Readying the Field

This last week has been pret­ty bru­tal­ly hot, sun­ny and humid — it’s sum­mer time! It feels good to be dirty and sweaty after so many months of star­ing out at the field waiting.

At the same time, I’m real­iz­ing that I should have worked a lit­tle hard­er to get myself in shape this win­ter.    We laid down black plas­tic mulch the oth­er day over the bot­tom 6 rows in the gar­den. That’s where we’re plan­ning on plant­i­ng the toma­toes, pep­per and egg­plants, and the black plas­tic warms up the soil and sup­press­es weeds. After a full day of bend­ing, stand­ing and squat­ting my legs were screaming.

The black lines along the rows are drip tape, part of the irri­ga­tion sys­tem we bought at Brook­dale Farm in New Hamp­shire. Each row has a line of tape that will slow­ly drip water through­out the day. They all con­nect at the end of the rows to a main line that we’ll run down the side of the field and will hook up to a gar­den hose. This sys­tem uses much less water than hand water­ing would and will save us a lot of time  and effort.

Rolling out the plas­tic mulch
We dug a trench and buried it on either side of the row
Notice the drip tape lines going under the plastic
Mean­while, our toma­to, pep­per and egg­plants are hard­en­ing off out­side, get­ting ready to be plant­ed tomor­row. We’ll just cut a hole through the plas­tic and put them in the ground. It’s good they’re going in the ground, they’ve got­ten real­ly big.

Hooray, we have a field!

It took two days but the fields are all laid out and we’re going to start plant­i­ng tomorrow!

We made 30 inch rows  (so we can work in them and step over them eas­i­ly) and 16 inch walk­ways (16″ because that was the size of our biggest rake). The rows curve with the topog­ra­phy of the land because there’s a pret­ty sig­nif­i­cant slope and we want to catch as much water as pos­si­ble as it flows down­hill. If the rows were straight, a lot of water would just col­lect in the paths and flow down into the wet area in the mid­dle of the field, but this way the water will col­lect against the beds and fil­ter slow­ly through.
We used a cou­ple dif­fer­ent meth­ods for rak­ing the dirt, every­one had their favorite ways to do it, but basi­cal­ly we laid out the 30 inch beds using a home­made “scrib­ing tool” (basi­cal­ly a cou­ple of stakes drilled onto a piece of wood 30″ apart)
and then we pro­ceed­ed to alter­nate between rak­ing up the dirt on either side and rak­ing it down the mid­dle to cre­ate path­ways. It was pret­ty exhaust­ing dirty work, but also very sat­is­fy­ing, the gar­den is final­ly com­ing togeth­er and it’s so nice to be out­side in the sun! We all got sunburnt.
In a cou­ple of the walk­ways we put down card­board and straw to keep down the weeds and cre­ate a path. The card­board we’ve been get­ting from super­mar­ket pro­duce box­es and from a bike shop in Con­cord (bikes come in big card­board box­es). It’s going to be pret­ty hard to col­lect enough card­board to put down on these rows, how­ev­er, so we’re going to plant some in clover instead.
Our Aer­i­al Shot: from on top of the lum­ber racks on the back of Dav­e’s pickup
The bot­tom cor­ner is going to become one big tri­an­gu­lar bed, prob­a­bly for cucumbers.
It’s been a long cou­ple of days but we can final­ly start planting!

New House for the Pigs

I recent­ly com­plet­ed the pig’s new shel­ter for when they are relo­cat­ed onto pas­ture. I knew that I want­ed to build a sim­ple A‑frame for them, so I looked around online and found some plans from an exten­sion ser­vice from the 60s. This is a very clas­sic design. The only dif­fer­ence is that the plans called for doors, but I decid­ed not to add them because it just does­n’t seem nec­es­sary. My pigs won’t be around in the win­ter and if at some point I do keep pigs over win­ter, they prob­a­bly wont be out on pas­ture any­way. This is sim­ply the pig’s sum­mer home.

