Winter White
January 15, 2018, 6:54 pm
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January 15, 2018

Today, the calves were having a ball, running all over the feedlot. The snow covered lot actually looks great. I scraped everything clean thanks to last week’s warm-up. The slush and manure was like cleaning up applesauce, but I did manage to get it all cleaned up. That was one job I was very happy to complete.

The manure collected will compost along with the daily horse droppings and bedding. It takes a while because the cold weather slows down the rotting process. I’m fine with it because the reward of the compost is worth the wait. I also like the look of the feedlot clean and currently covered in a blanket of white!

The cows are not paying much attention to this cold winter weather. They are fed, bedded and content to just chew their cud and wait for spring. Perhaps there is wisdom in what the cows do. The young ones run and play. The rest of the herd simply takes it all in stride. There is much to be said for a full belly and a warm bed. Watching the snow pile up is just a bonus I guess.


It’s Kind Of Like This!
December 15, 2017, 6:35 pm
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December 15, 2017

Snow on the ground, snow piled up and more snow falling. I think winter is here. Christmas is just around the corner. My birthday for another year has come and gone. Work on the farm is greatly reduced, mostly made up of animal care. Those jobs are my most favorite.

I am still pretty much housebound due to knee replacement surgery, but walking in the barn at the end of the day, listening to my animals chew, is great therapy. These creatures who depend upon us, complete my life. The snow is falling, yet all the animals are well fed, warm and dry. This farmer has a warm grateful heart to all of the folks helping to make their comfort possible.

Soon, I will be back in usual form, pitchfork in hand. I will say, it will be a good trade for the cane I’ve been using. In any case, my recovery is made much easier, by breathing on my four-legged friends, on this dark and snowy night. Yep, it’s kind of a day like that!

New arrivals


December 22, 2016

A hush fell on the night. The pig barn was quiet. Only the sound of munching pigs and fluffing straw filled the air. All except, that is, the soft grunts of a mother pig giving birth. I swept the feed aisle and offered a bit more straw to the pigs in their pens. I went about my usual business of doing chores, not disturbing the busy momma.

I found out long ago, keeping to the regular duties of chore time and keeping the status quo, keeps everybody calm. It is times like these that pay big dividends to regularity. Even the dog watching the sow, had no effect on her. The squealing pigs waiting impatiently for their dinner, is just part of the routine. The mother pig stays focused on her delivery job. I finished chores, made sure the barn was closed up from the cold winds then went to the house.

I checked on the mother pig later by looking through the window. I leave a light on making it easy to see into the barn. The mother and babies were snug in a warm straw nest. The piglets latched on and nursing were fast asleep. The mother sow also sleeping sound, tired from her big job. Satisfied, I went to bed myself.

This mother was selected from a long line of females. I have been breeding this lineage since 1986. I need mothers that will farrow on pasture or in warm winter nests … all by themselves. This is the way it was done long ago when pigs were bred for good mothering along with rate of gain. Today’s modern pig is raised with lean muscle in mind, most other qualities are secondary at best. So piglets are born in crates, where nervous mothers can barely move to keep them from laying on their piglets or even eating them!

Yes, having a pig herd such as mine requires more of my time than the standard commercial way of confined feedlot growing. My pigs are raised on pasture or in roomy pens in a barn when the winter weather forces us inside. Their pens are cleaned and their bellies are full. They are not left to walk in a swill of manure or lay on cold, wet, manure covered concrete.

The big shots say that farmers like me can not feed the world because of inefficiency. I say “Hogwash!”. There are plenty of want to be farmers who would take good care of their stock as I do. It’s just that when the mainstream way of raising pigs sucks every ounce of profit out of this noble profession. It can and will turn around, but it will take consumers demanding a better way. Once we force the big shots to produce food as good animal husbandrymen, there will be room for other farmers and a return to common sense where the animals are concerned.

The drawback will be that our food will cost a little more. It will have more flavor and perhaps even be much better for us, but it will increase prices. Our food in America is very cheap when compared to other places in the world, but that cheapness comes at a price. Small farmers get pushed out of farming and animals become regarded as “things” not living, breathing creatures which we have been given dominion over. For me, dominion means care… and I do.

The Eye of the Beholder
October 3, 2015, 12:53 pm
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October 3, 2015

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. I guess that is true, because each person has their own idea of beauty. I see my horses head, the honesty in his eye, the trust in his demeanor and I am overcome by his beauty.I have owned this guy since he was just a few weeks old. He and I are friends. I take good care of him. He in turn will do almost anything that I ask.

Two summers ago, Knight walked into the roof of one of my pasture pig shelters. (I have since made design changes and keep horses and sheds far apart) The edge of the roof cut my buddy right across his chest. He had a gaping wound eight inches across. It was gapped open enough that my whole fist would fit into the cut. He acted as if he didn’t feel a thing. I, on the other hand, was scared to death.

We made an emergency trip to the veterinarian’s office. They told me the surgery needs would be much easier to do there, than here on the farm. We sped over to the vet’s place. Upon arriving, we found the restraint pen the vet had was way to small for my very large friend. The vet was a bit worried about the procedure and the lack of ability to restrain the animal. I reassured the vet that all would be well, as long as I was at the horse’s head.

I put him in the pipe stall. It was wide enough, just way too short. I calmed Knight with my voice and hand. The vet numbed the cut with several shots. My horse’s eye got a little big. The white showed for just a second or two, but he did not move. He kept his eyes locked on me. At times he would put his muzzle on my shoulder, but he did not make a fuss of any kind. I talked to him softly, just as I have any time some “monster” scares him like a tarp, plastic bag or child in a nylon snowsuit. He stood still, waiting on me to tell him what to do next. My veterinarian remarked, “That horse really trusts you. I can’t hardly believe what I am seeing.”

The vet finished in about an hour. Two drains were installed in his cut and many stitches to close the wound. It was an ugly thing to see, but much better than the bloody, gaping wound it had once been. I began daily care of that awful wound. The care lasted more than three months. Wound dressing, rest, daily bathing of the area and a whole lot of praise and it healed. It healed to the point that there are just a few white hairs to show the scar, no bump, no indent, just those white hairs. I am so very pleased, it is hard to describe.

Knight and I have always been close, but our bonding over his wound is like no other. He comes to me wherever I am. He listens to me anytime and he stays calm always. Calm is a great thing for an animal this large and powerful. It is not only a great thing….it is a beautiful thing 😮

The Whole World is a Playground!
July 15, 2014, 7:38 am
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Our Goats

Our Goats

July 15, 2014

Goats have a party everywhere they go. Their upbeat, positive attitude is hard to miss. They are happy to see everyone they meet and look for the good in everything they do. Of course “good” to a goat may not be so “good” to us humans.

Goats love flowers and any plant tended by man. They can jump onto the roof of a car in one leap. They are awesome manure spreaders and will leave their poop pellets everywhere they go, especially in buildings and on the back patio. They love children, I guess to a goat, small people are just … kids 😮

There is a lesson to be learned from the goats. No, I’m not talking about destroying flower beds or jumping on cars. I also cannot condone pooping on someone’s patio, but finding fun and excitement everywhere you go…. Now, that is a lesson!

We humans get too wrapped up in the stresses of life. We need to relax. We need to look for, and find, fun more often. If you can’t find some exciting pastime, then like the one goat in the photo, just plop down and rest. Yes, animals in good care, have it made. You can see contentment by just looking at them. Goats, well they are the ultimate party goers…if they can’t find one…they make it!