It seems that January is a month for dreaming. Dreaming of warm weather and all the wonderful things we want to do when it finally returns. The holidays are over and the maple sap won’t run for another month or two yet.. its too early to start any seeds, so all we can do is dream.

The spring garden is perhaps the most popular dream right now. The seed catalogs are piling up and everywhere you look on Facebook people are talking about which catalog showed up today, what new vegetable they’d like to add this year and how they just can’t wait for spring to arrive! We’ve certainly spent quite a few evenings pouring through our catalog, marking and circling. We’ve written lists of what we plan to grow this year and cross referenced them with our collection of saved seeds to see what purchases will still need to be made. In fact, we’re so excited about this year’s growing season that we’ve even decided to organize a seed swap in February! The swap is a perfect thing for me, combining my dreams of the new garden with my obsession for seed collecting.. plus, it’ll be a great way to meet some new people and share our love of heirloom seeds!

When I dream, I tend to dream big. Not just, ‘What are we going to plant this year?’ but ‘What can we plant that we’ve never grown before?’ or ‘Where can we put some new raised beds.. is there room for a greenhouse over there?’ … But this is perfectly normal and I’m sure most of you do the same thing.. But one thing I’ve found myself dreaming about has raised a few eyebrows with my friends when I bring it up. Pigs. And maybe because I’m doing a bit more than dreaming about pigs.. I’ve started actively planning to add them to our homestead this next spring…

Not a lot of pigs. Just two. Or maybe three, we’ll see how it goes. You might be thinking, why would you want to raise pigs at your house? And I say, Why not? First of all, I would really only have the pigs for about 3 months out of the year. They can be raised from little piglet to tasty pork chop in an average of 100 days. Secondly, they don’t take up much space. I could easily raise 2-3 happy pigs in a 16′ x 24′ area. And since they’ll only be living with us during the nicest part of the year, I don’t have to worry about building too fancy of a shelter for them.. its not like I need to be keeping them warm all winter. By winter time, they’ll be plenty frozen already.. in my freezer!

One concern people have had when we talk pig keeping is the smell. But if the area they live in is kept clean, there really isn’t too much smell to worry about. Besides, they’re only making a mess for a few months, remember? And the stinky stuff that well fed pigs produce? Well, that’s some mighty fine manure that I would happily consider one of the bonuses of raising pigs!

And the number one great reason to raise pigs here at Small House, that tasty meat! Pork loin, roasts, chops, sausages, bacon.. and plenty of it!  Ham hocks, ribs, hams, I could go on and on..
Everyone knows that the pig is filled with lots of tasty meat. And I think that we can all agree that we prefer our tasty meat to come from a reliable source. And everyone knows how I feel about food from the grocery store.
But that’s really not my motivation here.. I already get all of my meat from a reliable source. As a matter of fact, I haven’t bought meat from a grocery store in over two years. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Middleton Farm for a while now and they raise some of the best beef, pork and chicken around. And I’m not just saying that, it’s true. They run a very popular Meat CSA program that I deliver for and I’ve heard feedback from so many happy people about how much they enjoy the products.. here’s the link to their website. Go check it out, they have a nice veggie CSA too.

Although I’m fortunate enough to already have access to quality meat, I want to experience first hand the work that goes in to raising it. I want my children to understand that too. And bacon. I think I want us to have more bacon.  So whether we end up with two pigs, or maybe three ..or four..
there’s a handful of good reasons why its good for myself and my family to try our hands at pig keeping. And, bacon.