I did not grow up raising piglets. Of course, I raised hogs in 4-H and FFA as a child, but I only finished hogs. Starting a farrow to finish business is something I got into in my adult life. I had to learn a lot about farrowing (birthing) piglets, rather quickly. Like anything, to be good, you need to keep learning. I have been incredibly lucky to have lots of pig experts in my life. Again and again I have reached out to them with basic questions and they have come back with thorough, knowledgeable answers.
In an effort to pay it forward, I decided to share something I find interesting and an average person might not know. The piglet slippers! Let me be clear, piglet slippers is not the correct term, it is the eponychium or the deciduous hoof capsule. Piglets are born with these to prevent hurting the sows reproductive tract. As soon as they are born they dry up and fall off.
It’s not just piglets who are born with eponychium, all animals with hooves have them. Unfortunately, I tried this summer to get some good shots of a baby calf’s capsules but the time I wiped the afterbirth off my hands and got my phone out, they were gone. That’s how fast they dry up. I’ll try again next calving season.
This is a really fascinating part of birth. Oddly, I can’t remember ever being taught about this in my animal science classes, it was one of those things I had to ask about. I hope I was able to pass on some hog knowledge to you today!
Oh, yes, friends. It is that time of the year again! Time for a list of my favorite things, aka The Aghag’s gift guide for Holiday giving. Please excuse me for being late this year. The Camp Fire has taken its toll and everything is just a whisper off. Ok, back to business, I have this set up where all you have to do is click on the link under the photo (the underlined words in the caption of the photo) and it should take you to the corresponding shop. These are all products I use and love and I am not being paid to say that.
Last year after the Cherokee Fire, a group of my friends sent me boxes of “things that made me feel better”. All of the things made me feel loved and better. But my friend, Dairy Carrie extra spoiled me because she sent a box of glorious cheese. I won’t lie, I cried when I opened it. You will too. This is a great gift. My whole family loved and benefitted from this gift.
This has been a big year in terms of personal growth for me. I learned a lot about feminism, patriarchy and how we react when confronted with ugly truths. Without this book, I would have been very lost. Ms. Solnit’s writing helped guide me through some nasty misogyny this year. I highly recommend men, women and teenagers read this book. It is a wonderful start into this complex topic.
If you are from Chico chances are you have a Klean Kanteen and this is why: “The devastating Camp Fire in our Chico backyard decimated the town of Paradise. We’re proud to offer our exclusive ‘Butte Strong’ 16oz Insulated Wide. 100% of NET proceeds will go directly to Camp Fire relief efforts. Special thanks to local Chico artist 12 Volt Tattoo for the custom graphic. “
I bought one because they are giving back and supporting the survivors of the Camp Fire and I love this model because of the lid.
Authentic Japanese snacks, need I say more? I’m a foodie. I like to try different foods. I heard about Snakku and I knew immediately I needed to try it. It did not disappoint! Everything the box contained was a new and exciting experience in taste and texture. It came beautifully wrapped, so not only was it a treat for my palate, it was for the eyes as well.
Two words: honey bears! Travis started his own apiary (aka beekeeping) from scratch. I had the privilege to meet his bees, taste his honey and see some of it get bottled. It was fascinating. I’ve always wanted my own bees until I figured out I’m allergic and I saw how hard Travis worked. It’s much better to buy honey from the professionals. I highly recommend this one.
Growing up in Durham, you know the Sohnrey family. You just do. A couple years ago they opened up a farm store. It’s my go to place for local agriculture products. These Lemon Almonds have been sent all around the world in gift packages because they are freaking amazing. All the best fruits and nuts come from California, here is the best place to get some.
It makes the List every year for a reason, wiping your own butt is gross. It will make the List every year for that reason. Enough said.
My Mom makes this lovely soap. She has for over 20 years now. She hand makes it, in her kitchen, in small batches. She uses goat’s milk, essential oils, clay, olive oil, and other feel good, smell good and look pretty things. It’s all I use in my shower and I swear by it. I know I’m her kid, and I’m supposed to say this, but sweet Baby Oprah, this soap is glorious. You have to email her at SharonLBrown@gmail.com if you’d like to place an order. Her inventory changes with the season, so make sure to ask about all her scents.
Small Town Specialties has black chickpea and Livermore red walnuts. Both super cool things! I had the pleasure of meeting both Allen and Melissa, they were wonderfully nice. Black chickpeas and red walnuts are pretty usually, so this would be a wonderful gift for your favorite foodie or entertainer in your life.
That is it for this year folks. I hope this helped or at least gave you some good gift giving ideas. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and thank you for reading.
People not from this area, the Camp Fire is huge. And I know you’ve heard ‘forest management’ but I’d like to show you more aspects of our terrain here in Butte County. We have grassland too. Tell me, how do we log this? How do you log a town? ‘Forest management’ isn’t the whole story or answer. The issue is far more complex. I know opinions are like assholes, we all have one. But, gentle reminder, if you aren’t from here and aren’t familiar with our landscape, please keep your asshole in your pants. At least until the smoke is clear, and our community is no longer breathing in our memories and loved ones. I’ve already de-friended too many people lacking empathy and sympathy, don’t make the number higher.
This is the before and after photo of the masks I’ve been wearing to protect myself from the smoke and ash in the air. The Camp Fire has made the air toxic here. My eyes, skin and throat feel so dirty and heavy. We’re on day 10 of this horrific fire. I’m attempting to share what I can on all my social feeds, it’s helping with the emotions I’m experiencing. I’d like to thank everyone for the support, love, prayers, juju, you’ve sent. We’re Butte Strong and we will get through this.
Spinach dip is a death row food for me (you know, what you’d request if you were on death row for a last meal). I grew up with our family making it a certain way. As I became an adult and went to non family parties, I learned a bitter truth: not everyone made spinach dip the best way. It was shocking, to say the least. In an effort to show people the best version of spinach dip, I feel compelled to share our family version.
The Best Spinach Dip
- 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
- 1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise (if you don’t have Duke’s, Best Food’s will work fine)
- 1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts drained and chopped
- 1 packet Knorr Leek Soup Mix
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
- 3 Green onions thinly sliced (as an onion dis-liker, this is optional)
Defrost and dry your spinach. This is a very important step, if you don’t dry you spinach enough, you get soggy dip, and that’s gross. After your spinach is nice and dry mix all the ingredients together. Let’s chill in the refrigerator overnight. If you get too exited about this and try and eat the dip before the it gets to set, it’s going to feel like you are eating glass because the dehydrated leeks are tough.
Serve this dip with good sourdough bread. If you feel fancy, hollow out one of the sourdough bread rounds and put the dip in it. That’s how it was done at family holidays around here. Also as much as I hate saying this, raw vegetables also compliment this dip very nicely. That is it, the best way to make cold spinach dip!