Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Green Acres Bed and Breakfast
Yup, we have our first B&B facility ready for pigs. Only Pigs. So don't be showing up at my door, suitcase in hand, Brownie camera hanging from your neck, looking for an "ensuite" bedroom all decked out with lace curtains and wing backed chairs. However; if you happen to weigh about 5oo pounds, you eat without silverware, and it appears you might be pregnant with the dearly departed Fritz's offspring, then you are most certainly welcome.
Our new pig condo is the genius work and design of husband Keith. Assisted by two of our sons, (Jason and Kyle) and two of our nephews, (Nick and Logan) the Pigs Rome was not built in a day but rather over a couple months time. Its very difficult on a busy farm to focus on one project. Generally there are several going on at one time. This project was just one of many we've had to prioritize this winter. Weather always factors into the equation as well. The recent warm spell allowed Keith more time outdoors this week to finish the condo.
The most amazing part of the design is the bottom. Check out the huge "skis" made from old metal beams Keith had been hiding from me, the garbage nazi, behind the cow barn. He found them here when we bought our farm 16 years ago and just knew they would come in handy one day. This time he was spot on. Son Jason did the creative beam cutting and welding , shaping the beams like skis so that the entire complex could be easily pulled from one area to another by tractor.
You can see by the photo their plan worked very well and the condo was easily pulled from its construction spot by the machine shed, into our north pasture. A distance of about 200 feet. You can also see by the picture why my lawn never receives the Chatsworth "Yard of the Month" award. I'm thinking the back wall of the condo would be a great place for a Miss Piggy Mural.
The condo measures an impressive 10 foot by 16 foot. It is 5 foot high in the front and slants down to 4 foot high in the back. Built with heavy duty lumber both new and recycled, it is sided with white steel to coordinate with the rest of our red and white buildings here on GREEN acres farm. No, as a matter of fact I have NEVER thought to call it Candy Cane Acres. That is just another false rumor circulating at Rustys Elliot Cafe.
The condo is intended to shelter our four sows until farrowing time in March. By then we ("we" is in the C.P. sense of the word as in "did WE finish the pig condo yet ?" Of course Keith is the "we" ) will have a second condo built . Each condo will eventually house a family of pigs which includes 2 mature sows, their litters of baby piglets and one mature boar. A deep bed of straw will be added before we move the sows into their new home. Note the two large square bales of organic hay. Covering up half of the open south wall of the condo, it will allow the pigs 24 hour access to organic hay, and provide a nice windbreak and precipitation barrier for the rest of the winter. Any hay left on the ground will naturally become part of the condo's bedding keeping things warm and cozy for our hog herd. Each family of hogs will have an acre or so of land to roam, to wallow, to rut, to do pig pilates, whatever makes them happy.
We had planned to move the sows into their new home yesterday. Stuff happened. We might get to it today, except that I am frantically trying to finish a grant application due very soon. Perhaps we'll get it done tomorrow. Stay tuned.