Monday, December 17, 2012

Farm Walkabout

It's been awhile as some of you have reminded me, since I've shown you South Pork Ranch in a walkabout so lets go for a walk, an end of year jog so to speak. Except, I won't be jogging. I will however be dragging along this creature,

For some reason we  thought I needed another dog. So let me introduce this little guy. Ashland is 3/4 German Shepard and 1/4 Huskie. Don't think I'll be carrying him under my arm much longer. If all goes well, he'll be carrying me into my golden arrears.
Let's get moving...From the back door,
A few greens trimmed off the evergreens that are no longer ever-green. Last summers drought destroyed over half of our beautiful windbreak trees. Some still had one or two branches left so before they all became firewood they became garland. Special thanks again to friend Jay who did all the decorative work .
Back to our stroll, to the east of our farmhouse is our front yard which looks better now in mid December than it did in mid July. Adequate amounts of fall rains have given us the green grass we desperately needed. Our horses, cows and pigs have greatly benefited.
Stunning photo eh? Rooster flipping me off with his tail and all but note to the left side of pic the dead  evergreen tree.  Almost as bad as the old tree dead in the center. The grass is awesome though. Heading father north we hit the "stables."
That's Ennis the horse on the right and Doolin the miniature donkey on the left for those of you who might be equinely impaired and don't know the difference. This is their first hay feeding of the cold season. You can see by their overall physiques the pasture was more than enough for them through the fall. 
Hmmm. Do you ever get that feeling you are being followed?
Yeah, me too.
To the west of the horse feeder is my secret garden. It looks so sad don't you think?
I haven't bothered to clean out dead plants, instead choosing to leave the seeds and pods for the birds to pick through. I'm so lazy , eco-minded, aren't I ? Next spring I'll have a big job in there for sure. Now back past the horses and over to the east side of the farm...
We have two hog breeding groups. One boar, Mad max and his females are doing well, even though at first glance they seem unbalanced.
Oh wait, that's me.
Our second group led by the very lovely Wally will be focused on in a future post. Just to the north of them is a new group of feeder pigs who've been in the barn and now have a HUGE pasture to frolic within. Still the highlight of their day is the milk mans visit. Raw and slightly aged to yogurt consistency, they go nuts when they see him coming. (The milk, not Keith)
With his trough made from a split sewer drainage pipe (clean when we started) , these fat pigs all get a chance to get a fair amount. The piglets above come from two sows and I love the degree of red in their coloring. Some very light and some rich red. All are uniformly  greedy.
Heading to the south we arrive at the farm store. We hit the stores two year anniversary last month. and business continues to grow.  We're able to keep enough pork in the store in the way of bacon, chops, roast etc...but never able to keep enough beef. Why? Because beef refuse to grow any faster that they do, unmotivated slugs that they are.
Inside the store the changes are subtle, unlike the author of this blog. We now stock items from 9 area farmers, with the total inventory consisting of pork, beef, bar soap, laundry soap, teas. honey, flour, corn meal , eggs, jelly, jams, lip balm and baby bibs. Everything is either grown on our farm or a local farm and/or is handmade.
Walmart we ain't. Thank God.
So after checking the egg frig (cold) and the two meat freezers (very cold), sweeping the floor (dirty) and pitching the entry rug (filthy dirty) I headed out towards the chicken coop.
We've done nothing with it this year, so far. When we get a moment we'll move some straw bales in front to block the wind and close up some windows. We've had very mild weather so of course have felt no real urge to get things ready for winter. This means we'll likely get gifted with a huge winter storm tonight.
Coming back from the chicken coop and down the West drive you'll see again the amazing green grass. Then under the tree on the left is...yes, a porch. It's the old back porch we removed when the new one was installed months ago. It is now the beginning of a tree fort for the GK's
In this same area are the bee hives. Only two hives are close to the house and our gardens. The rest are located elsewhere. They are hibernating now and more honey won't be available till next spring.
We placed them in the middle of a group of Evergreens, 2/3 of that group now dead. Hopefully the tall, never mowed grasses will also help protect them this winter. The field behind them is winter wheat Keith planted several weeks ago.
So, all that walking wore me out. Time for a nap.



  1. And you finish in the antique shop. Thanks for the tour.

  2. Cro, you are most welcome. Now it's YOUR turn!

  3. I enjoyed that, Donna! What a lot of work though -- I'm exhausted just imagining it...

  4. Lovely visit. Thank you! Now I just wish we could sit down, chat, have a tea and make some soap together!!! Happy holidays, xo Jen

  5. Thank you for the lovely pre-winter tour!

    Oh boy, it seems that several of us bloggers have suddenly come on with an obviously contagious "ailment".....puppy fever!

    Good luck with your ball o' fur!

  6. Jen. Me too. I might just ask for a trip to Spain fro Christmas. Be careful what you ask for

  7. I very much enjoyed the walkaround. Amazed at how green your grass is in December! It's unnaturally green here, too; most years it'd be brown by now and covered with snow.

  8. I enjoyed the walk about very much and your puppy is so freaking cute!!

  9. Megan, yeah its like the grass in Ireland which never gets brown. Lovely right now

  10. Judie. He is cute and about 50% house trained, We've always had outdoor dogs so freaking cute only gets him a pass the 50% of the time he actually GOES outside.

  11. Loved the tour Donna. As for your secret garden don't worry about the brown stuff, think of it as reseeding naturally for next year. I have a piggy question for you, have you ever had a pig with pms? Have any of them ever gotten anti social and not wanted to eat for a day or two?

  12. Puppy Power! Thanks for the tour, I always enjoy seeing the farm. Is the puppy sleeping inside the house or outside....curious minds want to know.

  13. Rosyln

    Pigs are moody. And social. Not eating can be due to so many things. Overcrowding so there is too much competition for the food, a hagh parasite load that affects appetite, anorexia just before farrowing or just after. Would not woory about a day or two. Would woory if four days and would isolate hog if ill. We use DE and garlic for worming if that helps

  14. Puppy is....inside. I want a dog that will protect our family at night. Our great pyrennes job is to protect livestock at night. So puppy is sleeping in the bathroom and doing well. Even uses my shower floor to piddle on if he can't hold his urine all night. I just rinse clean. Wish my 3 boys had been that smart, er easy...

  15. Hey Seester! Where did you get the puppy? Brandon thinks we need one too, yes another try at having a dog. I love the name as would Don & Dusty!

  16. Well Maggie, I of course got him on Ashland Ave! last time I was up north making deliveries. He is super adorable and I am getting quite used to having a dog sleeping at my feet.

  17. Donna, it was only for two days and there are only three pigs in that lot. It was just the most curious thing especially since her sister was in heat at the same time and acted normal. Thanks for the tips and info.

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