My goal was to build the house as inex­pen­sive­ly as pos­si­ble and to use as many free/recycled mate­ri­als as I could find. At first I thought it was going to be dif­fi­cult to get what I need­ed for free since its all dimen­sion­al lum­ber and sheet goods, but it worked out pret­ty well. After a some­what awk­ward con­ver­sa­tion with the lum­ber­yard man­ag­er at Lit­tle­ton Lum­ber, they took me around back and fork­lift­ed down a huge stack of 2x4s and 2x6s for me. They were all recy­cled and had lots of nail holes and some sta­ples in them. And they were pret­ty twist­ed and checked, but there were a lot of long lengths, a bunch of 16′ and 12’ers. So I said thank you very much and took the whole stack.
I had 5 sheets of Tex­ture 1–11 ply­wood which were left over from some project. I found them in the garage and I have no idea how they got there. Tex­ture 1–11 is ply­wood that some­what resem­bles barn boards. Its kind of hokey stuff, but it was free and for this pur­pose it actu­al­ly was per­fect. It looks nicer than nor­mal exte­ri­or ply­wood at least.
I was real­ly hap­py with how effi­cient­ly I was able to use my mate­ri­als. I used all 5 sheets of the tex­ture 1–11, with very lit­tle scrap left over. The tri­an­gu­lar­ly shaped sec­tions in the pic above were all cut out from one 8′ long strip. The only mate­ri­als that I end­ed up buy­ing were:
(2) pres­sure treat­ed 4x4s (for skids)
(2) 4x8 sheets 3/4″ exte­ri­or grade ply­wood (for the floor)
(1) gal­va­nized steel ridge roll
screws, glue, and paint
All togeth­er, I don’t think I spent more than $150.
All the fram­ing I did with dry­wall screws and then I attached the ply­wood to the frame with glue and nails (using my new fin­ish nail­er). I found this glue that Tite­bond makes called Interior/Exterior Wood Con­struc­tion Adhe­sive which I real­ly liked. You apply it with a caulk gun so its great for these projects when you need to get a lot of glue on quickly.
I took an old can of paint from when the barn was re-paint­ed and got it cloned so the pig house match­es all the outbuildings.
I drilled through the skids and installed a loop of chain with 1/2″ hex bolts so that the house can quick­ly be hooked up to the trac­tor. The house will be mov­ing every month or so with the pigs as they are rotat­ed through the pasture.
And here it is, all the way out at the end of the field! I can’t wait to get the pigs out there. I will be set­ting up the fenc­ing tomor­row, so hope­ful­ly I’ll be mov­ing the pigs in a few days.

Wendell Berry Passage

Eric Gill sees in this indus­tri­al dis­mem­ber­ment of labor a cru­cial dis­tinc­tion between mak­ing and doing, and he describes ‘the degra­da­tion of the mind’ that is the result of the shift from mak­ing to doing. This degra­da­tion of the mind can­not, of course, be with­out con­se­quences. One obvi­ous con­se­quence is the degra­da­tion of prod­ucts. When work­ers’ minds are degrad­ed by loss of respon­si­bil­i­ty for what is being made, they can­not use judg­ment; they have no use for their crit­i­cal fac­ul­ties; they have no occa­sions for the exer­cise of work­man­ship, of work­man­ly pride. And the con­sumer is degrad­ed by loss of oppor­tu­ni­ty for qual­i­ta­tive choice. This is why we must now buy our clothes and imme­di­ate­ly re-sew the but­tons; it is why our expen­sive pur­chas­es quick­ly become junk.

