Monday, April 19, 2010

Don’t cast your pearls before swine...

Or your eyeglasses for the same reason…

With all the litters we have now, the initial morning feed has gotten complex. There is a lot of prepping and bringing food to the farrowing pens. Patata was not pleased that she was not first in line and decided to jump over the wall to meet me half way. Her piglets were as shocked as I was. I could see squealing little snouts popping up and down just over the crest of the wall, as if they had found a little trampoline. Fortunately she only went into the cache pen I built next to her. I placed the feed in with her piglets, and quickly she hopped back over the wall. She knows her piglets take after her and would finish the dish before asking if she wanted some. You would not expect this girl to be so nimble, but she is a slave to her passions, and little stays in her way. Ok, pigs are now in their proper places, how shall we keep them put? Nail a board up higher of course. I go on a barnyard scavenger hunt gathering all the things: old 2x6, nails, hammer etc… I start nailing the board and off go the glasses - plummeting into the pig pen of no return, where 52 hooves quickly smash and turn to nice compost anything that meets their acquaintance . Think fast! Yes I caught them just in time, that was close. Putting them back on I realize I popped out a lens. The world suddenly looked like a 3D movie without the special glasses. After some left eye- right eye experimentation I narrowed down what eye was functioning. I looked out of the last good eye to spy that my precious lens landed softly in a nice fresh pile of doo. While considering whether I will lay down under those 52 hooves to retrieve my precious vision, or send Kid Pig to seeing eye dog school, I thought of a third choice. I will reach in with the shovel and fetch it! I fumble around half blind, which for some reason is worse than had I just took the glasses off - due to some weird fuzzy depth perception thing going on. But no time for smart moves and wise choices, I am busy trying to do something fast. I find the shovel and walk across the fuzzy-blurry barnyard to retrieve the precious gem. I jump into the cache pen and stretch in with my hardware. Delicate…gentle…don’t bury it! There may be nothing more curious than a piglet. To a piglet, shovel in the pen means party. Everyone comes over to see what this amazing thing is. At least three of them are biting it, and at least one is sitting on it. Somehow me and the piglets managed to get the lens on the shovel and back in my hand. I quickly wiped it on, yes my shirt (at this point it’s about survival) and returned it to its proper and very functional place. When I got home and told the kids the story, Jude replied "did you wash your glasses yet"? Anyhoo, the pigs have been hogging all the attention and it is time to start sharing some with the next enterprise, hops. This picture is the remainder of last years Cascades giving a black barleywine a fruity undertone, with a healthy layer of Hallertau's on the top (fresh hopping). I stole a couple samples this week, but I think it needs a little more time before it is finished, hopefully in oak. This one actually is brewed with a wild yeast, since I never got a chance to pitch the yeast (too busy chasing pigs) - but it decided it wanted to live and fermented itself. A lager surprisingly. Well this batch is the last of our hop supply so it is time to step up production. By end of May we will have in the ground: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Cluster, Crystal, Fuggle, Galena, Glacier, Hallertau, Liberty, Mt Hood, Newport, Nugget, Perle, Saaz, Santiam, Sterling, Tettnanger,Vangaurd, Willamette - and a very very special variety that I will talk about at a later time. Tomorrow Joel Salatin is speaking in Seattle so I need to get things wrapped up at the farm quickly.

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