When camping for long periods follow this advice:

#1 wash it before use
Flies have landed on it and an ear wig or more has shit on it And it is covered in a layer of super find dust

#2 wash it as soon as use is complete
A pile of dirty dishes will attract every
speci of fly and meat bee anywhere near


Well, the transition has been complete. The pigs are all sold or processed to the freezer. The flock of laying hens has been reduced 50%. The cats have been rehomed. We are left with only the garden, the orchard, a few hens and the pet dogs.

The TwinSprings Homestead has transitioned to A Formal Campsite, though a glamourous one. I am a full time camper. I have fully embraced the #campinglifestyle for a year now as we continue to rebuild/repair/remodel the dwelling on the property.

Living in a campsite, with a cabover camper as a bedroom is really getting familiar, and though I continue to complain about how hard it is to make the bed, really all I gripe about are inconveniences only.

Going forward – post on space, organization, and methods to keep a resilient mind!


New spot out in the oaks on a really steep hill.  This is her 4th litter and the first time she has gone out to the “bush” to farrow.

Every time the stripes get me to smile!


I found out yesterday that my homestead chores are a mystery to the rest of my family, who I love dearly.

I was woman down with the nasty cold going around (fever, chills, severe headache, body aches, my eyeballs even hurt) and spent the day in bed, literally.

I woke up this morning feeling much better but still weak.

Things that feel through the cracks:
*feeding the chickens
*collecting eggs
*brewed tea was forgotten and is now 3 days strength – going to toss that
*produce brought home was left on the counter – now going to the hens

Things that happened without me:
*7 bare root trees were planted
* 4 bare root berries planted
* fence line graded and anchor posts set
* pigs relocated to allow fence work
* my family went out to dinner

Almost a fair trade!

In may last post I shared that I was a bit nervous (ok, straight up scared) about roasting a pig for friends and Family!  We share lots of bounty off the farm, but this is the first time undertaking such a large cooking effort.

New Year’s day did indeed start in the dark, and it was very cold (mid twenties).

Pre-dawn Fires

Pre-dawn Fires

It did not start smoothly – it tool took a few tries to get the beast fastened to the spit well enough. We both thought it a good idea to add some spice and cut up apples to the cavity and stitch it back up. I am not sure if this is a good or bad idea.  It may have cooked faster if the cavity was left open, and the goods on the inside discolored the inside of the ribs.  Still good and yummy but not the most attractive.

It did not come with any means of securing the feet, and the beast has a balance point so that each time the the beast turned, at the top of the cycle it would flop and twist slightly over the tipping point to climb back up the other side of the loop.  This means one side cooked faster than the other, but we took care of that in the end by manually stalling the cooler side for longer each cycle for about 40 minutes.  It was a bit creepy too, since the two ends did not turn in unison. My husbands solution for floppy ears also a bit creepy, but very functional and likely better than burned ears and eyeballs (that could have been icky!).  We kept the campfire roaring and took coals from it to the cooking fire as needed to keep the internal temp climbing.  Having a meat thermometer is critical.

Once the hide split and it was a self basting roast.  I added my biggest dutch oven to the center of the coal pile to act a s a basin to catch the drippings and those were used to baste the whole thing.  The best way to season a cast iron pot – high heat and pure lard!  That dutch oven is now nonstick in the extreme.

open fire cookin'

Company arrived mid day and after a couple our hours socializing around a campfire it was time to feast!  All agree it is delicious and everyone takes some home.  This was my first chance to try cooked skin, and I do not like it.  One of our guests has been to many a pig roast and he made the comment that this hog had a thicker hide than the others he has cooked.  I am going to give that credit to the heritage breed – hardy pigs these are.  I also feel better about pour butchery method to skin them first.

With the warmest temp of the day hitting the low forties no one wanted to stay past dark, even with a roaring campfire. No blaming my guests on that note.  I call this a major success, but will admit that I am not looking forward to doing it again anytime soon.  It is a ton of work, and hosting in general can be a bit stressful.  I will say this is a very efficient way to feed a large group of people, and it is indeed delicious!