With indus­tri­al­iza­tion has come a gen­er­al depre­ci­a­tion of work. As the pice of work has gone up, the val­ue of it has gone down, until it is now so depressed that peo­ple sim­ply do not want to do it any­more. We can say with­out exag­ger­a­tion that the present nation­al ambi­tion of the Unit­ed States is unem­ploy­ment. Peo­ple live for quit­ting time, for week­ends, for vaca­tions and for retire­ment; more­over, this ambi­tion seems to be class­less, as true in the exec­u­tive suites as on the assem­bly lines. One works not because the work is nec­es­sary, valu­able, use­ful to a desir­able end, or because one loves to do it, but only to be able to quit — a con­di­tion that a san­er time would regard as infer­nal, a con­dem­na­tion. This is explained, of course, by the dull­ness of the work, by the loss of respon­si­bil­i­ty for, or cred­it for, or knowl­edge of the thing made. What can be the sta­tus of the work­ing small farmer in a nation whose mot­to is a sigh of relief: “Thank God it’s Friday”?

But there is an even more impor­tant con­se­quence: By the dis­mem­ber­ment of work, by the degra­da­tion of our minds as work­ers, we are denied our high­est call­ing, for, as Gill says, ‘every man is called to give love to the work of his hands. Every man is called to be an artist’ (Gill, A Holy Con­di­tion of Work­ing). The small fam­i­ly farm is one of the last places — they are get­ting rar­er every day — where men and women (and girls and boys, too) can answer that call to be an artist, to learn to give love to the work of their hands. It is one of the last places where the mak­er — and some farm­ers sill do talk about ‘mak­ing the crops’ — is respon­si­ble, from start to fin­ish, for the thing made. This cer­tain­ly has a spir­i­tu­al val­ue, but it is not for that rea­son an imprac­ti­cal or uneco­nom­ic one. In fact, from the exer­cise of this respon­si­bil­i­ty, this giv­ing of love to the work of the hands, the farmer, the farm, the con­sumer, and the nation all stand to gain in the most prac­ti­cal was: They gain the means of life, the good­ness of food, and the longevi­ty and depend­abil­i­ty of the sources of food, both nat­ur­al and cul­tur­al. The prop­er answer to the spir­i­tu­al call­ing becomes, in turn, the prop­er ful­fill­ment of phys­i­cal need.”

– Wen­dell Berry, A Defense of the Fam­i­ly Farm

Rainy Week

Those of you who live in the Mass­a­chu­setts area can prob­a­bly empathize with me when I say that this past week has been the absolute worst.

We woke up on Mon­day morn­ing and real­ized almost imme­di­ate­ly that there was no way we were going to be able to per­form the final till on Wednes­day, it was cold, rainy and drea­ry and — accord­ing to the weath­er report — there was no end in sight. Nat­u­ral­ly, this real­iza­tion was fol­lowed by a cou­ple hours of mop­ing, fin­ger-point­ing and rock-kick­ing. Why had­n’t we paid atten­tion to the weath­er report and tilled on Fri­day when it was still sun­ny and dry? What were we going to do all week in the mud and the rain? Was our sum­mer har­vest ruined by one poor deci­sion? Was it a poor deci­sion? What was worse, to till too soon and face the weeds or to be plant­i­ng our field at the very end of May? And what to do with all those crazy two month old toma­to plants over­run­ning the greenhouse????
Well I’m writ­ing now to say, we did it! We slogged through the mud­dy, rainy week and now we’re pulling our­selves out the oth­er side alive and well (except for a cou­ple of chick­ens — but that’s a sto­ry for anoth­er post). We plant­ed some more in the kitchen gar­den, did some Spring clean­ing, built a shel­ter for the pigs and got the toma­to plants out­side where they’re hard­en­ing off. Now we’re glued to the weath­er report  hop­ing it’s going to dry out in the next cou­ple of days so we can get our fields up and run­ning and our trans­plants in the ground. Who knows if we made the “right” deci­sion, or if there even is a “right” deci­sion, but we’re forg­ing ahead.
And as the weath­er improves, so do our moods. I see sun so I’ve got to get out­side, but here are some pictures.
We’re using a cou­ple emp­ty raised beds to keep toma­to plants out­side. We have wire hoops ready if we need to tarp them against the cold at night.
Flower trans­plants
Build­ing the pig shelter

Fencing Plot

Here is the plot I made for our elec­tric fenc­ing. I mea­sured all the dis­tances with a 200′ tape mea­sure and marked trees that I could use as posts with orange tape as I went. Then, I over­laid this plan onto an exist­ing map of the prop­er­ty that I have.

