I See !!
April 29, 2013, 7:36 pm
Filed under: April 2013
John and Me

John and Me

April 29, 2013


My grandson just got new glasses. I think he looks like me..except he has more hair and is much cuter 😮  He can now see better…and so can I … I see the future.

Rain was the order of the day today. Spring work awaits, but it is on hold while the grass gets it’s annual long drink of water. It was a day for working inside and visiting. I met with several friends. That was a great way to use a dreary day. I am as refreshed as the grass…sometimes a pause is as good for the mind, as it is for the body.

Sharing your vision with someone is a great way to check your progress. As you describe your plans and dreams, you get to revisit them yourself. It is a good thing to reset your “time clock” and make sure you are not about to waste time on some trivial pursuit. Stay focused, keep moving forward and work each day to accomplish a goal.

Today, I met with a possible business partner. We share a common goal. We realize that we can help each other without competing with one another. We will both share in each other’s success. This is a wonderful thing and I might have missed it had it not been for a rainy day and the need for some seed oats.

Sometimes good vision comes from opening our minds … as well as our eyes.


Wait For Me Mom!
April 28, 2013, 9:55 am
Filed under: April 2013 | Tags: , ,
Exploring the big world

Exploring the big world

April 28, 2013


The little pigs now run all over. They explore, root through old hay and horse droppings, chase each other and play games of pig tag. It was only last week when the little ones were afraid of everything. They would oink and hide out of sight. If their mothers went for a short walk, they would scamper around grunting their disapproval, or perhaps were just telling mom to wait up!

They are now eating pig feed on their own, eating grass and still nursing. They are growing very well. They explore a little further each day. They are no longer afraid of the cats … or the giant beasts with the iron feet…aka the draft horses 😮

I guess these little guys are just like us. We want to see the world. We want to explore all that it contains, but it is so much better when you can do it all under the watchful eye of a parent! Sure, we act like we can’t stand to have our folks around..but in times of fear or stress, what a  wonderful place to hide ….in their arms or in their heart.

I am at that place in my life where I am the “tribal elder”. I am the one who is expected to have the answers to life’s questions. In most cases I do, but when I hit those low spots of stress or fear…my folks are gone. That is when I remember the Proverb 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him and “He” will make your paths straight.”  That comfort is like no other and it is a free gift. God is great all the time 😮


Chloe meets King
April 26, 2013, 7:52 am
Filed under: April 2013
American Mastiff meets Tea Cup Yorkie

American Mastiff meets Tea Cup Yorkie

April 26, 2013


King tolerates all of my animals, Chloe is no diferent. King knows she belongs here, so he gets along well with the miniature doggie… It’s a good thing too! It is a hoot watching the two of them. The little dog darts around on tiny legs, while King stands pretty still not wanting to step on her. His foot is half the size of her body 😮

I think there is a lesson in King’s behavior for me. He exhibits tolerance without being told. He is welcoming to folks, as long as I am. He greets new babies with quiet assurance. He is steadfast and not aloof. I could use a bit more tolerance now and then, especially when I am tired.

The weatherman says we are about to see some sunny days. I am hoping for a return to spring work. The horses are ready. I am itching to get started and about as ready as I can get. I guess you could say, like King and Chloe … That’s the long and short of it 😮


The Bachelor Pad
April 25, 2013, 9:11 pm
Filed under: April 2013 | Tags: ,
Noah taking a nap

Noah taking a nap

April 25, 2013

Our boar Noah is living in the root-a-tiller for now. We placed it on the feedlot cement, so that he does not dig to China in the soft spring ground. He is living the bachelor life, because his ladies are nursing babies, or in one case, is about to be. I don’t want him bothering the poor mothers, who already have enough to do.

Noah is very well behaved for a mature boar. He is also pretty tame, but he sure is a “pig”. He roots up anything, tips over his food, rolls in his urine and naps all the time. If he wore socks, I am sure he would leave them by the couch 😮 He acts like a single guy who drinks too much and lives in a messy house!

In a week or two, he will be moved to a field to start root-a-tilling the sod strips for a pumpkin patch. This keeps him busy, gets him in shape and gives him a job. Ladies like men who are in shape, have a job and even a hobby to take their minds off of breeding all the time!

