Monthly Archives: April 2013

Going Ons

Working full time at a non-farm related job is  a mixed blessing. Of course it keeps me away from home and doing farm things that need done, but it gives me income so I CAN continue to do farm things until this place starts paying for itself. I find myself, while enjoying my work, frequently thinking about what I need to do on the farm on the weekend. I think I actually work HARDER on the weekend than during the week. This weekend we pulled an old trailer out of the field to restore, rebuilt the chute, made a new pen around the lawn for the sheep to cut back the grass, moved half a ton of manure, rototilled the garden space, sheared a sheep then delt with animal drama which involved chasing and wrestling a ram.

Dear Khoresh is feeling very “springy” and has been headbutting Rosie with a mix of lust and desire to dominate the “top dog” on the farm. Of course, while he attacks Rosie he still runs like hell from me. I had them separate but he jumped the fence line last night and started fighting with her again. The neighbour helped me get them separated last night, he jumped into the lamb creep and i threw up some plywood to make it taller so he didn’t jump out. Crazy girl got in the pen with him and rode him like a bucking bronco until I could get the halter on him. Was going to lead him to his own pasture, but i think I’m going to try wrestling again this morning and see if i can get the homemade ram-mask on him.

Wish me luck!

And after that? I have a weeks paid vacation at work…..how relaxing!

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Polly Plays a Lion

I finally got a milking stand!I decided to try it out by giving Polly a haircut.

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I started off  at the back, went down her back and peeled the layers away.

DSC_3349Whjat you Lookin' At?

Polly did fine except she was incensed anytime the food ran out in her bowl. After all i fed her I hope shes not sick tommorrow!

Oh but one thing about shearing on a milking stand…..You can’t reach the wool around the neck.

Roar!

Roar!

Oops.

 

How Much does Your Pig Weigh?

I finally got around to trying to figure out Rosie’s weight. I’ve just been sayin’ “500 lbs” as a guess….shes lost alot of weight so maybe she’s less now? I don’t know…I’ve seen her at her biggest and she looks kinda small to me now.

I used the string method which is their heart girth in inches (string goes around their ribcage right behind the front legs) squared multiplied by their length between their tail and ears diveded by 400. Its apparently very accurate…..can’t remember my measurements but according to the string Miss Sassypants weights:

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614 lbs.

Okay, maybe she IS a big pig.

I guess this means she is weaned

This morning I tried to give Blaze some probiotic and she took to her snack with such vigor she ripped the plastic nipple apart.

So….I guess with no nipple to feed her with she’s weaned, eh?

(don’t worry I’d been decreasing her feed for the last week. Shes as tall as my dog and is eating green stuff just fine!)

Sweet Deal and Yogurt

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Sadly one of the only decent resturants in town closed its doors last weekend. I went to their goodbye sale and scored two crocks, a French omlette pan, a copper pot and a tiny Revere Wear kettle I can use on my wood stove. All for $11.  Of course I had to try and make saurkraut right away.

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We’ll see how it turns out.

 I finally got enough milk to bother pasteurizing. Its awesome in coffee. I re-crutched the girls since they seem to have grown a fair amount of wool since I did it in Janurary so the next batch of will be cleaner.

Then I tried to make yogurt.

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Warm milk with starter in clean jars then into a warm water bath it went! In the end I got this:

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Looks good….buuuuut the consistancy is kinda weird. Its not sure firm but rather um….slimy.

ew.

It tastes fine…a little sheepy, but again, it wasn’t 100% clean milk you can taste the .5% of something else in it. And the Alfalfa. My family thought it was pretty much like delicious feta…but I don’t like feta. Curse my picky pallet!

So will I eat it? yes. With relish? probably not until I get used to the feta flavor.We’ll see how it is when I add some jam and granola. That will probably be amazing.

What milk product should I try next? I need to go find a cheese making supplier in Portland!

The week that was

Well I put off writing simply because I WAS going to write a long blog post about selling 2 piglets, but then I was late by a few days and felt guilty and then was like “nooo! I can’t not post about it, but its laaaate!”

 

So I’ve been hiding.

 

So a fellow from FFA came out with a student to pick up two weaners. The student was must have been 6’8″ and 280 lbs. Big kid. They were impressed with the litter and really liked their build and personalities. Yay! So Rosie was in her weaning pen and I gave her milk in her grain to keep her distracted.  I got the piglets in the barn with some feed and they checked the pigs out. The kid chose his pig and was instructed to pick it up

“I don’t think this is going to work. ” I thought to myself, but hey, the FFA guy had done this tons of times so no prob, right?

“HWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

Oh don’t worry, it’ll stop squealing in a few seconds.”

It didn’t. It kept screeching a blood curdling screech at some 150 decibles (rock concert loud) The young man walked across the barn and stepped through the door to see something along the lines of this:

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Only with more anger, in a fighting stance, bellowing directly at him to “DROP THAT CHILD OF MINE~!” he did.

Yes, Rosie had broken through the fence and now was involved in the moving of piglets. We tried locking her out of the barn and backing the truck up to the door, but the first time we did that she heard the piggie squeal and slipped under the truck and back into the barn teeth bared and roaring.

The thing about Rosie is I think she knows she can only go so far with humans before she puts her life in jepoardy. She roared, and chased a little but I saw her pull back and stop herself. Shes a good pig, and they liked and respected her.

Eventually we got her out of the barn and the piglets back in and the truck in far enough she couldn’t slip under. They got their two piggies in, pulled out and double checked they were the right ones.  “Looks good!”

“On, you got Wilber the boar.”

“…… you’re right.”

So back in went the truck and everyone else went to chase the piglets back in the barn. Pssh, I knew that wouldn’t work so I just got more grain, poured in slowly and loudly into their feed bin while calling out “Pig pig!” as I do at feeding time. suckers came back in, heheh.

Two of the pink girls are gone and we are down to 5 piglets. Sadly the fellow who was going to take a breeding pair had a storm take out a fenceline and the pig house right before he came so now im looking for a home for 2 pigs. Then I’m keeping Peppercorn for breeding, my niece is keeping one for 4h and then there will be one for butcher.

oh yes, I also started getting fruit culls from the grocery store. clearly my animals are well fed because they pick through that stuff for the goodies and leave the rest. if they were REALLY hungry pigs they would eat it all. Oh well, more compost!

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On the sheep end I’ve started weaning Blaze. I don’t know how much she weights, but i come home every day to her distened belly. She is chowing down on grass, so shes getting just breakfast and dinner now, no lunch.

Since I built a creep and a night pen for the sheep I’ve been trying to milk them again. A whole night without lambs allows their udders to fill up. I’ve been wrestling with Ash to get her to let me milk. the first few days I had her in a classic wrestling hold while I just spilled her milk on the ground. Now I’m starting to be able to squat next to her. She is still kicking some, but not as bad. A milking stand would be nice so i could tie her legs down. but I think I’ve almost broken her in! yay!

 

tired, gonna sleep now and shear the sheep tommorrow.

 

Good news: Pigs will happily eat dandelions.
Bad news: I discovered this while forgetting about my dinner on the stove.

After their salad bar, the pigs will have a lovely navy bean dinner. 😦