Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Porcine Rodeo

We decided to make the pasture switch a family affair. Meaning instead of the usual me vs the pigs, it was me vs the pigs and feral children. It was actually really fun. I had Teresa ready on the Walkie Talkie switching the power on and off while I modified the fence. Once we created a pass through gate, the kids all threw a treat in the new pasture to bribe the pigs in for a fast change. It actually went pretty smooth. It quickly digressed into a free for all where all three kids suddenly learned how to ride pigs like a horse. Yes I said the kids were riding pigs like horses. I was so shocked, for many different reasons I just had to become a spectator and watch. Sometimes I worry if my little piglets are growing, well I saw them in a different light as they carried my kids around like a bird on the back. I opened up the well to create a new wallow, and all the kids synchronized their efforts to loose their flip flops all at once in the mud. If you were riding your bicycle down the street during the event, you probably would have seen me waving my arms and blurting "told you to wear boots, bladdy bladdy..." It went in one ear and out the other, to much fun to be had, and the sun was so hot I think our brains were evaporated by then anyway. It is so hot that pigs don't need much for shelter, just shade. For this time of year I just pound in four t-posts and string a tarp up. The pigs always help out by scratching themselves on the posts while I pound, and standing on the tarp while I tie it. It was great to see the pigs so enthralled in their pasture. Alot of volunteer plants seemed to be favorites, particularly wild geraniums. After that it was dinner for us, and then off to work on our former residence.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Keeping the Mulefoot alive

So as I mentioned before, the Mulefoot sow has arrived. Turns out a farm here in the valley had bought a breeding pair and lost their boar. You may remember we had lost our sow last winter in transport. While we still hope one day she will show up on our doorstep with a suitcase bearing stickers of all the places she had visited since she hopped out of our stock box - we know for now we need to make other plans... So the appropriately named "Pigerella" is on site and occupying the honeymoon sweet with Kid Pig. Already we have a bunch of Mulefoot crosses running around, and now expect to see some full Mulefoot piglets around Christmas. True to form for the breed, Pigerella has the best temperament you could ask for. I had an epiphany that depending on the size of the litter, we will have over 1% of the existing Mulefoot herd here at Crying Rock. Our little border collie pup "Sammy" is learning the ropes here at the farm, and really wants to herd pigs. His challenges so far are that the piglets want to play with him, and the sows have in the past, offered to eat larger dogs. Maybe we will start him with the chickens instead. Meanwhile, the pigs are in the pasture that was over seeded with Canola, and they love it. They have about two days of grazing left in the field before I send them into the next, that was over seeded with buckwheat and sugar beets, along with some volunteer mustard and oats.