Monthly archives "April 2014"

Moving Pigs!

And it was Pig Moving day again! We didn’t know it yet, but it turned out fortuitous that we moved our pigs on that day, since the next few days were filled with inches and inches of snow! But in any case, here is the story…

P1100128

Our Permaculture Plan for the property included fencing in our southwest corner as a permanent paddock for our pigs and the cows we will eventually have (hopefully this year). This area consists of about 2 acres of older spruce and a lot of dead tree matter. The idea was that in the winter, this forested area would provide some protection from the elements for our animals. We also know that to overwinter animals in our climate, which has about 6 months of winter, you need a permanent paddock close to zone 0, the home, in order to minimize efforts to feed and water your animals , as well as moving bedding around. So this spot fit those requirements. It was also allowed us to continue our paddock construction in the northwest corner, about 6 or so acres of steeper sloped land, filled with wild apple trees and raspberry.

In any case, we had to get our main paddock done asap. We purchased a larger amount of cattle panels to enclose about an acre or so, which was what we could afford. It took two harrowing trips to transport the panels back from the store, with 7 feet of panel in the truck bed and 9 feet hanging off the back of the truck onto a snowmobile trailer. The panels didn’t move, but the trailer did, so that created some interested effects on driving. We took it slow and drove the backroads. Next time, we will rent a larger trailer…

We took a day to clear the fence path. Two sides of the paddock had some fencing, albeit at odd angles and in different states of usefulness. We had to buck a large tree that had fallen on the fence, which took most of one morning, and finally with some blood sweat and tears we got it all cleared out. Then came the very difficult task of hauling 16 foot long, 4 foot high panels through a tangled brushy woods. That was another 2 days or so of effort. Finally, we were able to pound in a T-post so we decided to get the whole thing enclosed.

P1100058

The next day it was time to just get those pigs moved. They had been housed comfortably in the hoophouse, and now we were charged with the task of making a chute of hog panels from the hoophouse to the new paddock and not letting them get free at any point. That wasn’t too difficult but it turns out that they weren’t all that interested in leaving the hoophouse!

“Come on, ” We said, ” You will have the best time in your new paddock! Look at all the dirt to root up!”P1100129

We manhandled them up the slight slope out of the hoophouse, sinking into the super sloppy swamp which they had created in the hoophouse, losing boots and our sanity. We shuffled them into the hog panel shoot and farther into the paddock and finally, after about an hour or so of chaos, had them where we wanted them! Breathing a sigh of relief, we watched as they all took off into the forest, galloping and rooting like madmen.

P1100096

P1100101

They were happy and we were happy. They spent the rest of the day rooting up the forest and making glad pig noises as we tightened up the fence and rigged up a temporary shelter. They were so excited they were not very interested in eating the soaked grains for the day. Finally they collapsed in a pig pile and fell asleep.

P1100164

And then it snowed all night…

P1100170

To learn more on how to raise pigs like we do on LTD Farm, check out Andrew’s article in the new May edition of Acres Magazine , Practical Permaculture Pigs! http://www.acresusa.com/magazine

The first keyline

We are putting in our first keyline berm and swale system in order to harvest water strategically across the contours of our property, for tree and shrub irrigation as well as to water our pastured animals. In the past we have dabbled in berms and swales, but now we have taken the concepts to heart and incorporated them into our overall permaculture design.

P1100179

We think spending time, even years, on a property definitely helps to conceptualize the ramifications of major surgery such as berms and swales on the landscape. We have made mistakes in the past with this and so we knew we needed to take our time and really come to an understanding of what are intentions were and what we were trying to accomplish.

P1100181

The first swale was marked out in the last few days using a transit level and flags/sticks/ribbons. As we walked the first contour and envisioned the future landscape, we saw the placement of the catchment ponds to come and how they would interact with the livestock as well as their usefulness in irrigation. Today we started to plow out the swale line in order to get this project underway before the next few days of rain. With the rain will come more observation and interaction, and we will adjust the swales as needed.¬† We plotted the line with 1% slopes that direct water to flow very slowly toward three pocket ponds, about equidistant across the line. We don’t want totally on-contour swales as we have a very clay rich soil that will become waterlogged and overflow. The point is to catch the water on this line and feed the roots of the trees and shrubs, and when the swale¬† is saturated to capacity, then the water flows to a pond where we use that water in other applications.

