There’s straw in the cuffs of my pants.
Life here is never, ever, stagnant. In summer everything is bursting with life and its obvious. But what about the rest of the year? In fall its a time for finishing animals, gardens, putting up crops and rebreeding. Winter bellies swell. With pigs winter means birth. The best prices for pigs come in spring, so we need to have piglets ready by then. I have had my 3 litters for the year.
Cinnamon has 12, but two died. Peppercorn farrowed a week later with 14, alas, she crushed 4 or 5 this year. I came to realize something was wrong when she was having trouble letting down milk and not responding to the cries of piglets getting injured. I started feeding her twice a day to even out her blood sugar and gave her tumeric in her feed for a week for its many medicinal qualities. She seems to have improved quite a bit after the turmeric. The two girls shared the same space and an unexpected issue arose:the week old piglets preferred Peppercorn and their milk source and kicked the newborns off their mother. I played referee for a few days and threw the naughty piglets off for a week until the youngers had the strength to fight back.I think some of the crushings were caused by Peppercorn being mobbed by 26 hungry piglets. Now its mixed who milks from who. Cinammon’s litter is the most beautiful litter I’ve had yet: fast growing, wide shoulders, wide hips, and colorful girls. I’m very excited about these pigs.
Last night my girl, Violet, farrowed for the first time. It was my first attempt at artificial insemination and amazingly she took despite getting her at the tail end of her cycle (last minute decision to breed her then). I bred her with show pig semen because a) I needed to add fresh genetics to the her and she was closely related to my boar and b) I wanted to have a few nice show quality pigs for 4h kids. The litter was only 7 piglets, so my smallest litter ever, but they are nice looking. We’ll see how the grow.
So our winter piglets become spring weaners. In a matter of days the sheep will start lambing. This year I introduced the rams later so maybe the pasture could improve by the time i want to start grazing. After the logging and drought the pasture is still very worn. Some areas are lush, but the majority is not enough to feed my flock for very long.
Thats where the suprise change comes it. A tree from our unlogged property fell on the neighbors house. Of course they’d like the whole hillside logged so it doesn’t happen again. Now it turns out to do so we need to put a logging road in and clear out areas I wanted to keep forest.
I was unhappy at first, but maybe it will let me actually utilize more of my property. I’m hoping it will improve access to the back and let me enlarge grazing through fencing and proper rotation. Right now I have to backpack t-posts up the hill. Guess what? ITs never happened. With a road I might be able to drive up to drop off supplies. It also means i can put animals father away and deliver water and feed. This sudden change may work out.
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Multi-award winning food blog, written in Dublin, Ireland.