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2014 Growing Season

2014 Growing Season
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  • Post #61 - July 13th, 2014, 4:31 pm
    Post #61 - July 13th, 2014, 4:31 pm Post #61 - July 13th, 2014, 4:31 pm
    You are correct. Hay is made from growing grass or legumes like alfalfa or clover. It's cut green and dried for a few days in the sun before it is baled up. It is used for feed, mostly in the winter, when there is nothing to graze, or in feedlots, where the cattle need roughage to balance their diet.

    The price of beef is so high right now, because ranchers were forced to sell off the mother cows because they didn't have enough hay to winter them (on top of the pastures were drying up in the summer). They are just starting to rebuild now, but it takes a long time to feed a calf to breeding size (about 18 months or more), then a nine month gestation, then another 18 months for that calf to grow to finish weight...... the price will be up for awhile.

    Anyhow.....

    Straw is used for bedding and is made from the dead stalks of wheat or oats. It can be baled the same day the grain is harvested. Sometimes if whaet straw is short guys will bale up soybean stalks after harvest. Alot of the bigger cattle feeders areound here have been baling up cornstalks for bedding. It works pretty good, but only if you have mechanical ways to deal with manure. Pitchforks and cornstalks are a miserable combination. The tines pierce the stalk and it won't come off easily.

    Hopefully that gave you your answer.

    Tim
  • Post #62 - July 14th, 2014, 8:19 am
    Post #62 - July 14th, 2014, 8:19 am Post #62 - July 14th, 2014, 8:19 am
    City boy here, but in my youth I spent more than one summer up on the farm behind an old M pulling a New Holland 68 bucking bales. Loved the KACHUNK KACHUNK of the ram compacting the hay , watching the bale inch up the chute and then the sound the knotters make tying them off, it had a rhythm that was like music to me. That brings back some great memories. Nothing could make that well water taste better than a warm summer day on the wagon.
  • Post #63 - July 14th, 2014, 8:51 am
    Post #63 - July 14th, 2014, 8:51 am Post #63 - July 14th, 2014, 8:51 am
    Quick update of Saturday & Sunday's events, then we are back up to speed witht he goings on around here.

    We've been getting green beans by the handful for about a week. Up until Saturday, we've just been blanching and freezing them. It works OK for using them in soups and stews, but canning is our prefereed method. After 2 - one gallon Ziplock bags frozen, it was time to get out the canner. We picked enough for 8 pints Saturday and 5 more Sunday.

    I usually help pick and snap the beans, my wife takes care of getting the cans filled and closed up, then it's my job to babysit the canner, watching the pressure and time, until they're done.

    Ten pounds for 20 minutes

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    The finished product, still boiling, fresh out of the caner

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    Once our patch hit's full production, we'll get enough beans to do a canner full, 18 pints, at a time. That will happen by next weekend, sooner if we get a little rain. We usually can about 60 pints, to get us through the year. These are the best beans we've had since we've lived here. We usually have to count on the neighbors giving us their extras to get enough for the year. This year, it looks like they will be coming to our patch when we are done. For some reason, their green beans didn't amount to much this year, so it'll be nice to return the favor for a change.

    Our neighbors live a half mile south of us, they are in their mid 80's and still farm a little bit and garden a lot. We went to an ice cream social (Yeah, we still do that around here) with them Saturday evening. I was bragging about having the best garden we ever had, and they said this is one of their worst. It's funny how different soil types react to the weather, from year to year.

    We also picked enough pickles for our first, small, batch of dill's this year. We usually pick these when they are about the size of your thumb. The first few pickings usually end up being quite a bit bigger, since there are only one or two pickles per vine, and we aren't checking them as closely as we should. We did two quarts, since these just go through a hot water bath for a few minutes to seal the jars, the process is quite a bit faster. When I went to take the jars out of the canner, the bottom of one of the quarts let go and dumped glass and pickles into the boiling water..... arghhhh!!!! We usually lose a jar or two of something, every year this way, but it's especially agervating when you only have two to start with.