Even the dogs got to enjoy a bit.

Down Dog

Down Dog

Tonight the clocks will chime and magically a new year with a bunch of to do about reading time and marking the passing of it with HUGE and TINY celebrations of it.  We are not much into the part scene for New Year’s traditions and this time around our festivities are gonna go like this.

wake up to frozen water supplies to the campers since the low overnight was in the twenties all night
wait for the thaw to see what failed (fancy way to say find the broken water lines and fixtures)
trip to town with giant list of plumbing parts
complete repairs and make preparation for 2 more night of mighty cold temps

wake up to frozen everything
spit a pig for a day of roasting and a giant bonfire gets built so we can stand to be outside with the pig and all the folks that said they will come help us eat it!
really really hoping that no additional repairs are needed as the stores will be closed for the Holiday!!

In general I blame Disney for giving “Frozen” such a warm reception and distortion of the word’s definition!

Bring it ON 2015!

hen taste test


Once the rains come and the weeds start the hens get fodder delivered.  They cannot free range as the hawks here eat them and the LGD that lives in the pasture with the pigs is not so down with including poultry in her responsibility.  A bit of exercise and yard tending for me, good food for the birds, who then give me eggs. Totally fair trade.

Several years ago I came across Paul Wheaton, and his permaculture empire (permies.com) and this is one of the first things I read.

I appreciated the logic, but heated with a wood stove that DID HEAT THE WHOLE HOUSE, and had not lived in an electric heat house for more than 20 years.

Paul is right – heat the person not the space.  Not only can this approach reduce out of pocket costs, but also sanity!  I am colder than anyone else in any room in any crowd in any conditions.  This means I am almost always cold or chilled in the winter and sometimes even in the summer.

I have previously shared that we are currently #tincanliving – no wood stove here.  So, I revisited the article, and also as shared previously pursued the acquisition of an electric blanket!

It has been acquired and used for a week and I wonder why it took me so long! 

Even watching football this weekend I am thinking that an electric throw will be my next item to endure the rest of this winter with no wood stove to heat with.  Sitting still in a 60 degree room just means I get cold!

Just for the record since I share so much here, the mattress in the #tincanliving master suite has been replaced with a  Tempurpedic bed and that has made a difference in our comfort as well :) 

Looking forward to a cozy comfy night, though the storm will rage on the outside!


Wet weather is no fun, I know our water table and surface storage needs to be recharged by the rain, but it makes RV living wet on the inside too.

CONDENSATION IS NOT MY FRIEND!!!! Getting an electric blanket so we can run the propane heater less, and shopping for a dehumidifier. Waking up with a wet ceiling is just gross. No different then a tent – all that breathing all night long.

And space saving ideas are a constant pursuit.
I did have a novel solution (I thought) for doing the dishes and extending counter space – make the sink work harder. I use mini basins I got at the dollar store, and a wire rack that fits. Another way to extend counter space it to use cutting boards that span the sink.



Trying to keep a positive attitude – short days and gray weather are not helping, sharing does🙂




The time change has come again, and now my chores will happen in the dark.  I needed at least one way to make chores more efficient.  I brought the self feeder out for the little pigs.  I generally do not use it as it it not up to the task of standing up to the enthusiasm of the big pigs and I do not like fee choice feeding for the breeding stock.  There is no reason my sows and boar need to weigh in around 800+pounds!

The little ones spent the afternoon learning how to flip the lid up and on several occasions all 3 managed to get head and front feet in it.

The big pigs still will be feed by hand daily, but the chickens are going over to a self feeder too!

With the nice weather I have been reclaiming the garden from the weeds, and found some volunteer potatoes so I am off to set up row covers.
We still have 2 piglets of this litter for sale if you are interested and in the El Dorado County CA area🙂

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