In the Drink

If you threw me into water in freezing weather, I’d scramble to get out as quickly as possible.  Even being thirsty wouldn’t influence my instinct to escape.  But not so with pigs.  Their first thought isn’t “I’m cold”.  It is “I might be hungry or thirsty later, so I’d better drink while I’m here”. Our pigs really have no reason to be hungry or thirsty.  They have a self feeder, plenty of hay, and we always keep whey in their trough.  But that doesn’t matter.  Whenever I top off their whey they mob… Read More

I Blog, Therefore I Might Be

Last fall I published a post about our water trough made from a discarded heavy loader tire.  Maybe the topic is of burning interest to the internet, or maybe through some luck I stumbled across the right keywords for search engine optimization.  But it is by far the most popular post on our website.  It consistently garners more than double the hits of our next most popular post (on knife castration for bulls) and doubles again our third place post (on our thoughts about slaughter).  Lesson:  if you are publishing a farm blog, stick with tires and… Read More

Just for Pretty

Piglet Wrangling

These are pig-fattening stations…the swine are fed here.  Anyway, I was a pig man.  As the prophet Daniel warned King Nebuchadnezzar, “They shall drive thee from among men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field.”  Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King OK, that quote doesn’t have much to do with anything, but I always pay attention to pig stuff in any book I happen to be reading or, more often these days, listening to. We moved the sows and the boar into their winter shelter this week, but we… Read More

Bale Grazing, 2015-2016 Winter Edition

This year I reduced my bale spacing to 30 feet versus 40 feet in past years.  We’ll see if this is too close.  But it allows me to feed at a lot higher density (96 bales in this little field versus 54 in the same space). Why did I originally go with 40 foot spacing?  Because I learned how to do bale grazing on the internet.  And for whatever reason almost everyone on the internet is kinda stuck on the 40 foot number.  For example, the 40 foot spacing is recommended here… Read More

Sow Shelter

Up goes another hoop building!  AJ did all the surveying work for me, laying out the posts and squaring the corners.  It was a good project for him and provided his introduction to the Pythagorean Theorem and its applications.  The layout got away from him a little, but these buildings are flexible so I didn’t follow up and correct things.  Besides, the pigs aren’t picky; they won’t mind. This building is for the sows to use during the winter.  This fall has been extraordinarily mild, so there hasn’t been a pressing need to get it… Read More

December Greens

After the bulldozers scraped a somewhat level spot near the lane for this year’s building project, we had a lot of exposed subsoil.  I messed around with the tractor in the area for a few weeks in between other projects, moving dirt here and there to adjust things a bit.  I didn’t want the soil to erode, so I pulled some three year old seed from a bin in the garage and enlisted Harry’s help broadcast sowing it.  Broadcast sowing seems like a good task for someone who is six, but getting him to understand the… Read More

Poblano Sausage

Seems like whenever I discuss recipes with other farmers, our conversations follow along the lines of the Portlandia “Did You Read?” sketch.  But the book that usually tops the list is Ruhlman’s Charcuterie.  For anyone who hasn’t read it, I recommend it.  (Hint: if you are reluctant to buy yet another cookbook, it should be easy to find in the library.)  My copy is dog eared and filled with odd pieces of paper sticking out all over annotating different recipes I’ve tried. Our sausage du jour was Poblano.  It really has a lot going on,… Read More