    The sole survivor

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    We'll leave these sit in the basement, waiting for the salt and vinegar to do it's magic. They will be ready to eat the first of November. It won't be long before we'll be getting pickles by the bucket load too. One of my sisters and a couple of friends usualy come over, at the peak of production, for pickling day. They bring all the supplies they need, and we'll have one long day & one big communal mess in our kitchen. It's easier to do one big batch(s), than a lot of seperate little ones. It also passes along the recipe and technique to others, so it will hopefully continue on to the next generation. It was passed down to us this way, we don't want to be the ones that break the chain of custody.

    That's it, we are back up to date. Animal pic's, crops and garden in the next update, in a few days.

    Tim
  • Post #64 - July 14th, 2014, 9:18 am
    Post #64 - July 14th, 2014, 9:18 am Post #64 - July 14th, 2014, 9:18 am
    2146 north wrote:City boy here, but in my youth I spent more than one summer up on the farm behind an old M pulling a New Holland 68 bucking bales. Loved the KACHUNK KACHUNK of the ram compacting the hay , watching the bale inch up the chute and then the sound the knotters make tying them off, it had a rhythm that was like music to me. That brings back some great memories. Nothing could make that well water taste better than a warm summer day on the wagon.


    Well said!! I couldn't agree more with everything you said. You've painted the picture better than I ever could have.

    Tim
  • Post #65 - July 16th, 2014, 9:27 am
    Post #65 - July 16th, 2014, 9:27 am Post #65 - July 16th, 2014, 9:27 am
    Wednesday morning farm tour........

    This is my view, walking to the barn, of the corn field across the road. It's just starting to shoot tassels. It's over 9' tall and looking very nice, a far cry from the drought a couple of years ago.

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    It's been cool the last couple of nights. I closed the big doors on the hog barn last night, so the pigs could get out of the breeze if they wanted to. The sound of them opening this morning sent the pigs running and woofing around the pen. When they finally came to a stop, I took a picture

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    The bean field is still filling in and growing. They are about knee high. I saw a few blossums on them this morning. We aren't terribly dry, but a nice half inch or inch of rain would really hit the spot right now.

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    It seems like the garden went from just growing to producing in about 3 days. We are eating something out of it every day now. The peas and strawberries are done, but the beans, summer squash, kohlrabi, zukes, cukes and pickles need picked every day.

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    The cabbage(s) is forming heads. Looking forward to some slaw and kraut......

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    New crop pictures of the week. The old strawbery patch is 3 or 4 years old and getting overrun with weeds. It was time to start a new one. My wife found a bunch of rootbound half dead plants for sale a few weeks ago, she got them for practically nothing, so she brought them home and we stuck them in the ground. All of them have shot new growth and some are sending out runners already. They are well on their way to making a nice bed.

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    We'll pick out of both beds next year, then the old one will get torn up, and be turned back into garden again.

    That's it, thanks for looking.....

    Tim
  • Post #66 - July 16th, 2014, 4:55 pm
    Post #66 - July 16th, 2014, 4:55 pm Post #66 - July 16th, 2014, 4:55 pm
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    Fat & happy! (at least for now. . .shhhhhhhhhhh!)
  • Post #67 - July 18th, 2014, 11:48 pm
    Post #67 - July 18th, 2014, 11:48 pm Post #67 - July 18th, 2014, 11:48 pm
    Slow day today, had to run to town, so I grabbed the camera and took the scenic route home...... we call it road farming.

    I talked about the different kinds of bales, in the straw baling thread the other day. Here's a field of big rounds.....

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    The field tomatoes are really growing, won't be long before the harvest starts.....

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    There is a farmer north of us that grows pickles. I'm not sure where he sells them, but he always has a couple of big fields. These are all hand picked. They were in the field this morning, but I think they are just getting started. When it's going full tilt, there will be a semi trailer parked on the road collecting the bins of pickles....

