It is good to know where your food comes from, although it is not always appetizing, thus it is with pigs. I want my children to be familiar with our food sources and the amount of work it can be to produce it. Hopefully it will make them more aware, more grateful and more confident. Therefore, the chickens, goats, garden and this summer, pigs.
Lessons learned about pigs.
- Pigs bite. Really truly, I have been bitten by a pig. She just reached up and bit me on the back of the leg as if she was a dog. The bruise was a black, blue and purple beauty. I went to some function or another with my husband that week and it was SOO tempting to dress up all elegantly in a black skirt and say (like anyone would ask) “Yup, that’s where I got done bit by a hawg.”
- Pigs stink. Those books that say they don’t are lying. I wouldn’t enclosure raise pigs again, if we do pigs again it will be on pasture. Otherwise, we will support some real farmer who has the space to pasture raise.
- Pigs eat a lot. We really needed to figure out how to store food by the ton and buy it once from a granary. It would be both cheaper and easier. When we get the meat back, I’ll run the numbers. That’ll be fun…not.
- Some pigs eat more than others. There was a distinct size difference between the two pigs while they were sharing a feed pan. Marcus added another pan and their final hanging weights were only 4-lbs apart.
- We would also start our project earlier in the year. Packing a five gallon bucket of water over ice is its own winter sport.
Pigs were a splendid first meat project. No one got attached to them. After they bit me, they lost their names and became known as the daughters of Beelzebub.
The butcher came Wednesday, shot the pigs and drove away with the carcasses. It took him about 25 minutes from the time he pulled the driveway until the time he left. None of us chose to watch them die. Tales of pig butchering usually involve the pigs squealing, nary a thing did we hear. The most awareness of the animals going to die was the day or two before the butcher was scheduled to come. They were prepared “Your days are numbered and their number is___” I would intone to them each morning I fed them. We weren’t exactly friends after I got hawg bit. Not even the child who once burst into tears at the table due sheer carnivore guilt has shed a single tear, there has only been anticipation for the return of the pig in little white packages. Wherein, I shall have the last bite.
April to August has passed in a blur; will someone please slow down the train? I traded my goats babies for cold hard cash and have been drowning my guilt in glass after glass of rich raw goat milk. The doeling went to her mother’s previous owner and the boys found new homes as weed eaters. Here’s hoping for a better boy to girl ratio next year. It might be better to dam raise the boys next year. Goat roast would be a hurdle, goat roast that we bottle fed might be an insurmountable hurdle.
Elora has been fascinated by pigs for a couple years. We admit to encouraging it. If your daughter asks you for a pig will you give her a Barbie? It’s hard to say no when your child’s desires are in accordance to your own. (I think there is a spiritual lesson there…)
The pigs are named Boston and Bacon, the theory is that if we keep reminding ourselves of the pig’s purpose in life eating them won’t be too traumatic. Truly it would be best to not endow them with names- they are quite personable- and names only add more projected personality. This is our first project of deliberately planned meat. More on this later, when my brain is working better.
Filed under Hobby farm, Pigs
A lot of people have a repressed desire to farm. I know this is true by the number of people who have virtual farms, you would not have virtual farm if you didn’t have some primeval urge to farm. We are all descended from people who tilled the earth by the sweat of their brow, it’s in our blood. People used to deal with it by farming, raising chickens, and pigs, planting enormous gardens and canning everything that was possibly cannable and many things that were only passably cannable. The world has changed, fast forward to the modern age and people still feed that repressed inner farmer, by using Facebook apps such as Farmville, buying cases of canned goods at Cost-co and growing mold in the refrigerator. They may not even be aware that they have repressed inner farmer.
Cursed with an inner farmer that was not satiated with such simple pleasures, she begged for chickens and got them. I am not passionate about chickens, they smell, they poop and many of them lack endearing qualities. My inner farmer loves chickens. She loves the way they make soft clucking noises when they’re happy and trumpet to the world when they’ve laid an egg. She loves the sight of a beautiful big bird scratching in the distance. She likes nurturing the flock. I do like the eggs, it’s all about the payoff, the difference between a day old egg, laid by a real chicken with access to dirt, bugs and sunshine, and a month old store bought egg is amazing.
Now my ‘farm’ has goats, two lovely girls, just dying to give lots and lots of fresh, creamy, sweet milk which I shall turn into mounds and mounds of glorious cheese. All will be happiness, sweetness and light. Odd, unrealistic things happen on the farm in my head. Ahh, dreams. I know that eight chickens and two goats do not a farm make, but they sure make my repressed farmer feel less… repressed.