humble homesteading: heritage breed pigs

IMG_1287 IMG_1288

We’ve done it again.  We now have four happy pigs at the farm.  They are Large Blacks.  We had a hard time finding a heritage breed close to us.

These pictures were taken in the first few days of us having them.  They weren’t used to a hyper lady trying to get up in their faces with a big, black, scary camera yet.  Perhaps they never will warm up to that idea.

If you recall, we’ve done this before.  It was a bit of a nightmare.  We were inexperienced and naive.

I’m not concerned about these guys getting out this time around.  We had quite the time getting our operation under control when we had pigs a couple of years ago.  This was solely due to farmer-error.  I’m not saying we’re experts now, I’m just saying we have a better plan than we had before.

The last plan was to make a pen…the night before I picked up the little devils.  This plan was more along the lines of making an impermeable fortress.  What a difference!

The problem with pigs getting out of their area it that the eat everything.  Dog food, chicken food, goat grain, eggs, jack-o-lanterns- everything.  Seriously, everything.  All things eatable.  That costs us around $20 every time they got out.  Crazy expensive pork.

It was delicious though.

That’s why we have them again.  The suffering and expense was worth it.  The first bacon we had we said aloud, “We’re doin’ this again!”

The farm is filling up again.  I’m so thankful for all we have and do here.  It’s so much work sometimes, but it’s a good sort.

Advertisements

humble homesteading: plans and dreams

IMG_1215

Oh, Winter.  The time here on the farm to make plans for the rest of the year.  We have some grand plans for this year.  Gathering knowledge these past (almost) two years has been beneficial.  We have wanted to jump into everything, but thought it better to bide our time.  We finally have a way to get a beef cow.  We are preparing for honey bees.  The pasture has a plan for expansion for more goats.  The chickens are gearing up for their very own yard.  And (Lord help us) we’re making calls to buy pigs again. Many talks have happened here.  The funding is seeming to come through.  Nick has side jobs one after another.

Our neighbors who have had many head of cattle in the past have offered to host one cow of ours.  This is grand news since we haven’t ventured that far due to fence mending we need to do.  Nick is as happy as a clam.  How ever happy that is.

I’ve read no less than four books cover to cover this week on beekeeping.  I stay fascinated by bees.  They are intriguing creations.  I have a feeling they will teach us all some important lessons.  I’ve made calls to local pros and really honed in on the Africanized Bee dilemma.  I am making plans on the best ways to keep them from invading our future colony.  While they really aren’t as scary as the movies dipict, there are reasons why they can be.  We will be keeping bees on our property.  That calls for extra measures of caution.  Any breed of bee can do damage to people and livestock to the point of death.  This is rare.  It can also be nearly preventable by being observant and educated Apiarists.  I don’t take this topic lightly.

Nick has spent the better part of a particularly restless night planning the expansion of our goat pen.  We want our ladies on pasture as soon as we have the funds for the materials.  We are also getting real serious about keeping another one-two girls this year.  We just never seem to have enough milk between ourselves and customers.  I really want to venture into selling goat milk products (soap, cheese ect) this season.  More milk please!

Bottom line with the chickens– I’m done with them pooping on my porch.  They’re getting a nice big yard this year.  Just last week we were late to the library because a certain tiny girl placed her special box on the porch steps while making her way to the car.  I can’t accurately describe the wailing that ensued when she discover it was covered in chicken poop.  Ahhh, the things you never think of when you start a farm from scratch.

This brings us to the pig talk.  I am semi-confident they won’t get out of their pen this year.  Semi.  We’ve learned not to make definitive statements when it comes to this topic.  The plan is do get 4-5 pigs and sell meat this year.  With all the hub-bub going on about pig illness on the East coast, we think the demand will be good for us.  I’m on the search for Heritage Breeds in our area.  Just pray.  Pigs are all they said to be in movies and books.  Except Wilber.  Wilber was a good pig.

Do you have plans and dreams?  Move forward.  These plans are subject to change depending on the provision and direction of God.  We pray and think plenty before we make plans, however we know who’s running this homestead.  We try to stay humble as we keep that in mind.

farm news

IMG_9829

So much to report here.  First, the hogs are dropped off for processing.  *sigh*

I can’t fully explain how relieving it is to say that.  The (unnamed) pigs were not my favorite.  We have been completely humbled by raising the duo of trouble known only as “girl pig” and “boy pig”.  What an experience.

If ever we thought we could build a strong enough fence from free and re purposed materials…we were wrong.  If ever we thought pigs were “clean” animals…we were wrong.  If ever we thought we could think steps ahead of how they would escape next…they would forget digging and nudging and bust straight through the pen.

Sheesh.

Will we ever raise pigs again?  Yes.  But this time we know all their shenanigans and we’ll be prepared.  At least, we think we will be.

As for chickens…ahhhh.

Coyotes have taken six of them this week.  I really feel like we failed them.  We are in the middle of re enforcing our back fence directly because of this.  For now our once free-ranging chickens are locked safely in the coop where those mangy killers can’t get them.

I am still sad about this, though I’m also a bit surprised it took nine months before this became a problem.

IMG_9865

Lastly, our Nubien does are pregnant, and will be kidding somewhere between the end of May or June.  I cannot wait to have baby goats to love on.  I am also looking forward to the abundance of fresh, raw goat’s milk and cheese.