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    There are a lot of beef feedlots around. They aren't the giant size open lots you think of when you think of cattle feeding. Around here, they still mostly use old fashioned barns with an outdoor cement lot. Most of them feed a couple hundred head per barn. Fifteen yars ago, these barns were pretty much all empty. The higer market price has caused a lot of these guys to load up their barns again. It's nice to see the old barns getting used again.

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    Last picture of the day..... if you get out into the country, you've probably seen these signs along the edge of a field. They are test plots. The guys that sell seed corn make deals with farmers to plant a bunch of different varieties of seed next to each other. Once they get growing well, they put up signs, with the different numbers, so farmers can see how they compare. It's a sure sign that summer is underway, when the signs start showing up along the roads....

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    That's it, file this one under: things I thought you would find interesting in NW Ohio......
  • Post #68 - July 19th, 2014, 12:24 pm
    Post #68 - July 19th, 2014, 12:24 pm Post #68 - July 19th, 2014, 12:24 pm
    Great stuff Tim--thanks! And my 2 biggest corn stalks (of the 6, 2 are in a somewhat bigger pot) are officially taller than me (not saying much, I'm only 5'2"). Still no tassels though :)
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #69 - July 19th, 2014, 1:23 pm
    Post #69 - July 19th, 2014, 1:23 pm Post #69 - July 19th, 2014, 1:23 pm
    That stuff looks like it's related to popcorn, by the shape of the kernal. The popcorn in the garden was planted the same day as the sweetcorn, the sweetcorn is almost ready to pick and the popcorn still hasn't tasseled. The sweetcorn is about chest high and the popcorn is almost as tall as me (6' 2").

    I'm thinking it should shoot them anytime now, the plants are too tall to look down into them, to see if they are coming.

    Tim
  • Post #70 - July 20th, 2014, 6:37 am
    Post #70 - July 20th, 2014, 6:37 am Post #70 - July 20th, 2014, 6:37 am
    Just a quickie......

    Dew on a cabbage leaf

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    Sunday morning beauty........

    Tim
  • Post #71 - July 20th, 2014, 9:00 am
  • Post #72 - July 21st, 2014, 9:53 am
    Post #72 - July 21st, 2014, 9:53 am Post #72 - July 21st, 2014, 9:53 am
    Wooo hoooo!! Thanks to the world wide web, my excitement can be your excitement......

    The popcorn is shooting tassels, the first two appeared this morning.

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    As long as I'm here, I'll share a little kitten in a crock action.......

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    What, did you think I was kidding when I said day to day life was kind of mundane in NW Ohio?? We take our rapid heartbeats where we can get them.

    Tim
  • Post #73 - July 21st, 2014, 12:59 pm
    Post #73 - July 21st, 2014, 12:59 pm Post #73 - July 21st, 2014, 12:59 pm
    Are you kidding me??? I check mine 3x a day--talk about a watched pot!!!!!
    corn 3.JPG Container Corn
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #74 - July 21st, 2014, 9:46 pm
    Post #74 - July 21st, 2014, 9:46 pm Post #74 - July 21st, 2014, 9:46 pm
    This is a bit late as it's taken me awhile to find the photos and figure out how to post them.

    Mostly I want to reassure boudreaulicious that patience pays. She knows that I live only a few short blocks away from her. These pictures are from two or three years ago. You can (sort of) see that we had only three or four stalks of corn and they actually tasseled and produced a few ears! Our harvest was hampered when, in the midst of a long hot, dry spell our beloved :twisted: squirrels destroyed most of the stalks in their search for water--the corn contained more moisture than anything else in the yard.
    3378.jpg
    3374.jpg
  • Post #75 - July 21st, 2014, 10:23 pm
    Post #75 - July 21st, 2014, 10:23 pm Post #75 - July 21st, 2014, 10:23 pm
    Love it bean--thanks!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #76 - July 21st, 2014, 10:36 pm
    Post #76 - July 21st, 2014, 10:36 pm Post #76 - July 21st, 2014, 10:36 pm
    I just want to know who's idea it was, to braid the silk on bean's corn. LOL

