Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Walk in the woods and the pig mover

Well, it is really here now...temps in the 60's, rain and more rain, and flowers and trees coming out. This is what most people consider spring...me too.

A walk in the woods this morning showed some great stuff...lots of wildflowers like trillium, bluebells, dutchman's breeches, and Virginia water leaf. The edibles to collect are wild onions, ramps, and mountain mint. A search for mushrooms proved that the weather, even tho very wet, is still too cold. Maybe in another week I'll see some.

And...on the past edible/not currently edible side of things...I found my first owl pellet!! That was way cool. I've never found one in the wild. I brought it home to disect it and pull out the little bones to see who it was that unfortunately (for him) was et. I started collecting bones this year, figuring that someday I will become a bone woman. Some of you may know the story of the bone woman. If not...well, a good research project for you!

In the barnyard - chicks are doing good and giving me about 2 1/2 dozen eggs a week. I have to get to them before the egg eaters do (Coookie chicken and goofy duck...and her name isn't Cookie like you eat, it is Coookie like crazy or whatever). We got the pigs lined up in their cages on pasture, and the babies out of the barn into a "baby cage" until we can get a bigger one built. Will and I plan to castrate two of the three little boys today. We'll keep the third as a breeder boy for later.

Our latest greatest (besides the outhouse in the woods, which really came in handy today) is the pig moving contraption on the truck. Didn't cost a dime (most important). And works pretty well. It was due to my complaining that I can't be moving 30 cement blocks, and 12 cages, and still walk upright when I get old.
Here it is...

It is a 4x4 piece of wood tied to the truck, with bolts on each end, and on each bolt is a hook on a chain. We put the hooks on the cage and then back up with the truck. Now it might seem this takes more gas...a little bit. But, we have to carry the water out to the pigs anyway, so we take the truck to do that anyway.

And, you might ask...why don't you use a dolly/wheel contraption like Joel Salatin. Well, the cement blocks were too heavy and we have to have them so the cages don't blow away in the wind. (I believe Joel lives in a part of the U.S. where there are less wind turbines.) And the dolly thingy still takes quite a bit of strength when you are moving a 10x4 foot cage with two cement blocks on it. I'm finding our system works really great and stand by it for single, weaker women like me.

Next big project is to put some kind of skid on the front of the cage so they go over the clumps of grass better without bending the cages. Another day...as it is raining again!

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