Monday, October 18, 2010


We are busy at work in addition to our end of the season cropping work with changing and improving our breeding and gestation facilities and handling. We have two main goals; first that we should be able to time the breeding and get enough sows with pig so that our farrowing areas remain full and second, that we are more able to feed our sow herd with perennial plants such as pasture, hay and silage. This means we need to be able to feed our regular haylage bales to the herd regularly in the winter, and that the sow herd needs access to the pasture at all times when the pasture is not too muddy. This part of it requires that we reorganize some of our lot and close to the farm yard fences as well as building perhaps a half mile of pasture lanes this fall and next spring. This is a fair amount of work, but we can see that maximizing the use of perennial feeds is becoming necessary for all classes of livestock for both environmental and economic reasons connected with fuel use. In a hog business, the place to start with that is the sow, who can digest much more forage than can the younger animals.

Last weekend, we took some of Saturday off to help our sister add an observation deck to her cabin on the Minnesota river. What a beautiful day in a beautiful place! Many hands really do make light work. Much of the day, a huge red tail hawk rode the thermals above us as we worked just under the bluff. Fringe benefit!

Friday, October 1, 2010

haying weather

We have finally gotten two days in a row of good hay curing weather, that is, the last two days of September. I am beginning to think we may be able to bale this crop dry without plastic bagging it by Monday next week. Who knew? It shouldn't have been possible this late. And the forecast is still good. We are checking our little field of organic soybeans to see if they can soon be harvested.

The cattle are about half way through their final rotation on the permanent grass and will need to go to the cropping fields to clean up residue and too short to cut hay in about two weeks. Next week we start work on converting one of our hog finishing hoops into a combination sow breeding and replacement gilt facility. It needs concrete flooring and will feature handy to use breeding pens and pasture access for the sow herd. This kind of improvement to make things both easier for us and better for the hogs has been a long time coming. When we started to make a decent living with the hogs due to the growing marketing business about ten years ago, we had to pay for quite a lot of prior debt. Now we relish the thought of getting on with improving things!

I wish I could see a way of improving some of what goes on with our country and its government. We are facing the necessity of voting for people who do not thrill us just to help keep the lunatic fringe from running the show. Corporate money poisons the politics. We cannot do more than put in a stop gap solution nationally at this point, if that, but we must begin to plan in a different direction.

I think it is critical that more and more of us have a basic security outside the national government. As long as we are so dependent upon what they do, the bankers have us all by the short hairs. We need to build families back together, surround them with working (beloved) communities and then build from that base to achieve functioning and relatively honest local and state government. This is important because we cannot sucessfully go to the national government with our hats in hand and beg. But if we come from sound families and good communities that have already started much of the necessary work for the future, we have a base to stand upon. A person who knows what he/she is and is capable of is always a force to be reckoned with. We cannot simultaneously suck on the corporate teat and control the corporation.

Competence is power.