    You'll get there Jen, there is still a fair amount of field corn around here that hasn't tasseled. The season is still young. Are you fertilizing your stalks??
  • Post #77 - July 21st, 2014, 10:40 pm
    Post #77 - July 21st, 2014, 10:40 pm Post #77 - July 21st, 2014, 10:40 pm
    Just using my regular veggie fertilizer but yes--anything you recommend?
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #78 - July 21st, 2014, 10:53 pm
    Post #78 - July 21st, 2014, 10:53 pm Post #78 - July 21st, 2014, 10:53 pm
    Corn at that stage likes Nitrogen. It'll be the first number of the 3, on the package. The second 2 numbers can be 0. 28-0-0 would be perfect if you have something like that. Don't go too heavy with it, it'll burn the plant.

    If you want to go organic, since you only have 3 pots, buy your SO a 12 pack and have him water the plants as the need arises.

    It is actually a pretty good color, it just looks a little spindley.
  • Post #79 - July 22nd, 2014, 5:05 am
    Post #79 - July 22nd, 2014, 5:05 am Post #79 - July 22nd, 2014, 5:05 am
    Freezer Pig wrote:I just want to know who's idea it was, to braid the silk on bean's corn. LOL

    You'll get there Jen, there is still a fair amount of field corn around here that hasn't tasseled. The season is still young. Are you fertilizing your stalks??


    I had to talk my wife into doing the braid, as I don't have the necessary skill set. The corn then morphed into:
    corn god.jpg Corn God
  • Post #80 - July 23rd, 2014, 12:07 am
    Post #80 - July 23rd, 2014, 12:07 am Post #80 - July 23rd, 2014, 12:07 am
    Wooo Hoooo!! Lots of lightning and thunder, big rain for about a minute. Hopefully more will reach us later. We've only had a half inch of rain all month, it's getting pretty dry.

    The best picture I could get of the late night thunderstorm......


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  • Post #81 - July 23rd, 2014, 9:26 am
    Post #81 - July 23rd, 2014, 9:26 am Post #81 - July 23rd, 2014, 9:26 am
    Last nights rain didn't amount to much. I just got a dribble. My buddy just east of here got 3/10", that should perk things up for him a little bit.

    I talked about pigs sleeping a while back. I finally got a picture of them sprawled out and snoozing. It was still fairly warm last night, so they were spread out more than usual. They usually lay in groups of three or four. This is what healthy happy pigs look like asleep

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    Back up and running around in this mornings cooler temps.....

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    The garden is producing despite the dry. If we got an inch of rain, we'd be buried in produce. We will end up with the pantry and freezer full, but the pickings are just coming in small batches. I think one more batch of green beans will do us, we'll can some for my wife's mom and dad before we give up on them for the season. Friends and family will come in and keep the patch cleaned up until they are done growing.

    Looks like we are going to be loaded with Butternut Squash. We aren't real big fans of this variety, but a friend gave us a couple of plants. We'll supply most of them to others, when they are harvested.

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    Seems like we should have more tomatoes on the plants. They just didn't have many blossums yet. They look nice from a distance though...

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    Two headed cabbage

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    The soybeans are over knee high now. Look, another cloudy Wednesday in NW Ohio. LOL

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    Last shot of the day is this years chicks (I guess they are officially pullets at this stage). They've been running loose in the daytime for about a week. It'll still be three or four months before they start laying, but it seems like they've gotten to this stage awful fast.

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    That's it, thanks for looking....

