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The Post-Apocalyptic Permaculture Pig  RSS feed

 
Ross Raven
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The Post-Apocalyptic Permaculture Pig

(there are 7 parts)

If I croak tomorrow, I owe the Prepper and Permaculture world a brief synopsis of what we have learned about raising a pig on a harness. This is outside of most North Americans idea of how to raise a pig. I won’t try to sell you folks that this is “The Way” to raise a pig. Just “A Way”. This was a problem solving experiment, mainly to deal with the incredible expense of fencing or lack thereof in a wold of diminishing resources, both materials and financial. If we screwed up this experiment, we simply would have filled our freezer early and “eaten” the loss.
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Ross Raven
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O.K. That’s way too serious of a way to start one of my posts. I’ll start again with the words of one of our farm sitters. “Taking the pig for a walk was the high point of all my farm experiences. I was frightened at first but then it was fun.” Mr Wu (bonus points go to anyone that guesses why we named him that) grossly outweighed her at less than a year of age. At this point, I don’t even leash him when taking him for a walk around farm with the dogs. It’s something to see, a huge pig, galloping across the fields with the dogs. It’s a little more intimidating when he is charging towards you like a small buffalo. I’m sure glad he likes me. This is one happy pig. Clearly we did something right…in spite of that certain people told us that we were doing something bad and this might even be cruel for the animal. I had worries, myself. These worries began to flow away the first few times he rolled over onto my feet to have his belly scratched…or when, one time, he broke out of his pen, he didn’t run off into the forest but sauntered up to the front door with a “What are you guys up to” look on his face.

Now, I take great pride in that I could beat most large dogs in a fight if they attacked me. I trained myself for that. I’m a little rough around the edges. A couple days ago, I came to the conclusion that I would not be able to win in a fight with this pig. Just like the dogs, he was born to fight. Just like the dogs, he likes to rough house as play. A couple of days ago he hit me with a sneak attack. He likes to drive himself between my legs from behind in an attempted to knock me over. My usual defence is to sit on him and ride him around for a while like a bronco buster. This time, he caught me off guard and after a few seconds on the ride, crashed down into bushed in a winded huff without any of my secret ninja pride intact. I looked over to him and realised if he attacked me now…I was done. Instead, I could tell he was doing the piggy equivalent of at laughing at me and his triumph. My point is that this is a happy pig that likes me and has a way better life than most animals we raise for food. At the moment, he is harnessed to a large tire in the garden, tilling up the garden and weeding or working in mulch. He is a pig with a job. A permaculture job. A post-apocalyptic permaculture pig.
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Ross Raven
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So, how did we get to this point of me on the ground with a pig laughing at me and why should you consider this option, especially in a survival, prepper, permaculture, collapse of western, business as usual society context. And why should you listen to me besides that I am so charming? I have no pig raising experience. I have no farm experience other than the last few years. I am something of a Survival Expert though that means little. Some people know me as C5 or Cernunnos5. A C5 Rule Of Survival is- “There is no such thing as a Survival Expert. Anyone claiming to be is just trying to sell you something”.
Like I said, I had been trying to figure out a way to deal with small livestock raising without the expense of easily sourced or debt financed fencing of our fields. We just can’t afford to fence our fields. We can afford electric fencing and solar batteries as a mobile option…but these are a short term solution to a much larger problem. If you need to feed yourself but the money is gone or that fencing or batteries are no longer available…well, that whole C5 survival expert status means I have to solve that little problem for the next generation of have nots. People have probably seen tethered goats. One online friend had faced the same problem with her cow. She solved it by tethering it to a tire. The cow could eat is pasture and pull the tire further into the field for fresher grass…but couldn’t runoff down the road to run amuck.

The big Lightbulb moment for me was visiting Cuba. For those not familiar with the subject, Cuba is often referred to as “The mini Peak oil” With the embargo in place and the collapse of the Soviet Union ending their oil supplies, Cuba had to adapt to non-Big Ag, mass production food systems coming to a complete stop. When we arrived, it was the end of the dry season, the rains hadn’t arrived yet and grazing was withered. Lots of animals were looking pretty thin. They were also all tethered, tied to anyplace there was grass. Instead of bringing food to the animals, they brought the animals to the food. Oh good. It wasn’t just me waxing all survivalist with this little problem.

Then we saw a pig out in a field. A couple of piglets were hanging out with it. Why was this pig so far away from people? Did it escape? Was it wild? Then I pointed it out to MrsC5, “Are my eyes deceiving me? That pig is on a leash. I didn’t know that was possible. The little ones aren’t even running off. They are all staying with the big one…unattended.” Then the little wheels started spinning in my head. Might I have just solved our pig fencing dilemma. A day later I explained to MrsC5 that we were going to have a pig on a leash. Luckily, she was immediately on board. Whew. Thank goodness I didn’t have to explain this nutty idea to her. It would be a hard sell to most people. The next insight while walking around in the rural hinterlands of Cuba is that all the houses had fenced yards…but the fences were often hodge podged together from any scraps they could find. A rusted piece of metal from the beach was wired in with scrap wood, boulders, cactuses, whatever could be scavenged. Most likely to keep pigs out…or in. I never asked. But my theories about fencing in a world with severely limited resources was there in front of my eyes. It was the small, excessively rusty beach metal, carefully woven into the fence that sticks with me to this day.