I for­got to put on the map that the size of the small field is 100’x50’. I sent this into Wellscroft and I’m wait­ing to hear back on a quote.


The days are get­ting busier and busier. i can’t believe we’re only one week from plant­i­ng the fields! In the mean­time, we’ve been plant­i­ng the kitchen gar­den and putting in berry patch­es. We ordered 12 rasp­ber­ries plants, 6 black­ber­ry plants and about 60 straw­ber­ry plants. They all came dor­mant and bare-root­ed, wrapped in plas­tic. The rasp­ber­ry and black­ber­ry plants basi­cal­ly looked like lit­tle sticks with roots on them.

It’s nice to have a rea­son to be hap­py about rainy, cloudy days this spring. It’s much bet­ter for the plants  to trans­fer them when it’s wet and over­cast. Luck­i­ly, Tues­day morn­ing, when Mom and I plant­ed the berry patch, was pret­ty gloomy. First, we mea­sured out a spot for them between the dri­ve way and the tilled fields. Our berry patch is 24′ x 9′. We have 3 rows of rasp­ber­ries 6′ apart (4 plants each) and 2 rows of black­ber­ries (3 plants each). Each plant is 3′ apart. We plant­ed them right into the ground, sur­round­ing each bush/stick with a cou­ple good shov­el-fulls of com­post. Next, we took card­board and cov­ered the ground all around the plants to smoth­er the grass and weeds. Mom’s been going to a bike shop and pick­ing up card­board box­es for the last cou­ple of months, so we have a lot of big card­board box­es saved up in the garage. We laid down com­post around the rows of plants and wood-chips (free, from some tree guys that were chip­ping logs up the street) down on the paths.

Card­board, com­post and chips

Then we plant­ed the straw­ber­ry plants in the com­post between the black­ber­ry and rasp­ber­ries bushes.

We’ve since had to put up tem­po­rary fenc­ing around the perime­ter to keep the dogs from chew­ing on the black­ber­ry and rasp­ber­ry sticks/bushes.
Unfor­tu­nate­ly we prob­a­bly won’t get any straw­ber­ries this year but we should have rasp­ber­ries and black­ber­ries by the fall! We have also plant­ed 10 blue­ber­ry bush­es in the wet area between our two fields.
Zen Moment:

There’s more than one way to fence a pig

Hel­lo, blog read­ers. This is my first blog post ever. Gal­lagher has been threat­en­ing to rescind my abil­i­ty to post for months, but I final­ly did it! Hope­ful­ly, I will get used to this and be a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor in the future.

On Sat­ur­day I went to a fenc­ing clin­ic at Wellscroft Farm in south­ern New Hamp­shire. There they oper­ate both a work­ing live­stock farm and and a fenc­ing com­pa­ny called Wellscroft Fenc­ing Sys­tems. They are very nice, very help­ful, and extreme­ly knowl­edge­able peo­ple. The own­er, David Ken­nard, in addi­tion to being a full time farmer and board­er col­lie breeder/trainer, is also the self-pro­claimed “Portable Net Fenc­ing KING of New Eng­land.” It was a great clin­ic and I learned A LOT about fenc­ing in one day.  When I told peo­ple I was going to an elec­tric fenc­ing clin­ic 1 1/2 hours away from the farm, the reac­tions were some­what mixed. Most peo­ple were sup­port­ive, but some basi­cal­ly said, “why would you need to go to a clin­ic?” I am an elec­tri­cian after all (albeit not a licensed one), and there­fore the assump­tion is that I should be able to hook a stu­pid wire up to a fence and not elec­tro­cute myself too bad­ly in the process. How hard could it be? This is some­what true. The answer is that I did not go to the clin­ic to learn how a fence ener­giz­er works, or what the dif­fer­ence between volt­age and amper­age is. I luck­i­ly already under­stand these con­cepts. What makes fenc­ing com­pli­cat­ed and worth learn­ing about, for me, is that there are so many dif­fer­ent options and vari­a­tions, so many ways to do it. And believe me, its very con­fus­ing and frus­trat­ing to design a fenc­ing sys­tem if you have no expe­ri­ence with it. My rea­son for going to the clin­ic was to deter­mine the best, most effi­cient (both in terms of work and cost) method for fenc­ing my pigs and specif­i­cal­ly what equip­ment I would need. I fig­ured it would be easy one stop shop­ping. I’d sit and lis­ten to a lit­tle sales pitch, ask some ques­tions, and buy what I needed.

