So it’s been a hell of a week since my last post, and I feel that I am bit overdue with an update, so here we are...
I have been working on a number of projects this week, most of them involving some form of carpentry, which is not a foreign skill to me (thanks dad!!) but is nevertheless one that I am not very experienced at. The first major projects that I completed over the last week was building hangers so that we can suspend the chicken feeders and waters at just the right height. Chickens tend to make a mess while they eat, but if the feeder is hung at a height that coincides with the height at which the chickens neck meets it’s body, they eat neatly and without mess, Emily Post would be proud.
We have, as of a few days ago, started seeding some plants so that we can have hearty plants that will be ready for transplant as soon as the last frost is gone. But to do this, we needed to build a rack of sorts, from which we can suspend lights. So that was project number two, and on one of the cooler mornings, I spent a couple hours hanging the lights so that they are only an inch from the tiny Laconita Kale and early Jersey Cabbage seedlings that will hopefully yield some early produce. I see some lacto fermented cabbage in my future...
The explanation of project number three needs to be prefaced with an exciting story about piglet wrangling, yes, you read that correctly, piglet wrangling. Our group of piglets have been living in the barn since they were born in mid december, and on sunday was their day to make the big move out to the woods. This had to happen for a number of reasons, mainly because they are now big enough to go outside, and were getting a bit bored indoors. The second reason is that Ruby and Garnett are pregnant and will be giving birth sometime mid-march, and we need to clean the barn out, put down fresh bedding for the girls and set of two farrowing area’s for them. Important reasons.
What does “piglet wrangling” entail anyhow? Well, its pretty simple in concept; you catch the piglet, put it into a large dog kennel with two of its siblings, drive it out to the new pen, which has already been set up with a new den, water, food and an electric fence, open the kennel and voila, successful wrangle. It turns out, however, that its not quite that simple. Piglets are fast! They are strong! They scream bloody murder and there is not much to grab onto, and considering they weigh between 40 and 60 pounds, it’s exhausting.
A quick summation of the technique: you pick out a piglet, try to corner it or chase it down, lunge out and try to grab one of it’s back legs, if successful, grab the other leg and pick up the piglet so its dangling head down. It will kick a bit, but it’s calmest a piglet will be when picked up. If the piglet is larger, say near the 60 pound mark, holler at your partner to grab the front legs, at this point the piglet will scream louder than you can imagine, not to mention start to release pheromones that make it smell really odd. Two more compatriots will be at the kennel, one working the door, the other holding back the piglet(s) inside. If you are lucky, you can shove the piglet inside and slam the door without one of the others escaping. We weren’t always so lucky.
Once inside their new home, the piglets immediately forgot about everything and headed off to explore their new den (project three) and to root their little nooses into the ground looking for tasty things to eat. They are super happy out there and its so fun to watch them, half buried in dry leaves, rooting away making satisfied grunting sounds..