New Year
January 1, 2019, 1:11 pm
Filed under: January 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,


January 1, 2019

As last year came to a close, I spent quite a bit of time in the forge shop. I made gifts for many folks. I worked outside of my comfort zone, but had a great time honing my skills.


Elk handle, a farrier’s rasp and some brass pipe allowed me to make this rustic exhibition Bowie knife. A few old railroad spikes were turned into container gardening tools.


I even forged all the pieces to make a small “Hit and Miss” engine toy. A 3/4 block of steel, a piece of pipe, a rivet, a few washers, a block from the toy box and lots of imagination. It brightened the day of a long time collector and made my heart smile.


The flywheels were taken off a broken toy tractor. It was a fun project.

I made hooks and hangers of several types. I made a few tools to help me make the things shown above. This new hobby for me is very relaxing. It pushes my mind and promotes creativity. My hands are happy near the forge and anvil. My body enjoys the warmth on wet, cold winter days.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope your year is filled with the people and things that make you happy.

The Best Laid Plans…
December 31, 2015, 8:40 pm
Filed under: December 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,


December 31, 2015

The best laid plans of mice and men, oft go astray, is a quote by Robert Burns, I believe. I can say, as I look over this past year that was 2015, there were plenty of successes, but a few of my efforts went astray. This young gilt that we named “moo”, thanks to my granddaughter, was to be a great addition to our sow herd.

She was out of one of my best mothers. She was born on a sub zero night and has real survivor instinct. She has great confirmation, as well as, fourteen teats. She was a shoo in for the job of mom…or so I thought. I fed and cared for her for eleven months. I put up with her sometimes negative attitude. I tolerated her indifference to the other hogs along with her general aloofness.

She finally had her piglets three days ago. She made a nice nest, in the pattern of her awesome mom. I was so sure of her ability, that I only checked her a few times. It turns out, she is one of the worst mothers that I have raised in twenty-five years! She only had three piglets. She stepped on one and wouldn’t move despite his squealing. The other two, she laid on in the night and flattened the life out of them 😦

Her appointment for freezer camp is coming right up. She had the best of everything. She was content, well fed and happy. She just hates being a mom I guess. I watched her with her two surviving babies. She wouldn’t push them out of the way with her snout. She didn’t grunt little pig noises to them. Quite frankly, she paid them almost no attention what-so-ever.

I put up a cautionary rail to protect the little ones. I made sure they were warm, well bedded and dry. I did all that I could, but “Moo” simply was not cut out for “natural pig birth”. I don’t use farrowing crates or intense confinement pens. The sows, selected from many years of good mothering genetics, make nests then have, love and protect their babies until weaning. “Moo” failed miserably.

In times like that, I question my ability as a farmer. I rethink everything that happened. I look for places where I screwed up. In this case, it wasn’t me. She did everything right…except for nurturing. She hated that part. I have zero tolerance for this type of behavior, not to mention the negative effect to the farm’s bottom line due to her indifference.

So, on New Years day when we celebrate with sauerkraut and pork, I shall chew and swallow my pride with every bite. Ms. Moo reminded me that some pigs are destined to be sausage… I just wish that I would have culled her sooner. Hindsight really is a wonderful thing!

This experience will leave a rough spot on my year that went pretty smooth, but just one. The rest of the year goes down as a good one. We have much to celebrate and many good memories to reflect upon. So we say goodbye 2015 and Happy New year 2016.