There is another C5 Rule of Survival- “There is a big difference between KNOWING in the Biblical Sense and KNOWING in the Porn sense” Unless you have first hand experience in it…assume it doesn’t work…no matter what you saw on youtube…or what you read in my self proclaimed survival expertlyness bloggeryness.
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Ross Raven
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We wanted pigs because pigs were going to be the only way to get the necessary fat intake to survive a Canadian winter without slowly starving to death. We had already learned that chickens weren’t sustainable here, in spite of just assuming we could raise chickens as a survival assumption. A belief I’d had all my life. Knowing in the biblical sense knocked that right out of me. I can’t grow the food they need to get through a winter in this location with limited machinery. I tried. I failed. But I could grow rabbit or pig food. Perhaps you have read the old stories of people that had all the rabbits they needed but starved to death anyhow. Rabbits don’t have the necessary fat. Neither do deer for that matter. Bear, geese and beaver, yes…but we had already given up on the idea that any wild food source would still be around in a collapse setting. Most of the wild animals we take for granted almost went extinct during the Great Depression. It will be worse now. Think of hunting on the very last day of hunting season. Your chances are slim. So that leaves domesticated pigs. If you want cooking oil, it’s going to be lard.

But with everything else going on around the prepper farm…it had moved into the category of “Next Year” jobs. Next year became next year the next year and so on.

Then one of our Prepper Team members made the decision for us. We got a call, “Guess what? I Just bought three pigs. Berkshire, Tamworth cross”. I jokingly replied, “One of those is for us. Right?”
I didn’t actually think he would say yes. OK. It took a few weeks. He was using the old reasoning. If you raise three pigs and sell two that pays for your own pig in the fall. But I think he got curios about how we were going to raise him with this whole tethering idea. We were caught off guard because we wanted to start with a much cheaper breed. It was after all, a practice pig. If we screwed it up the first time, we would just eat what we did wrong. But our team member had already chosen the friendliest and least skittish of the three for us. The one that was most curious and didn’t mind being scratched. The more Berkshire of the three. This put us into a panicky scramble. I had a day to whip up a small enclosure out of recycled fence material I already had on hand. I had to make sure he couldn’t dig underneath. I don’t know how to raise a pig. I butted it against the chicken coop to break the wind. (I’m going to mention this here, just incase you get bored and stop reading. Putting the pig next to the coop was a fantastic accident. Rats had become a problem in the coop. They were too savage for the cats and too fast for the dogs. Heck. They were too savage for the dogs. The pig cleared them right out. It’s a predator that roots out rodents. All rats have left the entire farm. GONE)

O.K. Less story telling. Just the facts. Lets start with what I did wrong right off the bat. You have to start this process at a much younger age than we did. Your pig needs to be touched, scratched and handled as young as possible. Our relationship started with me having to wrestle him down. It turns out I was good at this because of the dog fighting I mentioned above. Just pin it to the ground, pick it up and put it in the truck. I had to do it again a few days later to get the harness on him. Big mistake. To a pig, the only thing that pins it down is a predator in the process of killing it. It didn’t trust or like me again for quite a while. Pigs never forget. MrsC5 hadn’t been the one to pin him so she had to take over trust building with the pig. I was the big bad wolf.

Trust got rebuilt as he realised there was benefits to this arrangement. In fact, we are onto a new phase of his training. While I write this, he is off leash outside. This is new and has had its own problems we are working out. He gets a few hours of wandering free now
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Ross Raven
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Back to early raising. He started in a small enclosure. Two days later, the entire enclosure had been tilled. We were amazed. This little pig was a tilling machine…and the wheels in my head started to turn once more. Anyone who has ever tried to till a garden by hand knows that is not as simple as first envisioned and your first real fear of possibly having a heart attack. People try to get around this back breaking work with deep mulching or cardboard mulching on any other way to avoid tilling. We suddenly had a non gas powered tilling machine. A single minded eating machine. The implications were huge. Then came the next training. I built a small fenced square that could be moved and place it where I wanted tilled. Getting a leash on the pig was the next problem. Remember, he didn’t trust me now…and I once again had to wrestle him to get the leash on. But I did and then walked him over to the new enclosure. He went right in and started tilling. Pigs are smart. He knew the enclosure was his safe place. We had to leave the leash on him and he just dragged it around for several months because it was easier to grab the leash than try to pin him to get it on. What a change to today. Now he comes up to the fence to say, “Please leash me because I want to go out. He is easier to leash than my dogs. It only took about three days for the pig to figure the leash thing out. He figured out that I was taking him to a new place for him to till. Let the healing begin.

Slowly his leash got longer when we tied a rope to it. He got attached to the fence or a tire. Unlike most pigs, he got to go places. It wasn’t long before the next big experiment. After a few beers I decided it was time to walk him to the top of the property. The pig, the dogs…and the cat. The cat had already embraced these walks. She knew if she walked in the fields she was hawk food so to explore further she would have to chase the dogs for safety. This was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. A small multi species commune on a walk, bound together for mutual support. The pig was curious enough to follow on this new adventure. It was going fine…until the kitty decided it would be fun to stalk the pig. Understand, the pig had grown fast…but even with this huge size difference, the pig’s instincts kicked in. Instinctually, pigs seem to know that big cats are its major predator. This tiny kitty was death incarnate….and he yanked me home at a run to the safety of his safe enclosure.

