Wednesday, March 12, 2008

warm day

Well, I've had a productive day with finally getting to my "odds and ends" containers that had ended up accumulating to a ridiculous 4 large rubbermaid tubs full! I threw away a huge amount of things, have several pails of "to sort" screws, tacks, strings, coins, keys, pills and other things that ended up at the bottom of each tub, plus I think I have a couple more bowls full of stuff from the counter. I had no idea there were so many precious things around that I didn't need the past year :). The house is still a tad messy due to bags of garbage to be hauled to the pit, boxes of canning jars to take to the loft, boxes of girl clothes to pack and stuff to return to inlaws, but it is nice outside so now that the chickens are in the oven, the girls and I will head out to work on the pig stuff. With wheat over $10.00 bushel, I am re-evaluating how much of everything do we really need and it is time for extra roosters to be dealt with, chickens to be moved to where they can do a bit more foraging (away from straw bales where they can lay extra eggs in!) and I'm making sure of the #'s of chicken I really need to order for meat this fall. Extra eggs do not sell well around here even though they are priced less than storebought (something I swore I would NEVER do!), so I need to determine if the they could be fed to other things and cost less than purchased protein for pigs or dogs, or if we need to get rid of a few chickens also. I love being sentimental, but it does not make for saving money or otherwise and I can enjoy 20 chickens as much as 50.
Pigs can easily forage elsewhere, but not in the winter and so we may cut the fall litters out of the equation if we don't have a market for the meat or piglets. And although we may lose a lot more money by selling feeder piglets rather than finished piglets, it also means we have to put out a LOT less money in grain to feed out the pigs. I have 1/3 of a bin of wheat and barley left so I guess we'll just see how that goes but I don't want to be stuck in a game of losing money purchasing feed for the animals rather than selling them.
With rural areas lack of interest in sustainable food vs. cheap food it is frustrating for any animal raiser, and it seems that they are doing their best to promote the Walmarts and ultra cheap food at any cost. They talk big about supporting local farmers and agriculture, but when it comes down to it, it is about convenience and perceived cost, as many are willing to drive 70 miles to get milk .50c cheaper.
We are out to finish the farrowing pens and shoo Terrence into a new abode - this warm weather is turning him into an 8 month old frisky puppy that wants nothing but play and using everything as an excuse to get bouncy with the very pregnant gilts. After he squealed and shoved one girl all the way across the pen out of fun, I whacked him on the head with a shovel and told the girls I would kick him out the next day. Emily and Elise had so much fun helping yesterday that I'll take them again today and they can crawl in and out of each of the pens, testing everything I've made.
Oh, I also need to get my seeds started today if I want to get much of a headstart. I am still having a hard time getting used to planting into potting soil instead of home soil and compost - I can't seem to get things to grow quite right. But I wasn't very happy with my purchased tomatoes and peppers as they didn't grow right and I wonder if they weren't root bound (like all purchased starts), and suffered Miracle Grow withdrawal. :)
Gotta run!
Heather for the crew

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on your blog while looking for Berkshires in North Dakota. We are moving to a farm in North Central North Dakota this summer and are interested in raising pastured pigs, probably berkshires. (Where are you located?)

I would be interested in hearing more about your marketing efforts in rural ND. Are you selling meat and eggs at farmers markets, to individuals or stores? While I have an interest in sustainable niche agriculture I have been suspicious that North Dakota is probably a difficult spot for such a venture. Your blog seems to echo that suspicion.