Thursday, June 25, 2009

The End of June

Herding pigs their new home.

Pig herding is easiest with pig pushers, lots of help, and patience.

Success! I'm in charge of crowd control while the fence is being connected.

Hilled potatoes, hilling is a great form of weed control.

Meat birds (cornish rock crosses) see the second week of May for an earlier picture.

Pigs on pasture. They're most active in the mornings and evenings. During the rest of the day they sleep or lay around.

There are carrots, not just quack grass in the above picture.

After some hand weeding... Carrot plants!
Carrots don't compete with weeds very well and need extra attention as a result. This year we had spotty germination in some places.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 15 to 21st

We were glad to host a tour on Sunday for a group of beginning farmers interested in raising pigs.

It was a pretty in depth description of raising hogs. We've learned a lot of over the years and hopefully were able to pass on some of that knowledge. This way the learning curve won't be so steep for others.

Pig pushers make it easier to herd pigs. The ones pictured above are made from half sheets of plywood.

Pigs can get a gate to come off its hinges by lifting up on the bottom. A flat washer and hose clamp fixes this problem.

Old non-working chest freezers are easy to come by and make great rodent proof feed storage. Usually people will give broken chest freezers away.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Second Week of June

Summer squash transplants, summer squash doesn't ship well, most of the stuff in the grocery store looks like it fell off the truck. We usually grow and sell quite a bit of summer squash.

Yellow nutsedge is a tough weed to get rid of. Its main method of propagation is through small tubers called nutlets. If that wasn't bad enough it can also spread by rhizomes.

Lettuce is our only vegetable crop at the moment. We've had a cool spring so the season has lasted a little longer.

Rinsing to remove field heat and dirt a good stainless steel sink makes life a lot easier. We sell our lettuce to a couple local restaurants, the food co-op, and a small grocery store.

The future home for the meat birds. They'll have the opportunity to run around outside (if they feel inclined to do so). Meat birds (Cornish rock crosses) are bred to eat and put on weight. They're lethargic compared to egg birds.

One of our hens has been broody lately so I closed off the upper nesting boxes and put one on the floor instead. This way if she hatches some eggs the baby chicks won't fall out.

Here's the latest addition to our poultry collected. We borrowed this rooster from a neighbor so we can hatch more chickens.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Good and Bad Pigs

Genetics is a major part of raising pigs. If you have poor genetics, or what we call Heinz 57 pigs (genetically they contain a little bit of everything), then they won't fill out real well. The pig above is to narrow and kind of scrawny for its age.

On the other hand really fat pigs aren't desirable. This one has way to much fat, despite being approximately the same age. Both have been on the same diet.

Here's younger but really nice looking Hereford hog. He's wide and well muscled in the shoulders and hindquarters.

Top view, investigating my boot. The Herefords are inquisitive and friendly.

Tomatoes in the greenhouse.

And some peppers.