spring is really, finally here!
Happy happy joy joy, we have warmth and sun, finally. The animals feel it, the plants, the soil…quite magnificent in the glorious turnaround. We’ve been busy busy busy planting seedlings, seeds, asparagus crowns (all 500 are planted now!) and setting up new paddocks for the growing turkeys, the meat chickens on the way and the new piglets.
The worst thing about this spring was that the plastic cover on the hoophouse came off- it was a terrible day May 9th. The gusts of wind coming right at it in the wrong direction caught a loose end and the continuing gusts just kept pulling harder until one side was nearly off and we tried in vain to hold down the plastic with our whole bodies. But two people trying to contain a 40×60 parachute that wanted to go with the wind, it was quite a sight, we’re sure. Then the huge plastic sheet went off and got impaled in a tree. Arrrrgh……..There was yelling, cussing, screaming and some dumbstruck tears. The day before we’d put out tomato plants in the raised beds in there, and now we had a convertible style hoophouse, with no cover, no shelter for the ducks or the plants. Right away we ordered a new plastic cover, but this could happen again. We’ve put in extra reinforcement baseboards, so the securing areas will be doubled. On a side note- the company we got this hoophouse from, Farmtek, was absolutely horrible in their dealings with us after this incident. Terrible customer service, no apologies or commiserating, nothing.
The ducks don’t mind the new skeleton hoophouse. Their routines are such that they just keep going out and in where they are used to. Such sweethearts! Now that spring/summer is upon us we may just leave the hoop up and cover it later in the season. Too much to do in the meantime.
We got our 4 piglets for the fall group of pigs. These are all sold already. We really like mixed breed pigs who are different colors since they seem to be more suited for the outdoor life, but we could only find Yorkshire piglets. These poor little guys never saw the sun before and immediately got sunburns, as they are pure pink! We’ve had to be on top of getting them extra shade, as well as stop worrying over them because pigs are really robust beings. As our friend Angelica says, as long as they are eating and pooping, they’ll most likely pull through anything. This year it was incredibly difficult to locate anyone with piglets for sale. So we’ve decided to try our hand at raising pigs on a very small scale. With some encouragement from our pig raising friends, we’re going to be keeping Rosie as our first gilt-turned-sow. A gilt is a young female pig, and a sow is a gilt who has had at least one litter of piglets. Details. Our friend Harvey at Carlena Farms is going to rent us one of his Tamworth boars for Rosie to have a boyfriend for a month or so. She should have piglets 3 months, three weeks and three days after their successful meeting (…Fingers Crossed.) Looks like September or so. Raising our own piglets will take self sufficiency to a new level, our own LTD blend too! The majestic heritage breed pigs out there are just completely enrapturing, we’d love to raise them all. But the prices for babies are too high for small scale farmers. Some day we’d love to get Large Black Hogs, an especially intriguing tall, huge, beautiful pig who’s very good at grazing. Some day…….but take a 1/2 Duroc gilt and a Tamworth and we’ll have some nice piglets. If everything goes ok with the farrowing (piglet birthing) which is the biggest variable with raising hogs. We’re going to do our best, as we always do, and see how it goes.
The greens are finally growing bigger, the radishes fattening, green beans sprouting, and the transplanted planties thriving in the new thick soil. Our summer turkeys are galloping around in their new pasture, foraging very well and loving the sun. Penny and Squeak are eating so much they leave leftovers after feeding time, so they are nice and fat and their time is coming up on Wednesday. They have been an absolute joy to raise and we’re honored to have had their beings here, living a good life with us, each other, and the land. The bounty of meat coming from these pigs will sustain 4 families for a LONG time.