The clin­ic was sur­pris­ing­ly well attended—around 100 peo­ple showed up at 8:30 for cof­fee and donuts, fol­lowed by a fast paced talk by David Ken­nard on the basics of elec­tric fenc­ing. In 2 ½ hours he cov­ered how fence ener­giz­ers work, the dif­fer­ent types of ener­giz­ers (AC, bat­tery, solar), ground­ing tech­niques, light­ning pro­tec­tion, mon­i­tor­ing volt­age and trou­bleshoot­ing, train­ing ani­mals to the fence, dif­fer­ent types of elec­tric fenc­ing (per­ma­nent, semi-per­ma­nent, and portable), and much more. 

A few things that I took away from this talk:

  • Ener­giz­er all have the same basic inter­nal com­po­nents in that they all run off DC (direct cur­rent, e.g. bat­ter­ies) pow­er. The AC (alter­nat­ing cur­rent, e.g. an out­let in your home) mod­els sim­ply have a rec­ti­fi­er built in and the solar mod­els are sim­ply DC bat­tery pow­ered units that have solar pan­els attached to to them. Many of the mod­els can run off of AC or DC right out of the box. If you want to run it off a bat­tery, you just need to buy a 12v deep cycle marine or reg­u­lar car bat­tery. If you want to run it solar, you need to buy a bat­tery and a solar pan­el.

  • Ani­mals need to be trained to the fence. The best way to do this is to set up the elec­tric fence inside of an exist­ing per­ma­nent fence or pen. Then you bait the fence leav­ing some grain or oth­er food right on the oth­er side of it. Once the ani­mal gets a shock they will not test it again. It is espe­cial­ly impor­tant with pigs to train them with a wood­en or wire fence behind the elec­tric fence because pigs, unlike oth­er ani­mals, will often charge through the elec­tric fence the first time they get a shock.

  • Ground­ing is extreme­ly impor­tant. If your fence, clogged with weeds and grass, is a bet­ter ground than your actu­al ground rod, then you have a prob­lem. The fence must be clean and you need at least one 4′ long gal­va­nized steel ground rod dri­ven, prefer­ably into damp soil. The wet­ter the bet­ter. You can even ground straight into a pond if you have one near­by. Addi­tion­al ground rods can be added as need­ed, but must be 10′ apart. And final­ly, all ground rods for your fence must me more than 30′ from your util­i­ty ground, or you will get elec­tri­cal inter­fer­ence on your 120v sys­tem.

  • If you need to ground a portable sys­tem quick­ly, and don’t want to dri­ve a rod 4′ into the ground, you can take a sec­tion of fence or of wire mesh, attach your ground wire to it, and then just throw it down flat on the grass. Just make sure not to touch it once the sys­tem is on. 

