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.
It should have been simple. All we needed to do was open the gate of the pig’s winter quarters and let all but 5 out into a lane that led down to the prepared pasture. We began the process a little after 8, took a break to give a tour for a family who came to pick up some meat, and then ploughed on. We were tired, sore, thirsty and ready for lunch when we got in a bit after 3 0’clock that afternoon. It was quickly evident that I couldn’t carry… Read More
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
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 world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be strung. –Emerson Let me show you a few of the gates we have constructed. Still round the corner there may wait A new road or a secret gate. –JRRT
…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.
With the first frosts behind us, we are making the transition from summer routines to winter preparation. We are butchering lambs, pigs and cattle this month, wrapping up our food processing and building the winter pig housing. The first year, we built a hoop house in our garden area, but I failed to get a picture of it. The second year, Dave built a dugout. This year, we are constructing a green house. Dave laid out the concrete blocks as a base. We attempted to raise the ribs with a crane, …. Read More
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
A friend asked yesterday if I would map out a typical day in the life of our farm. Each season has a different rhythm; I enjoy summer’s most. Getting up with the sun, working in the garden, seeing fantastic looking bugs, finding some new flower in the fields, feeling the cool breeze blowing up the hill, watching the piglets snuffle for food, the pigs wallow in the mud, the cows waiting for their new paddock, the sheep running along beside the four wheeler, and the chickens chasing bugs or stealing scraps from… 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.