What does the 4 year old do when digging potatoes?
She digs…a hole
Having grand babies is…well…grand!! I love having them underfoot, I love watching them interact with everything here on the farm. One of their favorite things is when we have puppies.
The kids love to hold the puppies. They love to play with them, and the puppies love the attention. One such puppy enjoyed extra attention from all of the kids and seemed perfect for one of our grandchildren. He’s been Grand!!!
Reminds me, yet again, why we raise Golden’s.
There are many things in life I find delight in, good food, beautiful art, nature, quiet time… to name a few. However, there isn’t much that comes close to watching newborn piglets scamper about.
Less than a day old and they venture out with their mom checking out the local scenery.
Already they wrestle and jostle for the best sleeping and eating positions. I challenge anyone who’s feeling grumpy to watch these little guys, for even a minute, and not smile.
We are blessed to have just over 14 acres of land, which is bordered by a river and an old trestle trail. We took an impromptu hike yesterday down to the river. We like to let the dogs take turns going with us. Today was Mal’s turn. This guy cannot keep out of the water! Even when it’s frigid! I had so much fun watching him jump into the river time and time again to retrieve the sticks the kids kept throwing for him. Of course I wasn’t thrilled when he decided to take a lovely dust bath after his swim, but he certainly loved it!
Farm life mostly consists of routine, and one of the most routine expectations is that something out of the ordinary is going to happen when you least expect it. Puppies are usually born when you’re just getting ready for bed, a pig gets out of the pen just when you sit down for dinner, and shelters only break down in the middle of snowstorms at night. For some strange reason farm animals and nature haven’t been introduced to unionization rules; 9 to 5, no weekends. I protest.
Yesterday (Sunday) evening, for example, after watching some football and eating dinner, I went out on the road to run a routine errand. Coming home, I pulled in the driveway and it became apparent that something was wrong. My family and a friend was gathered close one of the pig pastures and they were all looking at me. To make the story short, Bella attacked one of our sows. Bella is one of our oldest and largest sows. She has always been a little “off”, occasionally showing some unusual aggression to her fellow pen mates but I have always been lenient because she had never crossed the line. Yesterday, however, she did cross the line. Something snapped and she viciously attacked another sow causing some fairly significant damage. Fortunately, my friend and family were able to contain her before things got completely out of hand and the sow that was attacked is now recovering. Bella’s fate was not as happy. An unpredictable, aggressive pig around children (not to mention other animals) is *not* an option. There was really no decision to make. Bella’s time had come. So, at around 7pm last night we gathered our equipment and tools and stayed up to the wee hours of morning crafting some of the most beautiful pork that we have yet. My beautiful wife and awesome kids all pulled together with me, staying up to do their part and (mostly) having fun doing it. Bella weighed in at 560 lbs, the chops are three inches thick, the hams are enormous, the bacon plentiful and sublime, we’re currently processing about (I’m guessing) 60 lbs of lard, our freezer is full, and there is a very large picnic roast casting its heavenly aroma throughout the entire house from the oven.
It might be thought by some that this was a crisis, others might think a burden. But this is the routine. On a farm, what happens, happens, and it is what it is, and nothing is really out of the ordinary. It is life, and for us – life just don’t get better.
Over the past 13 + years we have been raising Golden Retrievers I have been constantly reminded why I love the breed. I never have to worry about the kids or my constant flow of grandchildren and visitors. The dogs are always excited to have new humans on which to lavish their attention, or to glean a random neck rub. The puppies that we raise bring such joy to our farm and to the new families they become a part of.
Here’s a little glimpse into litters past.
With all the new shelters being milled/ built, its sparked all kinds of creative energy in the kids.
One kid is building a new movable pen for some of his rabbits.
Another of my sons decided I needed a new footstool!
I love our life!
The dog shelter we built, many years ago, finally needed to be taken down. We needed something new for the dogs. What does a new dog shelter have to do with being “Mizerly”? Should I say… thrifty… or cheap? No… I prefer “Mizerly”…. WoodMizer-ly to be exact!
Having your own sawmill and wood supply is a helpful thing when you have a farm.
One day logs..
The next…usable lumber.
Without a trip to the big box store!
In 2 1/2 days my husband was able to mill and build a beautiful new dog condo and we didn’t pay anything for any of it. We had the metal sheeting dropped off here a couple years ago by someone who thought we’d use it for something eventually, and we had all the screws on hand.
Pigs are herd animals. They all have individual personalities, clear likes and dislikes. Yet they do not like to be alone. They will talk to each other, fight with each other even bicker for the favored sleeping position in the hut. They co-sleep and co-parent.
Once piglets are off and running at, ummm
birth a few days old, they start to meander on over to wherever there is a good meal. The sows don’t seem to mind and even welcome the respite.
The other day I caught this comical dance.
This mom had all the babies, from 3 litters, sleeping with her and nursing. I think she felt a little ‘overstimulated’ and decided that was enough.
Some followed, and some decided there was a better gig over at the other sow who had been lounging unmolested for quite some time.
One lone little guy decided pickings might be easier over at the pen that houses the matriarch, Ham.
The first mom decided she didn’t want to go it alone and sauntered on over to her gal pal and laid right on down.
Wait!…. Get… Out… of.. the …. WAY!
Unfazed, the bebes went right on about their business.
Okay, Okay enough is enough!
Yeah… we were done anyway.
They never stop cracking me up!
We love heritage breeds. We’ve raised other more “modern” breeds but they simply do not thrive living outdoors meandering like heritage breeds do. Side by side, in the same conditions eating the same food, heritage grow better, are happier, healthier and, yes, tastier. Tamworths are our favorite, but we also have a smattering of other breeds in the mix. We currently have one registered Tamworth boar and two registered Tamworth sows. We have one other fully Tam sow, “Ham”, who is the matriarch of our herd, but she is not registered. The others are all mixed breeds which are Tamworths, Large Blacks, Gloucestershire Old Spots, and Hampshires. Sometimes this diversity brings out some pretty cool characteristics at farrowing time. This guy (on the right) with the belt is our current favorite. He’s a Tamworth in the head, Hampshire in the middle, and Old Spot in the rear! We are currently selling piglets, but I am getting fairly attached. This one might hang around for a while…