Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pigs Corralled!

Last Wednesday was a hectic adventure with many pig escapades. The final escape occurred during CSA pickup. A member came down to the house and said “are there supposed to be pigs on the driveway?” Nope! By the time I got fencing supplies in the truck and got up there they were headed toward the neighbor’s yard. Luckily I caught them before they made it there. I herded the 7 or so 250 pound hogs back to their home fence area. Then I fixed there fence-so far it has held. Instead of the one wire that has proved sufficient for the previous 40 or so pigs we have raised these 13 trouble makers required 2 hot wires and a ground wire to make sure they really get shocked! The gang of 13 has taken the title of worst behaved animals previously held by the sheep for their triple escape weekend. We attribute their ability to escape to their athletic prowess. Off to the butcher in 3 weeks (not that we’re counting).

Spiny pig weed

In the garden it is spiny pigweed season. Spiny pigweed is a hot weather weed in the amaranth family. The family includes many not so bad weeds most of which are edible. Spiny pigweed is the bad seed in the bunch. The entire stem is covered in needle sharp, nearly invisible spines. When touched these spines practically jump off the plant into your finger. They will penetrate gloves, socks, or the mesh portion on a running shoe. Once in your finger the spine is almost invisible and breaks off easily when tweezed. In short it is, a highly irritating painful, hard to get pain in the finger. Unfortunately, spiny pigweed is highly tenacious if you simply cut the plant it will grow several branches where there was only one. The only way to deal with this hydra of a plant is to pull it up by the roots. So with gloves and fork I did battle this week. Now where the pig weed had moved in edamame soybean seeds are beginning to germinate! We look forward to their delicious seeds in fall!

Cooling Rain

Today we suffered a setback during chicken butchering. When I went out early this morning to start the scalder up so that it would be ready when we start butchering, it wouldn’t light! Fortunately, we were able to fix it, but not before 7:30-when we were supposed to starting to butcher. Once lit the water takes nearly 2 and half hours to heat up. So we had to go find other things to do for that time-move chicks to pasture, move the horse, clean, relax, eat a snack. We didn’t start butchering until almost 9:30. We had an amazing crew though and we made up much of our lost time, finishing only about an hour later than usual at 2:30. As we ate lunch on the porch the clouds began to move in thicker. As the crew pulled out of the driveway the first few drops began to fall. The breeze and rain came in earnest and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon storm bringing a much needed 1.35 inches of rain. I had front row seats to the storm from the chick brooder. As I cleaned out the space in preparation for the next batch of chicks the storm crashed around me. There were frequent lightning flashes with thunder following just on its tail. Crack-boom! Crack-boom! The coolness and energy of the storm transformed the normally hot and tiresome job into an almost fun task. Poor Petunia didn’t think so though. She eventually found me in the shed as she nervously sought shelter from the storm. She eventually settled down in the fresh shavings as I finished the job. She does not like storms!

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