    Tim
  • Post #82 - July 23rd, 2014, 10:12 am
    Post #82 - July 23rd, 2014, 10:12 am Post #82 - July 23rd, 2014, 10:12 am
    Thanks for the update! I'm not a big squash fan either but the blossoms are another story--get some ricotta cheese and a little chive or scallion and maybe some fresh herbs--oregano, thyme, sage, whatever--mix up a bit of batter (flour, beer, a little water--thinner is better). Stuff with the cheese mix, dip in the batter and fry those puppies up--best part of summer for me!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #83 - July 27th, 2014, 11:07 pm
    Post #83 - July 27th, 2014, 11:07 pm Post #83 - July 27th, 2014, 11:07 pm
    Finally, a rainy day in NW Ohio. Until yesterday, we only had half an inch of rain for July, and 3/10" of that was on the first. Yesterday afternoon we got 3/10" today we got .85" in two seperate shots.

    We were sitting on the front porch, as the storm approached, watching the lighning. The steady rain turned into a roar coming across the field. I tried to get a picture;

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    From the big tree (in the center of the picture) to the left, about halfway to the Lillac bush across the drive, is a woods about a mile away. You can just see a shadow of it right above the corn. The wall of rain has it completely covered up. The rain was probably 100 yards away when I took the picture.

    It reached us, with very big drops and falling straight down. You wouldn't want it to rain like this for too long, but on the parched ground, we could take it for awhile.

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    It rained for about a half hour and we ended up with .6". We thought we were done for the day, but another storm rolled through a couple hours later and gave us another quarter inch. That should reinvigorate everything and keep us going for another week.

    After the second shower was over, we got a nice rainbow. You can actually see a double rainbow just to the right in the picture. It was brighter in real life. I guess the pigs in the barn are our pot o' gold

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    After the rain, we were out checking things. Denise took this one. In case you wondered what the well dressed pig rancher in NW Ohio wears on a Sunday afternoon.....

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    ....that would be a lederhosen t-shirt, shorts & my rubber barn boots. Seemed like the thing to put on, to hold up a rainbow.

    Things are looking up in NW Ohio, Thanks for reading.

    Tim
  • Post #84 - July 27th, 2014, 11:41 pm
    Post #84 - July 27th, 2014, 11:41 pm Post #84 - July 27th, 2014, 11:41 pm
    Nice post, Tim; thanks.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"

    As Carl Sagan once said, to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe. And sometimes I just don't have the time and energy to invent the universe. So I figure it's okay to buy some stuff.
  • Post #85 - July 28th, 2014, 6:56 am
    Post #85 - July 28th, 2014, 6:56 am Post #85 - July 28th, 2014, 6:56 am
    I forgot to include last nights sunset, not the best ever, but good enough

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  • Post #86 - July 29th, 2014, 8:47 am
    Post #86 - July 29th, 2014, 8:47 am Post #86 - July 29th, 2014, 8:47 am
    Angry update!!

    We were coming home from the neighbors last night and I told my wife we'd have sweetcorn out of the garden for dinner today, it was finally ready.

    Funny thing about nature, animals know when food is at it's best too.

    &%#*^ coon!!!!

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    The best way (for us) to tell when the corn is ripe, is by looking at the silk. It kind of turns brown and dries up on the end. The chickens were nice enough to eat all the silk off this year, so it was going to be a challenge to find the ears that were ready. Looks like the coon found them first.

    Other than a deer that walked along the edge of the garden, a couple of years ago and ate a couple of ears, we've never had an animal problem. Looks like this is the year, between the chickens eating everything in sight and now this.........

    War has been declared!!
  • Post #87 - July 29th, 2014, 9:10 am
    Post #87 - July 29th, 2014, 9:10 am Post #87 - July 29th, 2014, 9:10 am
    Perhaps a version of Raccoon Roadkill is in order. :wink:

    Raccoon Roadkill (From an LTHForum Dinner at Moto Restaurant circa 2005)
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    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #88 - July 29th, 2014, 2:04 pm
    Post #88 - July 29th, 2014, 2:04 pm Post #88 - July 29th, 2014, 2:04 pm
    I may have missed this in one of your awesome posts but have you ever tried or considered "really" raising the pigs i.e. having breeding stock rather than buying young pigs from another source and growing them to market wieght?

