Posts Tagged ‘animals’

You know it’s summer when you’re so busy transplanting “hot crops” — tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squashes, corn — that you don’t have time to update your blog!

The pigs always run over to greet me when I approach their pen, even when it’s a hot day like this one was. They’ve finished up this paddock and I opened up a new area for them the other day — happy pigs!

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Getting out

When you put your hand in the soil right now, it’s so cold that you wonder why anything would want to grow there, but everything I’ve transplanted so far seems happy to be in the ground. On Sunday, I put out some lettuce and the bok choy (pictured). I had my neighbors’ dog, Samson, helping me.

Yesterday I transplanted some chard and the first set of scallions. Little by little by little, I’ll move stuff out of the hoophouse, freeing up much-needed space and reducing the time I spend watering. I’ve got to keep at it or I’ll never get everything into the field. Sarah, if you’re reading this, the big onion transplanting is on my radar . . . .

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The new 2011 Stone’s Throw Farm Pastured Pork ordering info is available now. Farm members, please reserve your whole or half hog by May 4th. Depending on how many orders I get, I might open it up to other community members, too.

The pigs in question are growing extremely fast, and I’d like to bring them up here as soon as the weather warms up a bit. My mom shot this video of the pigs in their pen outside the farrowing house (they still sleep inside). It’s a toss-up whether it’s more entertaining to watch the pigs or listen to my mom “toodle-oot” to them — thanks, Mom!

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Here’s a photo my mom just sent me of some of the piglets. They’re so big already — and they’ll be twice this size by the time I get there to see them.

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I just talked to my parents and my mom said the little orphaned piglets were getting so fat my dad actually cut back a little on the amount of milk replacer he’s giving them. That’s saying something, because my dad loves to feed animals. My mom said she’s been playing with the orphans to try to make up for their lost mommy a bit, and they’re quite tame. If the weather cooperates, I’ll be able to give a first-hand report of the piglets’ progress this coming weekend.

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The pigs arrived on Thursday! My parents brought a lot of pig pen materials, pig feed, and miscellaneous stuff along with the pigs, so the first thing we did was unload everything. We got the pen all set up and transferred the pigs into their new space (see below). As soon as they hit the ground, the pigs started rooting. They found their food and water and the hut and seemed right at home. At the end of the day, we tucked them in and left the farm for Duluth. When we got back to the farm on Friday it was cold and rainy, and the pigs were all burrowed into the straw in their hut. It was pretty cute, even though I felt sorry for them. We leaned some boards up against the opening in the hut so it couldn’t rain in.

Since then, the pigs have been rooting merrily away at their leisure and learning about electric fence. They’ve also spent a lot of time sleeping in their hut. Soon, I’ll open up one side of their pen and let them out onto some of the tall rye.

Here’s a little video Elden took of my dad and I moving the pigs from the trailer to their new pen. The pigs all squealed when I transferred them, but the last one yelled “ahhhh!” exactly like a person. (Sorry; I couldn’t figure out how to flip the picture on its side.) 

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The pigs are on their way! I hope they like chest-high rye (it kind of shot up in the last few weeks) and moist soil. I have a feeling they will. I’m not sure how they feel about rain, but I know every plant at the farm loves rain — except the ones in the hoophouse that have been patiently waiting to be transplanted, because I didn’t quite get their beds ready before the rain (believe me, I am kicking myself). Some of them are getting a little impatient. It’s been too wet to work the soil with the tractor or rototiller the last few days. Maybe it dried out enough overnight, but I doubt it.

On the bright side, conditions are perfect for digging out those pesky grasses by the root. I’m happy to report I’ve been seeing a ton of earthworms in the soil as I dig. That’s a sign that we have healthy soil, and the worms are improving the soil as they wriggle. Check out this article if you’re not familiar with this concept. 

More rain in the forecast for the next few days. I might have to get creative.

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It’s a rather gloomy morning, especially compared to yesterday’s sunny splendor, so I thought I’d cheer myself up by looking at some Berkshire piglets. I’m not too fond of the music selection — I’d rather hear the pigs oinking myself — but this is still an enjoyable video.

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Bunnies, bunnies, everywhere

Do you ever have that experience wherein you learn a new word and suddenly start seeing and hearing it everywhere? Something like that happened to me this morning when I turned a page in the newspaper and saw an article about animal tracks featuring a photo of snowshoe hare tracks. Yesterday I wasn’t even sure snowshoe hares lived around here.

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White Flight

I think I saw a snowshoe hare at Stone’s Throw today. I was tromping through the little piece of woods between the driveway and the fields, and when I passed the brush that we piled there when we cleared for the driveway, something big and white bounded out of the brush. I didn’t get a great look at it since it was headed away from me, but what else could it have been? And why didn’t I check out its tracks? I did see bunny tracks elsewhere, and according to the MN DNR, there are snowshoe hares in this area. I’m amused because when I was telling Dave about our lovely brush piles last fall, he said, “Well, it’ll be nice habitat for bunnies.” You were right, Dave!

I borrowed this hare photo from Richard Hahn, who apparently took this little guy’s portrait in Rocky Mountain National Park. Elden and I considered going there for our camping trip last spring, but ended up visiting the Columbia River Gorge instead. Fun fact, eh?

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