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Archive for September, 2014

what the pigs are eating

This time of year the pigs are eating the best of the best.  Tall  green stalks of corn with the ears still on, sweet corn after our neighbors had all they wanted for the freezer.  Green tomatoes, and red, squishy overripe ones.  Mangels thinned from the winter fodder patch, many of them over a pound, or two, or three.  Beans planted for nitrogen after the potatoes were harvested,  then cut while the pods are still green.  We take some beans for canning — forty quarts or so, so far — but the majority are like the green sweet corn, planned excess to feed the animals.  Milk, buttermilk, and whey from the dairy, where we are making something in the neighborhood of twenty-five pounds of cheese a week right now — and it will be that much again when the calves are weaned.

Today we cut the winter squash and set it out on dry grass to cure.  The meteorological forecast is for warmer, drier weather for a bit, so we hope to have a week to get it all into the barn and the dry cave.  We speculate that the two-hundred eighty-some squash — butternut, blonde pumpkins and cushaw — weigh in the neighborhood of nine hundred or a thousand pounds — the cushaw especially being about twenty pounds average.  The best will store for our table, and the monastery table, but the pigs will get all that threatens not to keep.

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late summer

Mad as March hares around here.  The run-in shed is ready for winter, but the ram pump will have to wait until next summer.  God help us when cold weather comes, but if we survived last winter we can this.

Our presentations at the Mother Earth News fair in Seven Springs, PA, were very well received; we taught a session on making artisan-quality bread with home-ground meal, and another on small-scale rotational grazing for beginners.  We also met with the publishers who are looking at our book; we hope to be able to announce a contract one day soon.

The mangel-wurzels have given us at least six hundred pounds in thinnings, and will give us well over a ton of fodder for the pigs when we harvest this October.  The legumes planted for nitrogen and pig fodder are already feeding six pigs half their daily rations; after Thanksgiving there will only be Porca and He-man and their new litter to feed.  Turnips and heirloom corn are growing now for winter food as well.

The cows are drowning us in milk; we now have shares available by contract.  If you are looking for raw milk in east central Ohio, check out Two Sisters Creamery for more information

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