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what pigs eat

cropped-piggies1.jpgPigs eat sticks.  We don’t just mean the charred wood you shove in their pen so they can eat the charcoal, we mean sticks, like tree prunings.  They don’t just chew them, they chew, munch and swallow them.  A young farmer* who visited us last week told us of this predilection which she had observed in her own pigs, and, lest we fail to credit her report, demonstrated by feeding a bunch of apple prunings to four porkers in our barn.  You’d have thought Catherine had given them carrots, or corn, instead of sticks; they didn’t just chew the sticks up, they gobbled them. Who knows what dietary need they were satisfying?  And simultaneously composting prunings that might otherwise breed a new season of disease or pest for our apple trees.  We never cease to be fascinated by the myriad levels of significance in nature, observation of which allows humans to enter into and partake of the harmony.  Thank God, too, for the engagement of so many young farmers who are interacting and observing and drawing new conclusions; the future of farming is in good hands.(*Catherine is four years old.)

 

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getting under cover

Two hundred pounds of onions and garlic went from the summer kitchen (shade and circulation) to the dry cave (earth cellar under the house addition) to be safely under cover before this morning’s hard frost.  Timing is important!

 

late fall

Seasoned firewood and frosted privet, beautiful sights from the kitchen window.

Attendees at this weekend’s fall farm workshop have an added bonus!  Come early on Friday and help us kill, skin and gut a steer.  A great chance for some hands-on experience!  We’ll hang it in our cool room (worth taking a look at) for two weeks; then, the day after Thanksgiving, we’ll cut and wrap it.  Sons and their families who live within striking distance will be on hand to help with the work, and take home part of the harvest.

Making butter in our five gallon 1917 Dazey butter churn, just as good a tool today as it was one hundred years ago.  Washing butter in ice water helps keep it firm to be worked and formed into half-pound butter balls.

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Topping mangels in the field.  Topped roots are bagged in used feed sacks and go into the root cellar for a few weeks of aging, after which they are more easily digestible.  The tops will be fed out to the pigs over the next couple of weeks, providing a valuable element of green food in these late fall days.

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Our November workshops are filling up fast, but there are still a few places open for both the 10th (adults only) and the 17th (family day).  A whole day of hands-on intensive rotational grazing, fence, dairy, captured water systems, farm fertility, and non-GM animal feed crops.  Check out our schedule here and contact us to hold your space!