As spring turned to summer and heat increased, we knew we had to get him out of the sun as leaving him tied in the field was cruel. apple tree training had begun. We wanted some of the undergrowth under the trees cleared out. Air flow for tree health, a soft place for apples to land and ease of access, and eventually the goal - bring the pig to the food instead of bringing the food to the pig. As a bonus, interrupting the worm cycle of them surviving in the ground again after the apples fall. We still had to trim out all of the undergrowth to keep him from getting tangled…and boy, can that pig ever get himself tangled.

Which gets us to one of the down sides of this type of pig raising. It’s way more labour intensive. A pig is a social animal. It\s cruel to have a single pig unless YOU are willing to be its social pig herd. You have to be around. You have to check up on it regularly. You have to adjust his harness every few days because they grow so fast. If you don’t…that harness will strangle him or chafe his skin causing cuts and lesions so you really have to invest the time of touching and handling him. And you have to be there to hear him squeal when he gets himself tangled, which he will. If we go out someplace, he has to go back in his stall so we don’t come home to a strangled or panicked, traumatised pig. Your main garden will need a sturdy fence because the pig is going to escape occasionally. Pigs are uber smart and driven by hunger. Mr. Wu learned how to open the fence gate within a short period. He pushes open doors, lifts, raised gates, tests every possible escape route. I’ve even seen him try to lift the rope that ties the gate shut because he knows it slides into place.

Your pig WILL escape. Getting him back in his pen takes some simple training that is easy. Tie a bear bell to the feed bucket. He knows if he hears that bell, glorious food awaits and food is his single driving force. The bell sends him frothing
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Ross Raven
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Now, the next big problem. All this hands on relationship completely changes the relationship. It had always been, I pop this guy in the fall and he goes in the freezer. Then that day came when he plopped down onto my feet and rolled over to have his belly scratched, exposing himself in the same way my dogs would. The second time he did it…I went, “You Bastard. You are going to fuck me up. How can I shoot you?” Now that was always the intension. He was always food and had a time limit. I am “Survivalist enough” that I could shoot and eat my dogs if I had too…but doing so would hurt my soul and I would have to carry that. Now the pig trusts and loves me as if he were one of my dogs. I can do it if I have to…but don’t ask me to. I need a friend that is not invested emotionally in him to pop him for me. I can handle the rest. I just can’t handle betraying him. This is a common problem for pig farmers. Because of this, a common practice is to trade pigs with another farmer. Killing and eating a pig is fine. Killing and eating the one you became emotionally involved with can be difficult.

Then Mr. Wu got a lease on life. An execution reprieve. The same prepper team member that we got him from was so impressed with his size and personality…that he encouraged us to keep him for a few years as a breeder. He had decided to go purchase a sow and together, we would breed our own pigs. To cover our loss of winter food, he would share half of his own boar. Now we are going from zero experience to pig breeder. There will be much more to learn.

Speaking of learning…or our lack thereof, we found out just yesterday that our pig is not suitable for rotational grazing. We would need a different type of pig for that. Grazing pigs will eat grass. Mr. Wu has never been interested in eating grass. He is a rooter. If you want to have grass fed pigs…you need a pig that eats grass. Ours isn’t it. Grass is just in the way. He wants the worms, grubs and field mice. We are really disappointed by what he won’t eat. Our intension had been to winter him on carrots and Jerusalem artichokes. He is not interested. Our next experiment will be trying to boil them on the woodstove overnight to see if he will eat them cooked…but we don’t know yet. The experiment continues. So know your pig. Until then he will partial winter on apples and squashes we have stored all over the house. And pig rations but the goal is to get him fully off pig feed. We need food that we don’t have to drive to. Food produced right here.

Ours roots so we are using him as a rooter. He is a cold weather breed so he will be out for the winter with a shelter he can go into as a dry place to sleep and escape the wind. We fenced a temporary winter enclosure that our intension is to be an extension to our garden. We wanted to move the garden closer to the house so we have to walk less which really does take up a lot of our farming time. Walking back and forth really does consume time when added up over the year so we have to streamline our calorie and time expenditures. Of course that means expending more time to build him a new area next year. His previous pen is devoid of all life and hard. Yes, all weeds are gone…but so are the worms that are also tillers. Eventually, we will have to introduce new bugs by adding hay as mulch to bring the soil back to life.
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Ross Raven
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So. A pig on a leash. A pig with a job. A pig I can take places. A pig to remove rats. A pig I can release to intimidate trespassers. LOL. A pig that produces life dependent winter fat. A Post-Apocalyptic Permaculture Pig. That’s all I got. I hope you can make use of this information
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jimmy gallop
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One of the best post I have read in a while BIG THANKS
 
Nicole Alderman
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You get an apple for that epic picture. The info is great, too, don't get me wrong. But, the picture is just pure awesomeness!

P.S. Sorry you cannot feed this apple to your pig. It only feeds egos...or warm-fuzzy feelings...or something like that!
 
David Livingston
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have you no acorns to stock up on for the winter also beech mast and maple seeds ?
 
