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I am wife to Stewart, mama of five, homeschooler, messy cook, and avid fermenter. This is where I tell our story... of building a sustainable off-grid homestead in a Christian agrarian community... of raising this growing family of ours... of the beauty and the hard and the joy in all of it.
916 articles written by Shannon

I have probably said this a hundred times now: Almost nothing on the homestead happens as we thought it might. Take for instance the prospect of raising hogs. We’d been talking about it for years but of course always had higher priorities. Chickens and dairy animals and barns for those dairy animals all came at the top of the list.

And then there is always this question of what will you feed the animal? We always thought it seemed like a good idea to have an abundance of eggs and milk and garden scraps before getting hogs. GMO corn and other animal feeds were something we wanted to avoid and, besides, we had a barn to finish and more milk animals to get online and didn’t even have a pigpen ready so surely raising hogs was a ways off, right?


Well, actually no, no it wasn’t. A couple of weeks ago our friend let us know that there were some wild hogs being kept by a family up the road from us and they were looking to get rid of them. So Stewart contacted them and they said sure, come on over. He had planned to go pick them up and bring them home to butcher and maybe I would can some of it.


Well… they were practically babies, so out the window that went. So he brought them home and by mid-afternoon he had assembled a pen beneath the old camper and grabbed the first screaming hog and threw it into the pen. Within a couple of minutes she found a way out and took off so he doubled up the fencing and we tried again.

After that, the two hogs went in and haven’t come out since so now I guess we’re raising hogs… at least until we butcher them. And while I thought that first hog that got out was long gone, I was wrong about that too. A few days after the other two hogs got settled in, Stewart found her in the food forest while he was watering trees. Since he couldn’t catch her, we decided to go ahead and butcher her that evening and got our first taste of wild hog meat which is actually quite good, by the way.

And now, morning and evening, we feed them a collection of weeds, grass roots, cattails from our pond, whatever slop we have from the kitchen, and some non-GMO grain from a local grainary. I doubt we will repeat this endeavor once the jig is up for these hogs, but then again, we didn’t think we’d be getting hogs for quite sometime…

And here we are.


One of my favorite ways to use up whatever we are harvesting is simply by mixing it with a carb or protein. So potatoes, rice, pasta, beans, meat, etc. become the vehicle for all of the goodness from the garden.

Right now we are harvesting lettuce, peas, fava bean greens (they taste just like peas!), onions, garlic, and are seeing baby squash and green beans coming up next. The weather has been lovely and Stewart has been busy with a host of projects, so I have found myself in the garden with a few helpers for a few hours most mornings in recent weeks. That means come 11:30, I need a quick lunch to feed all of the gardeners and barn-builders.


On one such morning this past week I put a pot of water on and then headed to the garden. We brought in a big bowl of peas to shell, big handfuls of greens, and whittled down the last of the green onions given to us from our neighbor’s garden. By the time we got back in, the water was boiling and the rest of the dish came together in the time it took to shell the peas.


The result was this super green pasta just green enough (and quick enough) for the bustle of spring.

Spring Garden Pasta


  • 1 lb organic pasta (gluten-free works well)
  • 2 cups freshly shelled spring peas
  • 2 cups, packed, spring green such as spinach or fava bean leaves
  • 3 spring onions, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan or goat cheese to serve


Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and add all other ingredients while hot. Stir well to combine, adjust seasoning and serve with cheese as desired.