Noah will soon be turned out on pasture with three of his most favorite women. They will spend the summer romping in the grass, laying in the sun and shade, wallowing around in the homemade pool and breeding, of course. When autumn gets here, the new babies will be born before the cold winter winds send us all inside.

Noah, for now, gets to lounge around making a mess of himself while the sun and wind dries up our farm. He kind of makes me think of my single days… I am much better off with a job and a hobby too!

Backyard hog keeping
April 24, 2013, 7:50 pm
Filed under: April 2013
Pen of Pork

Pen of Pork

April 24, 2013


A friend of mine asked me, ” What is the best method to raise enough pork for his family on a limited amout of acreage?” I am sharing this photo and post with him and all of you. This portable pen is a cheap, sensible, effective and humane way to raise a couple of pigs for your freezer.

This pen measures eight feet by sixteen feet. It has runners at a two foot spacing underneath. The floor is constructed of treated deck boards. The house part is made from native hardwood boards and roofed with metal roofing.

The pigs have free choice feed and fresh water, access to outside and a nice warm or cool (depending upon the season) place to live. They stay very clean and happy in this arrangement. Their manure and urine fall through the floor of the pen, but it can be collected and composted if desired. The ground below absorbs the droppings, making the whole affair very easy on your nose.

The pigs grow from weaning to slaughter weight in about four months, in this manner. They can be raised any time during the year, but winter watering can be a challange. The rest of the year, this pen is a great labor and time saver. The pigs stay confined until butchering day, yet get daily exercise and a nice bed.

Once the pigs are gone, the pen can be moved ahead the length of the pen. The ground underneath can be prepared for a small garden, a great place to  grow flowers or perhaps just reseeded for lawn…. but the grass will really grow there 😮

The walls of the pen are made from a livestock panel bought at most any farm supply store. The hog feeder is a commercial one that holds about 100 pounds of feed. Water is supplied by a gravity system made from a food grade barrel, a spigot, piece of hose and a hog nipple waterer. As long as the water level in the barrel is higher than the nipple, water flows easily any time the pigs want to drink.

I bed their living quarters with straw, but woodchips, leaves, grass clippings sawdust, or  old hay will work fine just to name a few. They will make a bed from the material and be warm, dry and comfortable. Pigs, when given a choice, will not manure in their bed or near their food. They are the cleanest farm animal. Stinky, poopy pigs are usually the result of the farmer…not the pig.

This, ” pigs on the porch” method is a great way to introduce backyard hog raising to anybody. Everyone benefits, the farmer, the nearby neighbor and most especially … the pig!


April 23, 2013, 4:15 am
Filed under: April 2013
Resting after a day of playing

Resting after a day of playing

April 23, 2013

These little guys were sound asleep in the sunshine when I snuck up and snapped this picture. A few others were out exploring, but these youngsters were all tuckered out. They dozed in the warm sun, soaking up its rays.

The sun feels so good as it warms our skin, especially after a cold winter. I understand why the piglets want to just enjoy every minute of it. I have tried to tell them about sunscreen, but they would rather just roll in mud. These guys however, prefer to snuggle in the straw, cuddled up with their siblings and snooze while the sun warms their little bodies…. I think they have it all figured out 😮


The Introduction
April 22, 2013, 4:02 am
Filed under: April 2013 | Tags:
Two families... getting to know each other

Two families… getting to know each other

April 22, 2013


Yesterday, we put two sows and their babies together. The semi-outdoor space is a good place for them to live. They get sunshine and fresh air in a large covered pen. The piglets get to roam all over our feedlot and an adjoining paddock. They have much to explore while being kept out of harm’s way.

The two mothers are friends, but where family is concerned, you just never know! This meeting went very well. The two moms remembered each other and were soon grunting their approval of one another. The babies were very happy to meet each other.

The babies, seventeen in all, were soon racing and chasing in a game of tag. They rooted around, played and even had little fights, as they got to know each other. Once the moms laid down to nurse … the mob divided while each baby latched on to a dinner plate 😮

It wasn’t long after that until all the little ones were fast asleep in the straw. I can say that the introduction is complete.

