Saturday, October 12:
Integrated, diversified small-scale farming is like Carroll’s White Queen: to stay in one place you have to keep running as fast as you can. Catching each cow in heat and getting her bred is one of the jobs that makes this time of year surreal. Imagine spending thirty minutes a day staring at a pasture full of cows — well, eight cows — hoping to see one of them jump on another. This, if it occurs, will tell you, well, nothing definite. Even if it occurs several times. Unless, of course, the cow on the bottom, instead of scooting out from under her pasture-mate, possibly one thousand or so pounds of bovine flesh and bone, stands still for it. Or as still as a cow can stand when half-a-ton of shove is applied from the back. In this event, and only then, you are justified in assuming that the nether cow — she on the bottom — is in heat, “standing” heat, and it’s time to call the AI tech or limber up the nitrogen tank because she needs to be bred in twelve hours.
This is especially fun if you catch her in standing heat at two in the afternoon. Who’s getting up at two ack emma? Not me, not my AI teck (son of twenty years).
The young piglets are doing well, having tripled or quadrupled in weight in the last three and a half weeks. They are beginning to join Mamma at the feed trough, an event for which she has limited tolerance, so we are hurrying the construction of the outer pig pen so that we can provide another trough in a different space.