Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday Chores

Sunday was my day for chores and it was enjoyable, as it often is, with no other work pushing in and demanding attention. There is something pretty nice about having the time to watch the sows and calves eat their rations. Temperatures were a little warmer, so there was no problem with frozen drinkers and I could make the rounds of the hog feeding groups checking for bedding, pig comfort and health. I ran the tarp up on the north end of the hoop where the biggest group is to help the little breeze clear the steam rising from the bedding out before it encourages pneumonia.

A slow walk through the pasture where the close up and breeding heifers are getting their winter hay showed that the warmer weather pushed their appetite down a little, good news for the hay inventory. We are just done with farrowing this group of sows so the barns are full of pigs suckling and sows eating a lot. Nothing that had to be dealt with. Later, in the evening, I found two calves with their heads stuck in the sheep hay feeder that I use for the youngest calves. I helped them out, closed them and the others into the barn so they didn't panic at some sound during the night, and made a mental note that it is time to move them up to the next hay feeder and put the sheep feeders away until the next batch of little ones arrive. I rolled the tarp back down on the feeding hoop and called it a day. Sometimes a Sunday chores is just as good as a Sunday off.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

After this toughest Fall in memory, winter has settled in for real. We have by now torn up all the hay and straw moving equipment we fixed last summer from the previous winter's damage and must start emergency repairs. The main problem is that it rained most of the Fall and then when the temperature dropped in Winter, everything froze solid to the ground. Farming is, as most people know, not easy.

It is not easy either, to cope with some of the machinations that go with our food system. You should know that we have been notified by the company which makes the non-chemical premix we have just started using for our new sausages that they will cease production as they have been notified by another premix company of its intention to patent the process and the bacteria used. While we are hopeful that the US Patent Office will not participate in such foolishness, we are nevertheless on notice to watch the process unfold as we go back to the drawing board for our sausage recipes. We will keep you posted.

But here's an upper: Our bacon got notice in the Metro magazine! "The winner: Pastures A Plenty's thick cut bacon for its precise balance. It's a textbook example of what bacon is supposed to be." Hooray for our side! Thanks for your support. Stay warm.

Jim Van Der Pol, for
Pastures A Plenty