Early Spring Gardening
April 21, 2013, 8:51 am
Filed under: April 2013 | Tags: ,
Getting the raised beds ready

Getting the raised beds ready


April 21, 2013

Last year we built these raised beds. They make gardening much easier for my old back. We do have a large conventional garden where we grow the bulk of our food, but these beds are for the low growing labor intensive crops. It was much easier last year, to pick green beans at waist level 😮

Our beds settled from the topsoil and compost we added last year. We are putting another layer of compost on this spring. This “black gold” makes the vegetables almost jump out of the ground. The sun warms the dark soil faster. The nutrient laden compost is full of all the “goodies” the plants need.

These raised beds make it possible to get an early start to the growing season. The soil warms quickly. The beds dry out and can be worked much sooner than the rest of our gardens. After a cold and snowy winter…it is great fun to be planting seeds in the warm ground!

We do supply water to these beds. They tend to dry out quickly, but water added at the root zone, by way of drip irrigation, keeps the plants lush and growing very well. The compost also acts as a bit of a sponge, holding water for the plants. We only add the water when the plants need it. We aim at an inch of water per week by nature or us, but an inch is the magic number.

I have been gardening for quite awhile now. I have experience as to what an inch of rain looks like, but the novice can monitor the moisture in these simple ways; Hang up a rain gage and measure what nature provides. Then take an empty tuna fish can, bury it in the topsoil just under the soaker hose. Water can be added by watching the level in the empty can, just measure it with a ruler.

When I water, I find it much better to add a quarter of an inch four times a week, rather than a good soaking everytime. I do occasionally forget that the hose is running … and boy do I soak t then! It is no problem, plants are forgiving. Just do your best and the plants will do theirs…the rewards are awesome! 😮


Green Green Grass of Home
April 20, 2013, 11:44 pm
Filed under: April 2013 | Tags: ,
Speltz field on the grow!

Speltz field on the grow!

April 20, 2013

The speltz we planted last fall is growing like mad. The recent rains coupled with the warm weather, is making the plants flourish. It is beautiful to look at, as part of the landscape.

The old song Green Green Grass of Home, was one of my mother’s favorites. I like it too. As I get older, it tugs at my heart strings even more. Home is a wonderful place and I am glad to have found mine. I don’t want to ever leave.

Vacations are a nice break from the norm. Many folks like to travel around the world. They enjoy white sandy beaches, the ocean, forested mountains and quaint places. I find those things to be okay, but I like it here. Every day of my life, on this farm, is like vacation for me. I have found my place in the universe… and I like it here 😮

I hope folks who are searching for happiness, someday find what I have found. Oh sure, there are places that I am fond of visiting, places that I have lived and a couple of places I would like to see. There are even a few spots on my wish list, but nothing I have seen or will see, will ever take the place of this one.

I wander field and woodlot making plans and checking progress. I can see my mark here and I like what I see. I have made a positive difference and continue to make slow progress. I move in a sustainable manner, my marks are soft. When I screw up, I fix my mistakes and I teach others as I go.

Yes, it really is good to touch the green green grass of home!


Like Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard
April 19, 2013, 7:11 pm
Filed under: April 2013 | Tags: ,
Woodshed in need of filling!

Woodshed in need of filling!

April 19, 2013

There is just enough wood to heat water for my cleaning. The rest was burnt to boil the maple sap. I am amazed at just how much we used. I have to get busy filling the woodshed back up again…this time, even up into the rafters.

My off-farm job has taxed my time and body in recent days. I have not had time for much farming and even less time for blogging 😮 Now, the weather has taken a turn towards March. Rain was the order of the day today and snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, but… all is well and spring has sprung!

The fields, pastures and fall planted speltz are a lush green color. The kind of color that makes a guy feel good. Hay is getting short, so the promise of green growing grass makes me very happy.

We will ready the plow tomorrow. Very soon the horses and I will be turning sod. First I must pull some logs from a logging job. I will also need to get working on the felled timber in our woods, where the small sugar maples are growing. Always plenty to do and that is just fine with me!

Spring work is upon us and our woodshed that resembles Mother Hubbard’s cupboard at the moment, will soon get filled. I just need a bit of time, a little more ambition and a few days without rain. April showers make May flowers they say. I know this is true and it helps the grass grow too. So rain or shine… we have lots to do 😮