Ross Raven
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Nicole Alderman wrote:You get an apple for that epic picture. The info is great, too, don't get me wrong. But, the picture is just pure awesomeness


Thanks everyone. That all started on another network. When I told the kitty, dogs and pig walking story, an acquaintance replied, " " Charlotte's Web? Babe the Pig? A Tale of Two Kitties? Booooring. Nope, the movie I'd go see is... Cern, the Pig Walker.
I picture Mel Gibson in his Mad Max outfit with a giant wild boar on a chain leash."
Well, I hadn't done anything artistic in a while...and I just happened to have the outfit.....I think I am going to reshoot this next year once he is twice as big. Now that will be awesome.

Alas, no acorn producing oaks in the area though I have planted a few that may be ready long after I am dead. I cant say I have ever had much success with Canadian acorns for human consumption. The tannin level is way to high and any attempts at leaching has still produced inedibility. Its part of that Knowing in the biblical vrs Knowing in the porn sense problem. The good news is our particular pig devours green tomatoes and I hear other pigs wont
 
David Livingston
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Pigs here in europe eat acorns like they were going out of fashion and they have really high tannin levels Its the easy way to eat oak . Very traditional in most of europe from france germany spain UK etc
The wild boar visit the Park where I live just for that purpose
 
Jay Grace
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I could see this as an indy movie I stumble upon on YouTube.
Post apocalyptic Canadian with a 1000 lb boar hog on a little pink leash.

Cut scene. Canadian sitting around a campfire at night two strangers approach. Conversation starts obvious the strangers have intentions of robbing said Canadian. Canadian says you can have those bags but Papp might disagree.
Strangers look around nervously thinking Canadian was alone. Canadian says I'm the only person here Papp is just a pig!
The strangers laugh and grab the gear and start to walk off.. A boulder that the canadian was leaning on starts to move. Enter Papp the war pig. A playful bounce and Papp is up and running after the strangers. Screams of terror ensue from the woods.

What do 1000lb hogs eat? Anything they can catch...


It would be an awesome movie!
 
Bethany Dutch
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Yes about a couple paragraphs in I thought THIS GUY BETTER GET AN APPLE OR TWO FOR THIS POST

Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic.
 
Tyler Omand
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Totally the best post I have ever read! Thank you for sharing!
 
Ross Raven
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Wow. Is my already over inflated ego...inflating to Pigzilla proportions.

To be fair, THIS is the most impressive post I ever saw...anywhere. The one on gleying http://www.permies.com/t/38201/ponds/Progress-Gleying-Pond-Pigs
Its well worth a revisit.

Good News... Jon Helms wins the bonus round for guessing why we named the pig Mr. Wu. He is only the second ever to figure out my somewhat dark sense of humour. Hint. It has something to do trespassing hunters disrespecting my Authoriton.
 
Rick English
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Great story!

A few years back I read a very entertaining book about a pet full-sized pig:
The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery
 
Erik Krieg
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Nice post. How do you deal with parasites? The only issue with pig tillers is the potential to drop parasites into your garden area. The worms/eggs can survive for years is my understanding. And several are transferable to humans. I guess it's not a problem if you cook all vegetables but stuff like greens?
 
Ross Raven
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Im running out of talking to new people energy but I wanted to give one more quick note while this is still on peoples minds encase I disappear for a while . I wanted to give a word of warning. Safety stuff. Remember, I said I am an amateur at this pig stuff. Not an expert... and we are talking about a Boar here...so you do have to keep in mind that it is sort of like making friends with a bull... or me for that matter. We are complex bundles of ancient instincts, hormones and luggage.

We also learned what the term, Pig Headed means. When he is at something he wants...he is all instinct and cannot be dissuaded. Slaps, punches or kicks will not change his mind. He is just too solid to feel any of that...and he will only get bigger.

So it is important for us all to not "Babe, The Pig" this story too much. There is a reason why pig farmers bring a pointy stick when interacting with there hogs...and occasionally a pig eats a farmer...or a child.

I was waiting to hear back from someone that sent a private note. Since I haven't heard back from him I wont use his name...but his note is worth you all reading as a cautionary tale to put some balance into my story. It read,

"Hey, really enjoyed your post about MR Woo
BUT
I have a friend who had a very very nice boar who would do the roll and scratch thing
Mine did that too.
But one day his pig went into "rut" (that's what they call it)
And his friendly li'l 80-90kg pal sent a tusk UNDER his KNEECAP and chased him up a pecan tree
he escaped, eventually and spent 10 days in hospital
He advised me to dispatch my uncastrated boar, and I did, once he got scary (which was after his lady friend gave birth)
Maybe if you never breed with him, he'd be ok, I don't know.
But I just wanted to give you this heads up.

I have a four month old uncastrated boar which I am going to swap with another neighbour who has the same
and after I'm sure the work is done, I'll dispatch him, which will probably be in six months.

I'll be sad, but me and my kids will be safe"

Well, My public service announcement is done. Like most things, You have to weigh the risk to benefit part. You have to assess your own abilities and manage risk. A chainsaw is extremely dangerous. Its also damned useful. So, it has to be used with caution and respect.

 
Michael Newby
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Ross Raven wrote:To be fair, THIS is the most impressive post I ever saw...anywhere. The one on gleying http://www.permies.com/t/38201/ponds/Progress-Gleying-Pond-Pigs
Its well worth a revisit.


Wow, I'm glad that you like it so much, thanks for the shout-out. Any pond sites on your land that might get the same treatment?

