SHIFTING

To move a mob of pigs takes a lot of preparation. (Unlike a break-out that takes no preparation at all).  The Six had finished their smaller sunflower field and were ready to take on the big one. I had been holding off while the biggest and latest sunflower field reached maturity. I want these pigs eating LOTS of seeds. Yesterday, the time had come.

The kunekune and Wai were put behind closed gates – Wai was deeply hurt by this and spent the whole time folded in a blubbery heap on the ground, like a very small rhinoceros, staring at the gate – he hates change of any kind even only for a few hours.

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The four escapees were fed right down the back. Sheila and Poppy were fed down the back of their field.

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Molly was fed in her house. All so they did not notice the little herd of piggies hooting past their windows.

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I also locked the ducks into their house and tied up Boo (moving pigs cannot be hurried). Then I opened all the gates between the pigs little field and the big one.  And off we went, lazily wending our way through the farm. Me, two buckets, Ton and six 100 pound pigs. Our rather ramshackle route took us from the salad bar field through the corridor field into the concrete yards through the barn and out the Black Hole of Calcutta room into Molly’s garden, through Molly’s garden into the piglets garden through the piglets garden and out that gate and into the big sunflower field on the North side of the driveway.

This was my big vegetable garden last year. Imagine having a house surrounded in sunflowers – I sometimes think I could sleep in that little tin shed, though I might need a softer mattress.

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And there waiting for them was their best wallow, and it was still cold

After a quick dip they get to eating. And the grazing was good!

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The clouds rolled in as forecast but no rain came. We could do with some rain but there you are; it is July and it seldom rains in July (yes, yes – unless there is hay on the ground). .

Here is the letter I sent out to Jakes CSA people. I usually sell a reasonable amount of pork through them. First I sell to the locals then the chefs. Feeding families good food is my favorite thing.

Hi Everyone,

This is Cecilia here from Gunther’s Swamp Farm.

 Jake, Marty and I are joining forces again and this year I am proud to offer you my Sunflower Pork. This year I took a season off milking the cows, sent them off to live with the bull and grew this years fat pigs in fields of sunflowers, the heritage breeds consume literally hundreds of sunflower plants (I have three ½ acre fields of carefully sown feed for pigs). My Hereford hogs eat the whole plant – if the plant is still young, then move to the seeds (in fact the whole head) as the plants mature. They fell them like trees. The sunflowers have similar properties to acorns and this diet results in some of the best and tastiest meat I raise. (Though the milk raised pork is pretty good too). The ham will be divine!

As well as the left over vegetables from Jake and Marty’s extensive gardens and the oats and clovers and alfalfa grown underneath the sunflowers, this years hogs have been churning through over four dozen boiled eggs, from my own chickens, a day plus a little GM-free corn from a local grower and oats when I can find them.

You can tell I am proud of this product, right?

I have four hogs almost ready to go. I have two booked into Chenoa locker for later next month. Do you want some? There are two Hereford and two Berkshires in this first group. And another group of SIX Hereford hogs later in the summer.

You can order either a half or whole from me (Seasonal Plate CSA People get a great rate at 2.25 a pound hanging weight paid to me and you pay the slaughter and cutting costs when you pick up your meat from Chenoa) and Jake will also be offering smaller cuts at different prices later in the month.

You can book your pork right here with Jake.

ALSO I am offering beef. Pasture raised in fields lined with old mulberry trees (they hoover up those mulberries) and finished in fields of alfalfa. The beef is also being offered in halves and quarters at $2.70 a pound when ordering in bulk.

You can book your beef right here with Jake, too.

I am happy for you to come on out and visit the farm anytime. I am fully transparent and love having visitors. Just send me an email. 

You can also check the progress of your animals on my daily farm blog thekitchensgarden.com or on Instagram Cecilia_thekitchensgarden

I look forward to hearing from you!

Cecilia
celima.g.7@gmail.com

There you are – we have begun. Now let’s see what happens.

I hope you have a lovely day.

celi

WEATHER: Cloudy and cool again. Very nice. This morning it was 60f when I awoke.

Tuesday 07/31 50% / 0.08 in
Partly cloudy with afternoon showers or thunderstorms. High 77F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

Tuesday Night 07/31 20% / 0 in
Some clouds. Low 58F. Winds light and variable.

Sun
5:48 AM 8:09 PM

Moon

Waning Gibbous, 88% visible 10:25 PM 9:16 AM

 

 

30 Comments on “SHIFTING

  1. Why do I think that you are going to have a waiting list for pork and beef… I rarely eat meat, but the description of those well fed animals would make me consider a chop or steak I think!

  2. I CONFESS!….I am no farmer..l never could be. The thought of piglets running free, gobbling up the sunflowers and wallowing in the wallow and then going to slaughter…that just grieves me. I know that you are in the business of producing good feeding stock and how I wish I could be vegetarian ( but i am not)..I like nothing better than a tasty bit of pork chop….so its good that you are you and I am just some old biddy in Bulgaria..crying her eyes out because the piggies are going to die…. Good for you Miss C… love the photo of Wai…he is a real character…. love from BG

    • Patrecia – I’m in your camp, struggling with the reality of it all. My DD and I have both been practicing “veggies” for about 5 years now, following a class in which she learned of the offenses of the US meat industry. Thankfully, Miss C. is not part of that, and she does respect and thank the animals. Better treatment will never be found. I try to live and let live. But it is hard.

  3. I’d be ordering a half hog from you if I didn’t live half the world away. Your animals have such a good, varied diet, a fun and interesting life, and a calm and stress-free ending.

  4. If I was close enough I would just buy all my pork and beef from you my dear! outstanding.. I love what you do.. May they be lining up to reserve their pork and beef! Have a great day, loved the photos.

  5. Comical reading…funny you had to lock up the ducks, I can just imagine the nightmare if you hadn’t LOL…great planning and that picture and description of Wai…oh, that got a laugh out of me…what a character that little pig is!

  6. Glad the planned move went well. You always plan it so well!

  7. Giant pouting blueberry Wai is really the best way of sulking. Really give in to it, right? No holding back! What a joy that pig is!

  8. Oh I hope you have great demand for your meats. I wish I knew whose restaurants they’d end up in so I could dine on healthy meat. I’m thinking Chicago.

  9. Oh the pigs in the wallow look so happy. I’m having day dreams of ham with fresh cucumbers and fresh tomatoes as the sides….

  10. That Wai picture is the very epitome of “woe is me”. Poor ol’ pig.

    You letter is very inviting. I hope the meat sells well.

  11. Oh my gosh, if Wai’s legs were long enough I’m sure he’d be kicking up a tantrum!

  12. I am always so impressed by your ingenuity! Sunflower pork, who know? Brilliant! What great prices too! Man oh man, I wish I lived closer! Thank you piggies! Great to know what a good clean life they’re living. We all need to get back to our roots and choose too know where our food comes from!

  13. It would be very interesting to see how your “high sunflower” diet affects the composition of the pork… They obviously hate it; )

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