After the talk, we took a tour of the farm and David showed us all of the dif­fer­ent types of fenc­ing in action. This was extreme­ly help­ful because it became more and more clear how ben­e­fi­cial elec­tric fenc­ing can be when it is set up exten­sive­ly as a sys­tem to con­trol the entire farm. David talked a lot about rota­tion­al graz­ing and how he has designed his fenc­ing sys­tem with this mod­el in mind. Rota­tion­al graz­ing is so impor­tant in any sus­tain­able live­stock mod­el, and portable fenc­ing is what makes it pos­si­ble, both in terms of cost and labor, for small and large pro­duc­ers alike. 

Inten­sive rota­tion­al graz­ing (IRG) is a pas­ture man­age­ment tech­nique that results in high­ly effi­cient usage of pas­ture as for­age as well as restora­tion of nutri­ents to the soil and an increased bio­mass. Graz­ing ani­mals are con­fined to a sec­tion of pas­ture for a brief peri­od of time (the area and time are depen­dent on the type and num­ber of graz­ers) while the oth­er sec­tions of pas­ture are allowed to rest. The idea is to find the right ratio of graz­ers to pas­ture size so that the for­age is con­sumed at an even rate and the manure is even­ly spread. If you put 5 pigs on an acre of land, then they are going to poop in one spot, eat some grass here and there, root up some spots here, and maybe not even touch some areas. But if you take those pigs and you put them in a 1/4 acre or even small­er, then they will start to graze, root, and spread their manure more evenly. 

After the pas­ture is exhaust­ed (but not destroyed), the ani­mals are moved to anoth­er sec­tion and the pre­vi­ous sec­tion is allowed to recov­er. The ani­mals are pro­vid­ed with unlim­it­ed fresh for­age. The manure begins to break down and seep into the soil prov­ing it with nutri­ents nec­es­sary to regrow. And if the tim­ing is right, this process keeps going on and on. Its real­ly a beau­ti­ful thing. 

This sys­tem work with any rumi­nants or non-rumi­nants that can get a por­tion of their diet from for­age. And it works espe­cial­ly well when you bring more than one type of ani­mal into play. One of my favorite farm­ers, Joel Salatin, is the mas­ter of find­ing ways to achieve sym­bio­sis on the farm, to have every­thing play its part and in doing so cre­ate a closed loop. After his cows have exhaust­ed a sec­tion of pas­ture, they move on to anoth­er and he moves his lay­ing hens onto the grazed down land. The lay­ing hens for­age for what­ev­er is left and also pick apart the fresh cow pat­ties look­ing for the insects that are already hatch­ing inside them. This breaks the manure down so it can leech into the field more efficiently. 


pigs enclosed in a small pad­dock using pig netting

For our 4 pigs, we have about an acre of pas­ture and prob­a­bly 1 1/2 acres of woods. The plan that I have come up with after attend­ing the clin­ic is to sur­round the entire area with a perime­ter fence and then use net fenc­ing specif­i­cal­ly designed for pigs to seg­ment it off into pad­docks. The perime­ter fence could and prob­a­bly should be per­ma­nent fenc­ing, ide­al­ly high ten­sile wire, but I don’t have the mon­ey for that. So I am going to install a semi-per­ma­nent fence using 2–3 strands of poly rope and I am going to run it through the woods using as many trees as pos­si­ble as posts. The perime­ter fence will run through the woods and then across the back of the pas­ture, through anoth­er sec­tion of woods and then back along the tree line, cre­at­ing a big U shape. I will then use one or two lines of pig net­ting to cre­ate a nar­row slice con­tain­ing pas­ture and woods that will be about ¼ acre total. The best thing about cre­at­ing the perime­ter fence is that it becomes my pow­er source. I can put the ener­giz­er at the begin­ning of the fence, which is close enough to an out­let to run it off AC, and then it will run all the way out though the woods to the far end of the field. So, when I set up my pig net­ting, all I need to do is clip it onto the perime­ter fence and it is ready to go. I will post a map of the fenc­ing plan soon. 


