Absolutely beautiful! Those little pork-choppers look so healthy and strong. And your girls look happy working the compost pile. Where are you getting all your compostables? That's quite a pile (or rather, series of piles).
What is your water source? Growing enough fodder for all that livestock will certainly take some irrigation, I would imagine.
Are you anywhere near the fires that are ripping their way through wine country? From the landscape, it looks very similar. Stay safe.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
Thanks, everyone. There is a fire pretty close to us in West Point, in Calaveras County. Last I checked it was 90 percent contained. We have a few acres around the house with a barn and some small outbuildings. The goats and birds are here all the time. Our hogs that are close to farrowing are kept here. We keep them here until we wean and train all the little ones to electric fence. Then we move them to another place down the road, it's forested with black oaks, pines, madrones, maples and quite a few other species of trees. The land has been selectively logged twice in the last twenty years and just cleaned up two seasons ago. We are running the hogs through trying to clear the under story and keep it cleaned up. We have kept more hogs at the house this summer using them to terrace a half acre we are planting to perennial gardens. The one picture is a row of Jerusalem artichokes Meagan planted in the spring. Keeping the extra hogs this summer we've raked lots of manure hence the large compost piles. The goal is to build some good soil for the gardens around the house. We have about a half acre meadow, but that isn't near enough fodder for what we are doing. Our hay comes from about 30 miles away, it is a mix of oats, clover and native perennial grasses. I'm working with my hay guy to plant some different mixes for me this coming year. The goats get lots of hay, we let them waste lots of it, then it gets raked out to the chickens and turkeys. They scratch through it, then it goes on top of the garden beds and what ever else needs mulch. Mulch matters. We stay very busy and always have multiple ongoing projects.
Anything over 120 square foot you need a permit. We have an ag exemption though so we could build a barn I believe. Luckily the place already had about enough barn space for us. I think we'll end up with a big shipping container sooner or later to keep stuff dry and rodent free.
I don't always make ham and eggs for breakfast but when I do I make it in the backyard. I've been on the road, drove to Texas and headed back again the end of this week. Taking these hogs to the butcher first. Five barrows and two mean sows.
I’m back! I’ve been in Texas with no internet for the last four months. Got back to the farm and we took thirteen barrows in to butcher, they averaged 290 lbs each. I’m trying to get a chicken coop built so we can get the 120 chicks out of the garage. We’ve also had four gilts farrow for the first time, so we have lots of little piggies on the ground.
I love how goats can eat cedar. And as a bonus, if they need a worming, the cedar will do it for them.
I have also heard of cases where goats will intentionally browse cedar and other highly odourous, essential oil-bearing plants if they sense they need medicine, just in case your goats are trying to warn you of something.
Love the pics, keep 'em coming. Keep us posted.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
We’ve used some pigs to help terrace beside our barn. We use electric fence to rotate them thru and replant after they move to the next. Before the space was over run with star thistle and nothing would grow. We replant daikon, turnips, clover, mustard, vetch and rye. We are about to rotate them back through and try and plant a summer garden and more cover crops.
These are great examples of farming with pigs, thank you. They look very robust and healthy. Did I miss it in the thread... what breed are they?
Your goats are great too. Love seeing the examples of them foraging. They look so happy and healthy. Do you milk them? Can you taste the cedar?
I'm very intrigued by how people incorporate pigs into farming. They are such powerful and assertive animals, maybe the most impactful animals in modern farming... That's a debate that could be entertaining. It always seems to me that their voraciousness could get out of hand quickly. But there are so many good examples of successes like yours. Back in Oregon, I used to buy lard from a family who raised forest pigs in a very sloped oak savannah. Those were really happy pigs and they seemed to make minimal impact. The land didn't smell, for example, and being sloped, it didn't seem to be losing topsoil or creating little "rivers" of unmanaged runoff. In Oregon, that says a lot.
On this thread Choosing What to Grow - What's Your Philosophy? Kyrt Ryder talks about using pigs as his tillage, and planting his garden behind them. Similar to what you have posted above in your latest pics, but with his vegetable garden plants. Also using pigs to plant in a really nifty way - feeding tomatoes to pigs, and the seeds then germinating in their poop. I was amazed that he noted that the pigs seem to aerate the soil, rather than compress it as they are doing this field clearing process. Have you found this to be the case on your soils?
