Big Bertha, on the left, weighs 300 lbs.
Two weeks ago, when we tried to load her in the rain, it was too slippery for her to make purchase and climb into the trailer. So, Clark (from Colorado) built a customized ramp to allow her to saunter her way up, in her own time. Here, she and her mate comfortably lounge in the converted hog-trailer the morning they go to the processor. We closed the back gate of the trailer, and then the stock trailer backed up to ours. We opened gates of each, and let the hogs amble from one to the other.
Pigs do not like being forced to go up a gradient, like a ramp, and it is difficult to make them do so. They are usually willing, if they can in their own time. They have extremely strong necks. They love to put their snouts under objects, like gates or ramps, and lift them into the air. A few cement blocks helps discourage those antics.
We like Berkshire pigs - for their easy temperament and the light, nutty taste of the meat. We want to expand this enterprise, with some better facilities and equipment. The access they have to woods seems to make them unusually content. They are fun and interesting to work with.
We try to mow each field twice a year, but sometimes only do so once. In the picture below, we had only mowed once, which generated a lot of desiccated plant material by the time we returned to graze. But the desiccated plant material was warm-season grasses, such as Big Blue Stem and Switchgrass, while the green grass close to the ground, was fescue, orchard grass, bluegrass, and clovers. The tall warm-season grasses are awkward to walk and see through, so I made mental note to be sure to mow a second time next year.
But, upon closer inspection, I began to realize the warm-season grasses were being trampled onto the ground by the cows, as they grazed the luscious cool-season grasses below, creating a mulch and a blanket of insulation. This insulation will keep the ground warmer and allow grass to emerge sooner in the Spring.
Sometimes, what we don't do can be as important as what we do. Next year, I think we should try mowing only once in this field again. The more we know, the less we know...
Bob will be at Findlay Market on Saturday. If you have any special orders for pick-up Saturday, please let us know today. No market at Hyde Park this week or next.
Below is a roasted spatch-cocked chicken, with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts - all from HPFM. The chicken was brined in advance, and was delicious.
While replenishing supply of pork, we honor Big Bertha.
Drausin & Susan