Friday, May 28, 2010

Father of Invention

I am a selfish blogger. On our farm "me" stands for Myself Entirely because that is usually who I talk about when I get in front of the keyboard. But not today. Today I talk of Keith.

Keith Parrish is my husband and partner on the farm. Together we have raised four children, and hundreds of animals, often using the same techniques for both. We have learned that what is good for the goose often applies to the out of control teenager but I digress.

Keith can make most anything out of most anything. ( Really, take ME  for example. Once a bra-burning -man-hating-hemp-dressed-unshaven-feminist , I married Keith and evolved in the logically thinking conservative I am today. But again I digress ) Most recently he created this milk fountain for our market hogs.  I wish he would have thought of this when all four kids were still living at home. Would've have saved a lot of plate washing. Anyway...when we decided to raise hogs year round we budgeted for larger DRY grain feeders. We did not plan for ways to feed extra milk from our dairy. In the past, with just a few hogs, we would just hand carry buckets of milk to the hungry hog snouts. Now, with nearly 50 head of hogs to feed we needed something more efficient and SAFER. 50 hogs running into your legs looking for milk was getting a little hairy.

So here it is. The Milk-O-Matic or MOM is you'd prefer. A nice little substitute for the real thing.

The big white barrels hold the leftover milk from our dairy, that which has not been sold to our milk customers. The barrels are old soap barrels we got FREE  from The Corner Hardware Store in Chatsworth, Illinois. Keith fitted them at the bottom with $8 valves to allow the milk to flow out of the barrels. The barrels are supported by a hard plastic pallet which allows Keith to move the barrels from the milk house to the pig pasture with the forks on our Kubota tractor.


When Keith opens the valve on the spigot and the deliciously rich  milk comes pouring out , the pigs turn into growling, snarling, beasts of carnal desire. Like me when presented with a big plate of sizzling bacon. Ironic, no? Even more ironic, the trough is made from a PVC sewer pipe, 14 feet long with a 10 inch diameter, cut in half lengthwise. Yes, it was a clean, unused sewer pipe purchased from Kafer Tiling in Fairbury, Illinois for $120.

The trough is stabalized and blocked  at the ends with scrap iron and wood from Keiths "inventory".


The pipe width is perfect for many snouts to get their fair share of certified organic raw milk from 100% grass fed cows on pasture. Every day we get thank you cards from these little piggies. Some write better than others but all are special to us.

Some pigs get far enough into the trough to get little milk facials, making their skin that much softer and sweeter for our chefs (like Jared Van Camp of Old Town Social in Chicago) who love to make tasty dishes like Porchetta di Testa from the pigs head   . See how he does it at    http://www.somepig1.com/sta

Farming.  Everyday an adventure.

69 comments:

  1. Amazing, utterly, amazing. Brandon once again is jealous with farm envy.....good job Keith.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know his "inventory" hurts your brain sometimes, but he is the reason that I am so frugal with money, the reason I look at things twice before I throw them away to see if they could have another use, and one of the reasons I am able to provide a nice, safe home for your grandchildren. He has taught me well, while barely speaking a word!

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