In this thread Permaculture Hacks that Work Nicola Stachurski talks about pouring grains onto prickles (I think meaning prickly plants like thistles) and letting the chickens then eat them, decimating the thistles in the process. That reminds me of the old farmer practice of putting corn or anything edible into holes in a stump, and letting the pigs tear the stump apart to get to it. I noticed you mention above using the pigs to clear out the thistles... did you feel they worked better than goats would? Would that be because the pigs eat the roots?
I just love seeing how people incorporate animals, and Salatin-style, allow the animal to have their "animal-ness". Thank you so much for the pics. Please do keep sharing!
Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts. ~Wendell Berry
Chris, I have heard that cedar will keep worms away also. The goats get Molly’s natural wormer, and we don’t ever see anything in the fecal samples. So I’m hoping it all works as a preventative.
Kim, I have to make time and read up on those threads. We do milk and you can tell a difference when they are eating the trees. We mainly use the milk for cheese, it makes it taste like our place.
The pigs, if you can keep them where you want them, do a really great job tiling things up. They are Red Wattle and Red Wattle Large Black crosses. Right now we are using them to try and terrace all around our barn, so we can plant a small orchard. We have way more than our land could ever sustain at the moment, but they are serving their purpose for now.
This was the work of 5 sows and 23 piglets at 5 and 10 days. This will be our summer garden. It was planted to turnips, mustard, rye, clover and vetch.
Traded some pork chops for some salvia plants. My begonias finally sprouted last week. The sorrel is going to seed, it’s potted with tarragon and rue. After I harvest the seeds I’m going to divide all three. The tarragon will make a dozen plants and the rue and sorrel should make a few each. We scored 5 gallon rose bushes at Lowe’s on the clearance rack last week as well.
Hello! I’ve been slacking on posting, been pretty busy. We’ve butchered 27 hogs this summer. I’m taking five more to the abattoir in the morning, that will leave me with 105. We haven't had any rain since May, so it’s pretty dry around here. it should start raining in a few weeks so we are starting to prepare for it. Getting shelters prepped, getting garden beds ready for fall and winter greens and root vegetables, cleaning out the squash vines that are still going, feeding and watering all the stock, building fences, those are some of our daily tasks. My friend gave me a rabbit hutch with a buck and three does and two litters, 17 total. One of the mommas had kits four nights ago. The turkeys have raised some poults and a few of them are getting pretty big, we named one lucky boy Thanksgiving Dinner. Some of the broody hens hatched chicks, I think there are about ten new chickens running around. I’ve been working on all the cars, the Tahoe’s brakes were shot, we kept driving it till they al ost fell off. The new GMC 2500 has a short in it somewhere and they told me it’s not under warranty, I think it’s in the trailer wiring harness. I’m going through it and cleaning all the wiring up proper. We’ve been selling at 7 markets this summer, 4 of them are seasonal and the other three go all year. We make deliveries to Tahoe once a week also. Well here’s a little update and here are a few pics...
I can't believe its already October! We've been running around like crazy this summer. We were selling pork and eggs at 11 different farmers markets, we had 75 pigs butchered so far and have about another twenty scheduled before the holidays. We've bred our rabbits a few times and butchered about 30. We have about another 30 rabbits ready to butcher. The goats all had babies a few months ago, they are all doing well. I was milking for a few months but we didn't have a good schedule for milking. Some mornings I would milk at 3:30am some days at 7:30am and usually at 10pm every night. My girls were good with it. So we have 9 does and 10 bucks. We need to emasculate a few and we are trading a few for some hay with my hay guy. One is pregnant now and the rest are going to get bred this week. Our turkeys bred and we got two new hens that made it. The ravens and crows picked off lots of chicks and poults this year, we should have had about a 100 this year. The garden was a bust this year. I only got a few squash and pumpkins. We planted about 200 pepper, eggplant and tomato plants. the gophers and moles ate most of them, the turkeys and deer even more. We ended up canning about 5 gallons of pickles, a few quarts of eggplants, 10 lbs of tomatoes in the deep freezer and I fermented about 25 lbs of peppers. I got a lot of seeds from all my amaranth. We should have produced much more but we only watered 8 times all summer and didn't have any rain from May until Sept 25 and then a frost killed almost everything on the 1st of October. In all we have had a really good year and are getting ready for winter...