Friday, December 21:
A slow month is December; paddocks are bigger, the animals are moved less frequently, the garden is thinned for salad greens and the bigger carrots; cold sloppy rain or warm sloppy snow mean no one really wants to go outside. The cows’ production is dropping off, not to rise again until they freshen in April. Short days and long nights make us sleepy. Still, another steer was shot and hung last Tuesday with the help of our third son, returned from four months overseas.
The fences around the monastery garden had to be pulled up and stored away until spring; the monastery garden is pigless now, they having been moved down to warm pig pens in the barn after all the forage in the garden was eaten. Beans, beets, turnips, and late corn, with daily rations of skim milk and whey, reduced the pigs’ grain consumption to almost nothing for the months of October and November and into the first week of December. The garden pigs, be it noted, are nowhere near as big as the conventionally raised pigs we keep with our neighbor B. Those receive commercial pig rations in a hopper feeder, and they are perhaps fifty pounds heavier than the home pigs, but they are up to two sacks of feed a week and more, while the home pigs have eaten maybe four or five sacks of grain total: this, although there are twice as many home pigs. Still, it remains to be seen whether it is more economical to grow a pig slowly on home-grown feed, or quickly on purchased pellets.
I wonder which is better for the pig.