The Prodigal Steer

In the middle of October we bought five yearling Angus-Devon cross cattle – two steers and three heifers.  They were sold at auction for a retiring farmer.  We’ve met the farmer and we know that his cattle program is well aligned with ours.  As a plus the Devons are from the same line as our bull so they are consistently bred toward a thick bodied, easy finishing, rugged phenotype. We could write a few pages on the fiasco that ensued the morning after the cattle arrived, when a steer broke fences and led… Read More

Cattle Proof Water Trough

Update Jan 2016:  We moved the trough and made some plumbing improvements in this follow-up post. Last week we set up a new water trough for the cattle in the area where they’ll be bale grazing this winter.  We started building drinking troughs out of heavy equipment tires two years ago.  Tire tanks are heavy enough to stand up to charging cattle and rooting hogs.  In winter they do freeze, but with the combination of the heat absorption of the black rubber and the insulation provided by their thick sides, they resist freezing… Read More

3rd Annual Pig Roast

Each summer since 2012, we have invited Dave’s family up for a pig roast.  All but the the aged, pregnant, infant or wimpy camp out.  The eight cousins all 9 and younger enjoy getting filthy, shooting arrows and guns and eating all the desserts Grandmom brings. The adults get hungrier and hungrier as the pig roasts. Dave did a great job bringing the pig to a perfect golden brown with crispy skin.                              

Early Spring

Spring is here, and we are all happy to be outside more.  Everything seems to be about preparation this week.  Preparing to send the animals out to pasture, preparing the garden for early crops, gathering the needed fencing and feed and equipment. Our ducks got held up in the mail again and only five were living when they arrived. Allie is their caregiver this year, and she is diligently keeping the last two alive.  We put our two older groups of cattle together without any excitement, and we have been keeping our… Read More

Measuring Up

To determine if a pig is ready for slaughter or to gain an idea of how quickly it is growing, we need to know its weight. The thought of wrestling a pig onto a scale or somehow scooping it up in a sling is humorous, but the method we use is simple. We take its girth and length measurements with a fabric tape.  Using these calculations, we can find out about how much the pig weighs. Dave measures and I record. Recently I took my camera out with me for the amusing… Read More

The Pigs Move In

…to the greenhouse.  Last week, we put the finishing touches on the pigs’ winter quarters. We spread hay in their yard, installed gates and whey troughs, put up chicken roosts and nest boxes. Persuading the pigs to walk up the hill to the new yard took some effort, but they are happy to be inside, and cozy, and enjoying the convenience of whey right outside their front door.

New Fence

Making use of these cool sunny days lately, Dave has been building fences. The pigs have plowed through more pasture than ever, so we are expanding. Dave cleared a strip 40 feet wide through a section of trees and rented a post hole pounder to put in 12 posts, stringing three wires two thirds of the way across our property. Every 50 feet he added a supporting post. For now, the wires measure 6, 12 and 18 inches high, but we can easily add more as our use of the pastures expand… Read More


We have some robins who made a nest in the eaves of the pigs’ portable shade hut. A baby hatched. And the fledgling left the nest. I didn’t have the heart to photograph the mama cat snatching it for her kitten or the parents trying to persuade the cat to let it go.