As far as keeping the pig secure while rotating it around the property we had really good success with about $100 worth of solar electric fencing with two lines, one a couple inches off the ground and another a little more than a foot off the ground. Like you said, pigs are smart, they learn real quick not to touch the little rope that zaps 'em.
 
Ross Raven
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When I first started writing this, I was in the middle of a health crisis. I figured I had a responsibility to pass this on fast. C5 Rule of Survival- If your only goal is Survival...You have a ZERO percent chance of success. Live a good life. Its far easier to live with.

Rumours of my demise were greatly exaggerated.

Soooo. I still have a responsibility to continue this post. Good news. Mr. Wu cruncher on some Jerusalem Artichokes or Sunchokes recently and...finally...decided he liked them. With winter approaching, I guess a complex carbohydrate and starch became appealing. Double good news because sunchokes are highly invasive. They are an ultimate survival food for guerilla gardeners. Old School survivalism. Plant and forget. But highly envasive. You will never fully dig them out.

Im hoping, now that he recognises them...I can get him to dig them himself. Pig to the food instead of food to the pig. Until then, Im storing them in buckets, for the winter, of half sunchokes and half dirt.

I'll keep you posted
 
Ross Raven
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There we have it. Now that he recognises sunchokes as food...he IS digging them himself...and a new weapon I can use to fight back the jeruselem artichokes from taking over and killing all other plants. I wonder if that is why they call them Sun Chokes
 
Ross Raven
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I have a teaser for you folks. Mr Wu's two new girlfriends arrived a couple days ago.

Here is the teaser. He now walks them. He has been teaching them...

I'll write more soon
 
John Weiland
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@Ross: "It had always been, I pop this guy in the fall and he goes in the freezer. Then that day came when he plopped down onto my feet and rolled over to have his belly scratched, exposing himself in the same way my dogs would. The second time he did it…I went, “You Bastard. You are going to fuck me up. How can I shoot you?”.."

Greetings Ross,

Don't really know where I am....with regards to the meat/vegan thing. Hunter-gatherers clearly have solved this dilemma a bit better: Today I am the hunter, tomorrow maybe the hunted. My wife "sanctuaries" pigs, both the pot-bellied kind up to several hundred pound farm pigs. Many of both kinds have wandered through the house at one time or another. All boars on the property are neutered which has eliminated any hostilities of real concern. Still, a 700 lb Yorkie pinning you accidentally against a wooden beam will snuff you out as fast as any other means, hostile or friendly. But the main point is one that you've already come to realize....pretty hard to part with "family", which in many cases is what they become. Popping your neighbors stock is, of course, a time-honored tradition...again, for the reasons you indicated. For the record, wife and I do kill and eat chickens....mostly unruly roosters, either by direct whack on the head or with one or another form of gun. But they do enjoy serious free-ranging before that happens from out of the blue.

"We wanted pigs because pigs were going to be the only way to get the necessary fat intake to survive a Canadian winter without slowly starving to death."

This is where, as a permie, I would take a serious look at the dietary diversity and history of the native cultures of your region. Somehow, all of those indigenous cultures were grooving along just fine without Euro foods. (Wife and I joke about how all the "fun" foods came from the New World. After eating only root crops for centuries, is there any wonder why Europe went through so many wars?? ) I'm betting Mr. Wu would love to do the library runs and internet searches for you on alternative replacement sources of fat and protein for surviving your climate. My parents, both having grown up on pig farms, just shake their heads. But that is the nature of change: They wouldn't know a rocket mass heater from Sputnik!
 
Ross Raven
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John Weiland wrote:@Ross: "It had always been, I pop this guy in the fall and he goes in the freezer. Then that day came when he plopped down onto my feet and rolled over to have his belly scratched, exposing himself in the same way my dogs would. The second time he did it…I went, “You Bastard. You are going to fuck me up. How can I shoot you?”.."


This is where, as a permie, I would take a serious look at the dietary diversity and history of the native cultures of your region. Somehow, all of those indigenous cultures were grooving along just fine without Euro foods. (Wife and I joke about how all the "fun" foods came from the New World. After eating only root crops for centuries, is there any wonder why Europe went through so many wars?? ) I'm betting Mr. Wu would love to do the library runs and internet searches for you on alternative replacement sources of fat and protein for surviving your climate.


I'm alittle short on typing energy at the moment. I seem to shut down over the winter...but I thought I would nip this before talking about Mr Wu being a chick magnet.

Goddess bless the First Nations. In My Blessing the First nations...we really have to ditch the myth of returning to " dietary diversity and history of the native cultures of your region. Somehow, all of those indigenous cultures were grooving along just fine without Euro foods". I have written about this recently enough but should badger it again. Those food sources ARE GONE...and have been for quite a while.