P1100189

Turns out the soil was a bit more soaked then we thought, so after the first plowing we decided to call it quits on earth manipulation today. We have a heavy silt clay loam and when it is saturated with water, it is slicker then a hog in oil, and it sticks together making it harder to break apart and create that well mounded berm. The overall line is good, and as mentioned before we will adjust as needed and fine tune within the next few days.

At that point our order of bareroot trees and shrubs should be here and we will then plant them out, with a shovel full of goose/goat manure on top of a paper weed control barrier, as well as soiled/rotten hay.

P1100186

You can see here how much moisture was already seeping into the swale as we finished up the plowing for the day.

New! The “Pastured Pork Package”

When was the last time you had a really juicy and amazing piece of pork? Never? Well, maybe it is all about how your pork was grown – happy pigs are the first step to amazing pork!

“The product coming from these piggies is simply stunning!” – Erin

“Sweet Jesus that is some good pork.” – Mary

1488647_10151918875551448_899084985_n

Our pork is receiving rave reviews, and we know it’s because our pigs are loved and appreciated, their bellies scratched and heads petted, as well as having a diverse and varied diet full of soaked organic grains, duck eggs, fresh veggies and fruits, our own organic hay, and all that they dig up as they root in the soil. A very important part of our pig-keeeping practices is to help our pigs live incredibly relaxing lives with us here on LTD Farm. All three of these elements make an enormous difference in the pork. ALL pigs should be treated this way, but sadly most are not treated all that well. You can go ahead and feel wonderful eating our high welfare pork and supporting our efforts toward raising these incredibly intelligent beings in a natural way with kindness and respect. At the end of the day, our pigs are unfortunately/fortunately incredibly delicious as well.

P1010803

We’ve had a couple people ask if they could get a smaller pork share from us, and now we have a smaller introductory offering! Get a “Pastured Pork Package” from LTD Farm, where our happy pigs live a stress free, lovely life of luxury and eat a top notch natural diet, which is based primarily on soaked 100% organic grains, as well as what they graze and root up, our own hay, duck eggs, veggies and fruits, homebrew, apple vinegar, kelp, and more!

A prepayment of $200 will get you 20 pounds of amazing pork from us, a handpicked selection of the very best cuts from our pigs, so that you can experience what a real pastured pig tastes like without filling a freezer! Pickup at a drop-off site will be required.

Email us at “farmers (at) LTDFarm (dot) com” for more info or simply fill out the sign up sheet and select our Pastured Pork Package and send us your prepayment!

Pastured Pig Package Ordering Form!

 

CSA Fair! Next Saturday at Seward Co-op!

Come visit us at Seward Co-op’s 13th Annual CSA Fair, Saturday, April 12th from 11-2. You can meet and visit with over 33 local farmers who all offer Community Supported Agriculture Shares from their farms. There is a farm for everyone! Support your local farmers and get a season of delicious, fresh food.P1030964-1024x768

We’ve worked with Seward Co-op since the beginning of our farm, and are pleased to offer Seward as one of our CSA dropsites. We have monthly Original shares from our farm still available for sign up, as well as Pastured Pork, Goose and Turkey Shares. Our Original share is a beautiful monthly box of fresh, seasonal produce grown by us on our farm, as well as 2 dozen duck eggs, 2 bars of our handmade AMAZING goatmilk soap, and a wildcrafted bouquet!

6 months for $350

P1070762

The lady ducks are greeting spring enthusiastically, bringing their fabulous eggs to us each morning. We collect eggs three times a day, and each and every one is carefully cleaned by hand and inspected by candling for perfectness. Our ducks go outside every single day, no matter the weather. They eat copious amounts of hay over winter when their paddocks are covered in snow, but we all look forward to fresh greenery sprouting up as the snow recedes and this never-ending winter finally ends!P1090078

Our new little ducklings have arrived from Pennsylvania and are doing very well. They are enjoying the sun during the day, while staying cozy in their brooder for their first month while they grow from palm-sized eensey bits to big girls. As you can see they are very inquisitive!P1100017P1100006