of carrots we picked up from the laughing llama a few weeks ago. At $9.99 a bag, it was hard not to want to spoil them. You can see here that they think fall is a pretty good time of the year.

The next couple of videos capture our morning feed routine. If I don’t catch them early enough they head down to the lower berry field for the day to get about their piggy business. The grass is so tall that I need to get pretty close to get their attention, but when I do, they come running!

They are building stamina for the round. Pai (brown and white) can sometimes still be pretty winded by the top. He is akin to the gasping wolf from Disney’s “The Sword in the Stone”, but that doesn’t stop him. On this particular day, I made it extra worth their while and had some pumpkin waiting for them at the top of a hill. They dug right in! It was very well deserved!

Pumpkin time!

This is our first year starting out and I couldn’t find any established squashes on the property. So, that means we needed to outsource some this year. One thing I love about these guys is that they are true to seed. That means we will have lots next year. Plans include carving pumpkins, sugar pumpkins (for pies and soup!), and butternut squash. The seeds are drying for us to enjoy next year, the piggies will love the leftovers for dinner tonight, and delicious soup and pie will be had this weekend.

First Taste of Homemade Apple Cider

This last weekend was our first taste of homemade apple cider. It was a delicious experiment!

We snagged Grampa’s juicer and turned a few dozen apples into a few dozen ounces of pulpy, almost chewy, apple juice. Here’s some photos:

This many apples…
…gets chopped up and fills this bowl…
…and made about 16 ounces of cider. (Everything above that line was pulpy bubbles.

The family agreed it was far superior to the boxes of apple juice to which they were accustomed. It just takes a lot of apples, and could benefit from a more industrial juicer.

Maybe in future years we’ll make some available for sale? Please let us know if you’d be interested.

Piggies have arrived!

Monday we acquired two 5-month-old Kunekune pigs! (“Kune kune” is Māori for “fat and round.”) They currently weigh about 40 pounds, but can grow to 300!

We had a lot of help getting their enclosure and shed all ready. It used to be for chickens, then it was basically left for weeds (especially giant stinging nettles), so there was a lot to fix up!

The little people on our farm love fetching the apples and plums that fell from the trees, running (literally) them over to the pigs, then watching them munch. The pigs may also be getting tummy rubs.

Yep, these pigs are a little spoiled. They’re turning their nose up at leftover onions, green beans, and corn. I think it’s safe to say they’re pretty happy with their new arrangements.

Automatic Email Updates Setup!

I just finished setting up a MailChimp automatic newsletter. This way folks can sign up from our website, then be notified of news that we post to this website.

Here’s how I did it:

  • I installed and activated the WordPress plugin MailChimp for WordPress
  • I signed up for a free account from MailChimp.com
  • Created a MailChimp API key
  • Added it to the plugin’s settings and saved
  • Added the MailChimp signup form as a widget (so it will appear at the bottom of every page of the website)
  • Added the MailChimp signup form using a shortcode to the top of the homepage
  • Followed the tutorial from WPForms for creating a newsletter from an RSS feed.

Now, with any luck, I should receive an email tomorrow morning from this post!