Example. The First Nations in my region...in pre colonial invasion days...a staple food source was the passenger pidgin. I bring it up because most people recognise the name and that it is now extinct....but that doesn't really paint the real picture. Try to imagine the sky so thick with passenger pigeons and other fat filled foul that it would occasionally block out the sun. Imagine Fish stocks so thick that they would occasionally stop fishing boats against a wall and fishermen reporting they could walk on them. Seals in the billions...etc

Those day are gone. Trying to return to those days is a false narrative. The forests are now mono cultures...ad a shitload of people. I'm not dissing traditional skills...just pointing out the obvious. Most of the species we take for granted almost went extinct or actually did go extinct in areas during the Great Depression and had to be reintroduced with the hunting rules we have today. There is ALOT more people today. I use American Numbers to get my point across.
C5 Rule of Survival- "30 million Deer in America. 300 million people. One deer per person per month strictly rationed. You do the math and Prep accordingly."
I'm not trying to be an argumentative dick. Im trying to save peoples lives that are looking at ...being a fake indian...as a survival fall back option. The First Nations have plenty to teach us. Philosophy. Community. Endurance. Unfortunately they can also teach us about starvation...and the death of a culture because of it. The invaders destroyed the food source to destroy the culture.

Now imagine 300 million hungry people deciding going after 30 million deer is a good idea. In a real modern crisis....Ild give the deer about two weeks before they were extinct....forever. Other species follow.

Sooooooooo......Pigs......and community. Its why I make my life harder than it has to be. LOL

After that serious note.......my next pig post should be fun again.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Ross, I see your point, but the way I see it , after I look around at most of those 300 million folks, I am betting that 3/4 of them will be gone within a couple of months as they have no idea how to live without everything being delivered to their front door.

Maybe the deer will stand a chance after all? :
 
Ross Raven
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Ross, I see your point, but the way I see it , after I look around at most of those 300 million folks, I am betting that 3/4 of them will be gone within a couple of months as they have no idea how to live without everything being delivered to their front door.

Maybe the deer will stand a chance after all? :


Humans are tenacious. That's how we find ourselves at this piece of history, finding ourselves the victims of our own success. Consider the Syrian Refugee crisis. They didn't go quietly into the deep. They moved!

Its only the beginning. Future climate refugees will make this look like some boring historical subnote that most without history professor credentials will yawn at. We are only getting started. http://www.peakprosperity.com/video/85829/playlist/92161/crash-course-chapter-4-compounding-problem

I'm not the only one that figured out the wilderness calorie problem. Hey. Most of my early survival studies were solely based around historic First Nation lifestyle arrangements... But about the same time I was beginning to question this (can my survival experience produce Actual Survival)...other random people were coming to the same conclusion. There was a "Hundredth Monkey" thing going on. While I was pointing out the C5- 300 million problem...others put it better...and I wish I could take responsibility for the far better way of looking at it that floated around several preparedness communities.

It was presented in several circles...and it was directed at Hunters that were very good at hunting. Not the rest of the people with a gun or bow or pointy stick that plan on hunting for survival . "Consider Hunting on the very last day of hunting season. Your chance are slim". Now add everyone else with the same plan.

Back to the "Hundredth Monkey" thang. About the same time I was getting it, others were getting it as well. Here is a FANTASIC one talking about calories in the woods. http://woodtrekker.blogspot.ca/2013/09/living-off-land-delusions-and.html
 
Ross Raven
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LOL. Listen to me being all Survivalist Nerd....hahaha. Crunching the numbers. At this point...I'm just playing "Catch Up"...which is why I am at PERMIES instead of other dorky boards. Here, there is plenty for me to learn...of the stuff I didn't bother to learn earlier.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Ross Raven wrote: Imagine Fish stocks so thick that they would occasionally stop fishing boats against a wall and fishermen reporting they could walk on them. Seals in the billions...etc


Thank you for reminding me of this. I remember, back around 6th grade, they took us to a salmon hatchery. I can still picture my class standing there, staring at the water, and the instructor saying that, during the salmon runs, natives could walk across the salmon's backs. There were that many salmon. Now, you go to the same river at the same season, and it's "Oh, wow, a FISH! ..... oh, look, ANOTHER FISH.... .... ... this is amazing, I see another fish!" You think it's impressive to see 10 fish in a minute (rather than the normal zero), which is NOTHING compared to what it once was.

While I still have this understanding ingrained in my mind, I had never really applied it to living self-sustaining like natives did. You can't be self-sustaining like them--at least not on their protein sources, at the percentages they did. You need to create and care for your own. Thank you for pointing that out.
 
John Weiland
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@RossRaven: "....my next pig post should be fun again."

This is what pigs do to you after you live with them for a while. Yesterday, one of our large white Yorkies was spinning around with glee in the snow along with the dogs. One of his predecessors, now deceased, really enjoyed days after heavy snow as the plume from the snow-blowers would reign buckets of snow down on him while he clearly enjoyed running back and forth through the snow. Ultimately, he would collapse in heap on the largest pile of snow and flail his legs about like he was trying to make a pig version of a snow angel! But there is a different "Zen" side to pigs: They can be so maddeningly destructive that you have to find a way to "calmingly detach" from them having destroyed the hinges on the gate, for having rooted a hole the size of Crater Lake in your pasture, or in one case for having dented in the side of the brand-new pickup truck simply by rubbing against it....quite hard! You find new sources for "laughter" within you after dealing with that.

