Living the Good Life
Part of the pig herd enjoying dinner

Part of the pig herd enjoying dinner

November 13, 2015

These hogs have been out on pasture since July 4th. They get supplemented with ear corn, but forage for much of their food. It is no accident that they are in this good condition. I grow red clover and fescue pasture for them. I look after them and nature provides a bounty of nuts and wild apples. I also supplement their feed when needed. The stock is fattened by the eye of the master.

These hogs are, like me, very content. They are not bored. They are not standing in manure or swill. The mud on them is usually because they choose to put it there. They make wallows to cool themselves. They push up leaves and brush to create a warm bed. They snuggle together and slumber. They do root a little, but the damage is usually done to quack grass roots that I want to eradicate anyway!

I think about my livestock often. It is my job to keep them safe and fed. I choose to raise them in a stress free environment. I know that, living with minimal stress is better for all of us. I do many repetitive things. I feed at the same time. I use the same gates. I call the pigs different than the horses. Each specie knows when I am calling them, the rest barely look up. I am resistant to change, much more enjoying the status quo.

In my off farm job, change is constant. On the farm, when an animal leaves, the rest get more room, perhaps a bite more of food. When someone disappears from the workforce, it is unsettling for everyone. The poor person is now looking for work and everyone else gets a bigger share of job duties. They have great names for it like; cost cutting, down sizing, team initiative, lean manufacturing etc….sounds like freezer camp to me…anyway you put it, someone gets axed and the herd goes into disarray. The dynamics change as the next “herd leader” picks out his favorites and beats up the rest 😮

I prefer the order of things. If the axe must fall, it is done humanely. I don’t talk about it for weeks, stir up a rumor mill or threaten the animals with the phrase, “You might be next.”. I do what needs done swiftly. I don’t put on a show and I comfort those left behind. There are many lessons to be learned on a  good farm. I am glad to have learned, listened and watched, but most of all I am glad to have this haven to call home. It truly is what it means to be … Living the good life!

Happy As A Pig In ………. Shhhhhh
June 17, 2015, 1:06 pm
Filed under: June 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
Momma Pig enjoying a day out

Momma Pig enjoying a day out

June 17, 2015

Our sow herd is out on pasture. They seem to love that space. The have several wallows thanks to all of our recent rains. They munch clover and grass while rooting after who knows what. They rest in the shade, lay in the sun and romp and play whenever they want to do it. They feel no stress. They come when I call to eat grain, but mostly they just relax and enjoy the summer breeze as it cools their skin.

I have three mature sows, two bred gilts and a boar in a four acre pasture. The older gals will farrow in a month or so. The young gilts will not have babies until early October. I will let them all have their babies out on pasture. I do give them little hoop houses to use if they choose. Some will use them, but others will make a nest in a spot of their choosing and fill it with baby pigs.

My fences are made from woven wire. The pigs are happy and not hungry. They stay where I put them because there is no reason to break out. When the grass gets short, I move the herd to another field. I give them grain daily, keeping an eye to not get them too fat. Fat mommas are lazy moms who will smash their babies, too lazy to jump up off a squealing piglet. Big moms are okay so long as they are fit. The walking and playing in my pastures helps keep them fit.

I want good healthy sows who give birth to strong healthy piglets. Keeping them in the manner that I do helps to insure this happens. The lack of stress, a clean place to play, eat and sleep also keeps my herd on the right track. I tried yoga once for them, but as close as I got was them all looking at my border collie through the fence… I guess it’s a pig’s version of “Downward facing dog”… 😮

Fall…ing Behind
October 1, 2014, 3:30 pm
Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

Knight,Hoss and Duke enjoy a nice afternoon

Knight,Hoss and Duke enjoy a nice afternoon

October 1, 2014

Wow, it is October already! After a very long month that was September 2014, I am about to enjoy some needed time off from work. The extra shifts are winding down and I am very ready. I missed almost all of those wonderful dry, late September days we just had. Sadly, my speltz are not planted yet, but much of the prep work is done. Looks like a rainy period coming, so I hope to get the seeds in the ground in the next day or so.

Even with lots of extra shifts under my belt, I am pretty much caught up, but without deep drive, I could easily “Fall” behind as autumn closes in. The corn is ripening and the sow herd is enjoying falling nuts and crabapples, along with their grain. I think they enjoy the woodland pasture and fresh air as much as the feed 😮

The leaves on the trees are starting to turn and the chill is in the air. Apple cider and hot tea are my favorite drinks this time of year. Very soon it will be flannel shirt and soup time, talk about the comforts of home…that is it for me! Autumn horse sales are starting and I am resisting…I do not need more horses. (repeat several times a day!)

Folks all around are cutting corn and making silage as the harvest is underway. I will be picking my corn, so I will wait awhile for it to dry down more. Work is everywhere that I look, but so is the beauty of autumn. I vow to stay busy, but take some time to enjoy life as I go and nothing stirs me like fall foliage…unless it is the beauty of SNOW …and that will be here soon too!