    Certainly not questioning your logic. Just curious as to your reasoning behind doing it this way as opposed to breeding? Is it not fanacially possible for you, do you not have the room or facilities, etc.?

    I'm no farmer so please forgive my lack of knowledge (everyone).

    Thanks!
  • Post #89 - July 29th, 2014, 5:37 pm
    Post #89 - July 29th, 2014, 5:37 pm Post #89 - July 29th, 2014, 5:37 pm
    jaholbrook wrote:I may have missed this in one of your awesome posts but have you ever tried or considered "really" raising the pigs i.e. having breeding stock rather than buying young pigs from another source and growing them to market wieght?


    I used to do that. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to have a sow herd and sell feeder pigs (the size I buy now). Feeding out pigs was always the least attractive part of the business. I was up to 85 sows (mothers), selling a load of feeder pigs every two months, to a friend of mine from high school. We had a pretty good thing going, him & his dad would buy everything I could sell them. We had a handshake agreement that when the price was high, I'd give them a break, when it was low, they'd give me a little extra.

    It was nice never having to sell on the open market, hoping your pigs weren't selling on a day when only a couple buyers showed up, and you'd take a beating.

    Anyhow, I just got burned out. With sows, you have to be around twice a day, every day, for feeding. You have to have a regular schedule for breeding, weaning, vacinating. When I started, my dad was like a hired hand. He'd help when I needed it. As he started getting older, I didn't want him getting pushed around by sows all the time, but he wasn't going to stop helping. I was right at the point where I needed a real hired man, but had to get just a little bigger to justify it.

    I finally took a big step back and decided it was time to give it up. It's one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. I kept all my equipment, thinking I'd get back in someday.

    A year later, the bottom fell out of the hog market. I mean clear out. Feeder pigs that were never below $30 were bringing $2 or $3. It wiped out all the small producers. It had a domino effect, when the little guys dissappeared, the collection points, where you could sell less than a semi load of hogs anytime, went away too. When the dust settled, there was just never going to be little operations again. I sold off the equipment and figured I was done forever.

    Then we bought this place. The barns were in great shape and didn't need much modification for pigs. A friend from High School had managed to survive the crash by paring down his herd and selling show pigs to 4H & FFA kids. It carried him through and he built back up, to the point where he feeds out enough that he can deliver directly to the processing plant. He sells me all the pigs I want, since it's a small number.

    Pigs are social animals, they do best when they have company. One sow will produce 20+ pigs per year. So if I had a pair of sows, that's 40 pigs per year we need to find customers for. We aren't there yet. If we get to that point, we will consider putting in sows. The old milking parlor in the barn isn't good for much, but every time I walk in there, I picture pens with sows and nursing pigs.

    Then there's being tied down, twice a day, every day. Feeding out pigs on a self feeder and waterer, we are able to get a way for a day, and finding somebody to just check them once or twice a day to make sure everything is OK, isn't to tough, if it's just for a weekend. When we sell the finished hogs, the barn is empty and we can go away if we want, for as long as we want. You can't jump in and out with sows, once you have them, you're commited.

    I discoverd sows also come with a hook. When you are doing chores, you start thinking, if I'm going to feed two sows everyday, I might as well feed 10, I'm already out here and it won't take that much longer........ pretty soon, there are barns being built and equipment being bought, bankers start calling you by your first name........

    It's kind of like; since I'm already taking my kids to school, why don't I just drive the school bus......

    Raising livestock seems to be a genetic disorder, it's why some farmers raise livestock and others have absolutely no desire to have anything to do with critters. There's no other explaination.

    Now, if you aren't more confused than ever, about why I don't raise my own pigs.........

    Tim
  • Post #90 - July 29th, 2014, 6:42 pm
    Post #90 - July 29th, 2014, 6:42 pm Post #90 - July 29th, 2014, 6:42 pm
    Ha! Perfectly explained :)
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington

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