From your Woodtrekker link: "I don’t write this to discourage anyone from attempting the challenge, nor do I believe it to be impossible. In this post I am simply attempting to provide some more solid data that can be used to make a realistic evaluation of exactly what it would take ****to thrive alone in the wilderness****. As Thayer writes: “In a long-term subsistence situation, food is the priority. In former times, the native people of the Far North planned each move according to food availability... In a short-term survival situation, food is of minor importance. However, in long-term survival or “living off the land,” it is of paramount importance.”.....There was a time when men who ventured into the wilderness knew what resources were required, and how much of them had to be brought along. Their accounts often refer to base camps, cabins, and food stocks being carried on horse back, mule train, or by dog sled teams. Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost the realistic grasp on those requirements, and were left with nothing more than romantic musings and conjecture. "

My asterisks were added. It's a tough area for discussion since a lot a reality slips through the cracks as you noted along with "The invaders destroyed the food source to destroy the culture". As a species, ....or at least a member of the species with a Western viewpoint,....we tend to think in apocalyptic ways. And cataclysmic events *can* happen, but more often than not, things change slowly. I'm not from an aboriginal culture with intimate knowledge of the land and its offerings, but I don't think "alone in the wilderness" would be a good description of how they perceived themselves either as a tribe or as an individual tribe member who was travelling. As a culture that is driven by the notions of "individuality" and hero-worship, our Western outlook tends to view our life/lifestyle as revolving around our self and our immediate family. Would be interesting if a First Nations person were here on the Forum who could weigh in from their own cultural perspective and how that would change the debate on caloric needs, effort expended, etc. One would need to relearn the notion of barter and negotiation if things went south, along with the more survivalist basics. If people started pouring out of the cities, I guess my thinking is somewhere between your own notion and that given by Miles F. above. But I don't know how much good it does to worry about those particular scenarios and perhaps more fruitful to bring concern to embedding yourself within a more livable situation as you are already doing.

Ultimately, like you said "Humans are tenacious." and they find ways to survive. I'm just fascinated by cultures that were able to do this without domestication and in ways that did not decimate resources. Our 7 billion plus world population represents vision fueled by the confluence of oil and agriculture. By "attrition" or otherwise, no reason why those numbers have to stay so high. The good thing about a Forum like this, as you indicated, is how relatively quickly new ideas and solutions can be brought into one's personal operational sphere.....so many cool things here at Permies that help in this movement.

P.S....Do you mean Mr. Wu is a "Human Chick" magnet or a magnet for other sows in the Province? If the former, how am I ever going to get a full-size Yorkshire into the passenger side of my Toyota RAV4?

....................................................................................................................................................................
"At that time there were still indians camped on the western plains and late in the day he passed in his riding a scattered group of their wickiups propped upon that scoured and trembling waste. They were perhaps a quarter mile to the north, just huts made from poles and brush with a few goathides draped across them. The indians stood watching him. He could see that none of them spoke among themselves or commented on his riding there nor did they raise a hand in greeting or call out to him. They had no curiosity about him at all. As if they knew all that they needed to know. They stood and watched him pass and watched him vanish upon that landscape solely because he was passing. Solely because he would vanish." -- Cormac McCarthy, "All the Pretty Horses".
 
Eliza McNannay
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Thanks for sharing this great adventure!

Pigs have been my favorite farm animal to raise, BY FAR!!
Thought I would love raising steers more and then got the first four piggies. I was sold!
And, oh - they taste soooooo delicious!

Just harvested this years hog. Did all the cut and wrap ourselves, as well as all the on-going smoking (bacon/ham...) and sausage making/seasoning.

Enjoy reading your posts!

Keep up the work... It is ALL good!
 
Ross Raven
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Thanks. I'm not quite ready to talk about "The Girls" yet. I'm lacking inspiration...but something came up on the other subject this post branched off onto. Deer. First nations. Starvation. I've posted before about the "Snowpocalypse" we had last winter. I Dinner partied with a few of my "Crew" a couple days ago. It was nice to talk with people about "The walking dead" and " The Tudor Farm" series without it being "Weird". A new comer wanted to talk about how "Fractional Reserve Banking" and "Debt based Currency" almost made him throw up when he was exposed to it the first time. I assured him, there was no one in this room that didn't understand the concept he was facing. C5 Rule of Survival-" The single Most valuable Survival Skill is...The Dinner Party". One of our most trusted members was there and that is why we were there. Now, when we met him,...he was a bit sketchy...sort of like myself. He had been festering in his disillusionment of the system and his, exploited place in it. He could have been one of those angry white males that we all fear will shoot up a mall or join a militia. I remember talking to another contact and us going, Why do we do this, being exposed "survivalist" elders. Being ridiculed, potentially monitored, picking fights in the prepper community and making damn sure we win them, reaching out to the ones that can be saved. I responded, " Because if we don't do it, the fucking Arian Nations will scoop up any of the angry ones that slip through our grasps". Its a bit dramatic but true. Somewhere along the line I became an elder with responsibilities to those that come after. The good friend I am talking about is one. I remember pulling him aside at another dinner party and saying, "Ya, I know its weird but I wanted to say, I feel like I have had the privilege to watch you growing up into being a man. You are less angry and more confident. I have watched you mature". he replied, "You have no idea how angry I was. I thought I was alone in all this. Simply having someone else to talk with about all this stuff made it less dire. You two accepting me and giving other fall back options changed everything".

I only bring this up for context.

Because he thought he was alone (in his food procurement) he studied with some old trappers. He is a deep woods hunter and tracker...and he is GOOD. I watched him as he tracked. I trained myself to track humans and see different things than he sees. I see holistic animal flows over years where he sees individual tracks. He knows where the animals should be...so he can find squirrel tracks where I cant be bothered to look. He hasn't bought meat in...forever. Part of his year is to fill up the freezer with things most would turn up their nose to. His daughter doesn't think mutch of beef steak because she is used to better...

context.

