Waiting is the hardest

It’s a slow time on the farm right now. I’m waiting for things to happen, and all I can really do is wait.

I’m waiting for feeder pigs to finish out for butchering. They have free choice access to whole corn and green pasture so they can eat and grow; I just need to wait a couple of months for the growth to happen.

I’m waiting on a sow to farrow (farmer-speak for “have babies”). No way to hurry that….they’ll come when they are ready, about October 24th. Mama is getting bigger, slowly, as the babies develop. Just gotta wait for that to happen, too.

I’m waiting to sell my cows. They didn’t breed this summer, so it’s time for this bunch to move out and another bunch to move in. They are posted at craigslist┬áright now, and I’m waiting for calls. That one can be sped up a bit….if they don’t sell quickly enough, I can always haul them to the sale barn. I’ve got a couple of buyers who have expressed an interest, though, so I’m going to wait at least another week…..

I’m also waiting to plant fall/winter forage. I plan on planting turnips, clover, triticale, and probably some other stuff….but not yet. It’s still too warm for most of that to come up. Besides that, I’m waiting for rain. I want to have a better idea of whether the fall and winter will be wet before I spend a bunch of money on seeds.

There are probably a couple of things I’m waiting on that I don’t remember right now. That’s life on the farm…always waiting on something to happen.

 

Growing, growing, growing…..

I have four spring piglets that are now hundred pound hogs. In a couple of months they will be ready for the freezer. Three are spoken for, but the fourth is available….I’ll sell either half or all if anyone is interested.

Hit me up at info@texasnaturalpork.com if you are interested.

Well….shoot

“Shoot” isn’t exactly what I said, but this is a family blog.

Besides the pigs, I have six heifers that I wanted to get bred this summer. I went through a round of hormone therapy to synchronize the breeding season, I brought in an artificial technician to breed them to a fancy, important, high-powered bull. I ran them through the chute and drew blood to see how well my efforts succeeded.

0-for-6. Zero of my six heifers bred on the first artificial service. Running the numbers, I could have bought a bull for what I spent on AI….and he would have had a higher success rate with almost zero effort on my part.

Shoot.

What’s new on the farm?

I decided to put this blog together so I can share what’s happening on the farm. The problem right now is, nothing much is happening. We are in an awful drought…our last significant rain was in February. We’re getting a little right now, but it remains to be seen whether it will actually be enough to make a difference. Six dry months are hard to overcome.

I’ve spent the summer watching pastures get drier and drier, and listening to the grass get more and more crunchy as I walk through. My pigs can harvest much of their food from the pastures,if the pastures are growing. They can’t do much with dead grass, which is what I have right now. It’s a little depressing, but that’s life on the farm. Better days are always just around the corner. Maybe the fall will be wetter. Maybe the next litter will be bigger. Maybe the next garden will yield better….and maybe this variety of corn will be the one that makes perfect cornbread. Farming can be frustrating, challenging, and downright exhausting. But better days are always, maybe, just around the corner.

What is natural pork?

Pigs can’t be “grassfed” the way cattle can. Cattle are ruminants; they have four stomachs that allow them to break down the fiber in grass and get the most out of growing plants. Pigs have a digestive system that is very similar to a human digestive system. Pigs can digest green vegetables, and get a lot of nutrition from them. But pigs can’t grow fast and get fat on pasture alone, any more than we can get fat eating only salad.

My pigs do live outside, and they do have access to green stuff year-round. Depending on the pig’s age and stage of life, forage can be anything from just a garnish (for little ones just starting out) to the vast majority of the diet (for adult pigs who aren’t working very hard). My preferred diet to fatten pigs for the freezer is about turnip pasture and corn. I think the pigs are eating about 50/50 turnip greens and corn. It’s a little slower that confinement feeding, but it’s good for the pigs and it makes great pork.