We are con­sid­er­ing using elec­tric fenc­ing for the veg­etable fields as well. We need to keep both small crit­ters and deer out, so the plan is to use a 30” tall gar­den net­ting for the crit­ters and then run 2 strands of elec­tric tape above it to keep out deer. Small ani­mals will not dig under elec­tric fenc­ing like they will under con­ven­tion­al wire fences because their first instinct is to test the fence before dig­ging. Since I am already buy­ing the fence ener­giz­er for the pigs, the cost of buy­ing the fenc­ing for the gar­den will cer­tain­ly be cheap­er than putting in a per­ma­nent fence and it comes with the added ben­e­fit of being able to take it down in the fall if we need to plow again. 

Welcome Home Piglets!

Well, I’m hap­py to report that the doxy­cy­cline seems to be doing it’s job and this week is promis­ing to be much bet­ter than the last one.

Just in time too, because we had four lit­tle piglets wait­ing for us in New Hamp­shire. Yes­ter­day morn­ing Dave put the fin­ish­ing touch­es on our piglet pen, we packed a cou­ple sand­wich­es (and some of Bec­ca Chap­man’s famous oat­meal wal­nut pecan cook­ies), threw a cou­ple of old large dog crates in the back of the truck and pre­pared to make the trip north.

I made their bed for them
Dav­e’s Pig Trough
This pen used to belong to Wilbur, the Viet­namese Pot-bel­lied pig. But since he’s decid­ed he’s more com­fort­able in the barn, it seemed like the per­fect place to keep our pig­gies for the first cou­ple weeks that they’re here before we’re ready to put them out to pasture.
After a beau­ti­ful two hour dri­ve we arrived in Bath, NH, home to Clin­ton and his pig farm. We’ve emailed back and forth with a num­ber of dif­fer­ent poten­tial piglet sell­ers in the last cou­ple of months, some much clos­er to us than North­ern New Hamp­shire, but Clin­ton had impressed us both with his knowl­edge and his love of pigs. His barn con­tains tons of mama pigs and their lit­ters, and they all seem very hap­py and healthy. Clin­ton was hon­est, straight-for­ward and full of infor­ma­tion. In addi­tion, the piglets that we received had already been wormed and cas­trat­ed, and were guar­an­teed not to die (he promised to replace them if they did).
Clin­ton’s Pig Farm
Clin­ton allowed us to pick from a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent lit­ters. We quick­ly iden­ti­fied which lit­ter was our favorite, and decid­ed to take all our piglets from that one mama. It’s okay to mix lit­ters, but the pigs will often squab­ble at first, and we just liked the idea of keep­ing the broth­ers and sis­ters togeth­er so they would be more com­fort­able when we got them home. We picked out two match­ing red boys with black snouts, a white boy with a brown face and spot, and one lit­tle feisty girl with a white stripe across her back. We ruled out anoth­er larg­er girl because her tail was hang­ing straight and loose, which is often a sign that a pig isn’t feel­ing very well. Clin­ton picked them up one at a time by their back legs, try­ing to avoid the mama who appar­ent­ly has a mean streak and is extra pro­tec­tive of her piglets, and loaded them into our dog crates. We had filled them with lots of hay to keep the piglets cozy and com­fort­able, and wrapped a tarp over the top to keep them out of the wind.
We checked on them once at a gas sta­tion on the way home and they seemed very com­fort­able and hap­py. Once we got them home, we placed them one by one in their new bed and watched as they root­ed around in the hay for a lit­tle while and then stepped out to explore and dig around in their new pig pen.
In Oth­er News:
The fence has been put up around the kitchen gar­den, so now we can start real­ly plant­i­ng the raised beds in earnest.
Dave also har­rowed the field on Sun­day, so all the big sod clumps are bro­ken up and buried. Only one more week (to let the sod real­ly break down under­ground) and we can start planting!
Disc Har­row: dragged behind a trac­tor, it cuts through strips of sod and breaks up the soil
Com­ing Soon: Piglet videos!