At the last dinner party, I asked him how his fall hunt went. He said, "I got nothing"
Last winter decimated the deer. Decimated is the wrong word. That connotes one in ten dying. The deer die off was 60%. Everyone was happy in the spring because deer were everywhere. Unfortunately it turns out because they were starving. They died in the spring because they couldn't put the weight back on. When the deer died, so did the coyotes and coywolves. I was wondering why they were less of a problem this year.

Last year, The semi local First Nation communities were facing food shortages. The frosts and ice made it impossible to sneak up on game. First nations from provinces over got word and brought trailers of food to the effected reserves. I found that sort of inspiring.

Use this info as you will in your decision making of how to survive in the future.
 
Ross Raven
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So, This is what I meant by Mr Wu being a chick magnet...

Clearly, so am I. Now that she sees that Mr woo loves me, and he taught her what to do...she now follows me. She used to be soooo sketchy, trusting no one. Now that is gone completely. She looks at me with loving eyes and is first up to be scratched. Mr Wu taught her how to like humans
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Ross Raven
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Inspired by Mr Wu, her owner trained little Shilo on a harness.
And here is Mr Wu teaching the girls to dig sunchokes.
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Ross Raven
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And this would be the new "Winter Fat Upgrade"
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John Weiland
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@ARoss: "And this would be the new "Winter Fat Upgrade"..."..... Ducks and geese would probably not be a bad substitute.

If the pigs aren't heading to the freezer or sausage rack, just remember that between the manure they produce and other bennies, they are still earning their keep. And if real desperation sets in, they will be that survival food source that they've provided agriculturalists and hunters for thousands of years.
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Ross Raven
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Well, during "the Special Period" in Cuba, often referred to as "The Mini Peak Oil" as the soviet union collapsed and could no longer subsidise oil deliveries to the island nation... and the average weight loss was around 20 pounds.... Cats almost completely "disappeared".
I don't know. That cat doesn't look like it would have much fat on it and it would be very gamey and hard to choke down and......oh...

OOOOOOOH.... You were talking about something completely different? Weren't You?....er..



Soooooo, How about that regional sports group? Do you think they got a chance at that big trophy thingy?....

NINJA SMAOKE BOMB!......
 
John Weiland
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@RRaven: "That cat doesn't look like it would have much fat on it and it would be very gamey and hard to choke down...."

Yeah...agreed...but in the boom and bust that is rural living, the mouse population this fall had a hey-day and the cats are more well fed.... I'm thinking cat-leg would look a bit like those skewered bbq chicken items that most Asian buffet restaurants have these days.....you know, next to the tray of General Tso's deep-fried and syrupy-sucrose-encrusted niblets.

"How about that regional sports group? Do you think they got a chance at that big trophy thingy?"

....They are colloquially known as the "Minnesota ViQueens".....and no, once again, they "snatched defeat from the jaws of victory". Big trophy thingy eludes them once more! It's like a bad romance...each January I vow never again to be suckered. Then fall season arrives...and hope springs eternal and we woo each other once more! Been goin' on for 40 of my 50 years now...... ::

On a more relevant note, the coyote population has worked its way into all facets of North American human colonization, from urban to rural. Sus scrofa is on its way to doing the same, and would be a far more tasty critter to cull for the occasional meal. The following article has the usual hyperbole about wild pig damage to the landscape and disease concerns of the domestic (concentrated) hog industry: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-wild-pigs-ravaging-the-u-s-be-stopped/

But if you read between the lines, it's becoming apparent that, like in other parts of the world, wild pigs are moving out....in this case northward and colonizing a lot more area. Don't know how far north in Russia or in Europe they range, but I gotta think in the warmer regions of Canada, they would do fine. Then a hunting season could be developed like exists for deer and other wild game. Seems silly to have huge Federal programs spend so much to do the culling.

 
John Weiland
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Ross R., I can't recall if you mentioned what breed Mr. Wu is? He almost looks Ossabaw...(?). (We had two Ossabaws at one point and named them Lursa and Betor, in honor of the Klingon sisters from Star Trek TNG. As befit their namesakes, they were always getting into one type of trouble or another.) Senor Wu is a fine lookin' dude for sure, along with the entourage.

Also,...is the floor of your attached greenhouse below grade (below ground)? Thanks....
 
Mick Fisch
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I had a problem with putting my goats down. Thought it wouldn't bother me, but when it came time to do the deed I found they were individuals I knew, usually liked and enjoyed watching. Maybe I should have waited until they really ticked me off by getting out of their pen again and ignoring the weed trees and killing another $30 dollar fruit tree that was just getting ready to produce fruit. I also found I didn't want to put down my egg chickens for meat when the time came, but I didn't mind putting down the cross rocks my sun-in-law and daughter raised for meat. I guess it was because I didn't waste any extra attention on them and viewed them as "the meat flock" instead of noticing them individually.

If I needed to kill something, I could, but the reality is I don't NEED to kill anything right now, so I'm less willing.

It doesn't bother me to shoot a "stranger" (meaning a wild animal). I theorize I need to maintain a critical emotional distance between myself and my meat animals.

Does anyone else have some observations on this?
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