The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Teal realization

Blue-winged tealWednesday was the kind of rain day I remember from my visits to various jungles --- a steady, endless shower.  Mark and I were able to stay busy indoors, but the wild birds were less lucky.  This is the middle of spring migration (wood thrushes arrived Tuesday!), and one confused teal clearly figured the weather was too bad to keep flying.  I can just imagine the duck looking down and thinking it saw a pond, then coming in for a landing...only to end up on our pile of cattle panels.

Fake pond

Except for their role as a duck decoy, our cattle panels haven't seen any use yet.  Spring is heating up in the garden and chicken world, and we've been spending most of our energies there, which makes it less and less likely we'll get the new pasture done in time to trial pigs this year.  However, all is not lost --- I'm hopeful we'll have the fencing and shelter ready for spillover chicken pasture during the usual summer lull, and it'll definitely be ready for pigs next spring.  Slow but steady definitely wins the homesteading race.

(If you're dying to see pigs this year, I can't recommend the Sugar Mountain Farm Blog highly enough.  Plus, our friend Sarah is trying pigs this year and her piglets have already arrived!  Hopefully those two sources will tide you over until we get our act together.)

Our chicken waterer keeps coops dry even when the whole flock is milling around inside all day.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I've found that sometimes procrastination pays off.. By this time last year we had already purchased our piglets, so we had it in our minds that we were running behind and needed to hurry up and get some but we discoved that the piglets for sale in early sping cost more because of kids purchasing their piglets to raise for the Fair. Found out if we wait til mid May or the begining of June for later litters we can save $30-$50 per piglet. Don't know if that helps but figured I'd put in my 2cents.
Comment by Bo Thu Apr 18 14:44:14 2013
I have been bogging on posting because we've been so busy lately, but this motivates me to get on it! (Plus, my mom complained about the lack of posts, too.) ;) I have yet to find a happy medium for regularity -- I tried once a day, but that only lasted a month as I started to get burned out, but then I'll let two weeks slip by without realizing it if I don't do it daily. I don't know how you and Mark do it!
Comment by mitsy (aka, sarah) Thu Apr 18 15:53:48 2013
Mitsy --- Updates --- yay! :-) It's much easier for me and Mark to post frequently, I think, because we blog together. We both feel like we'd be letting the other person down if we skipped a day. Plus, we just put it on the schedule, so blogging turns into a regularly anticipated period of introspection each day. Sure, some days our posts aren't the best, but they still record what happened that day, so it's worth it to us.
Comment by anna Thu Apr 18 16:41:52 2013

You'll have to forgive me if you've mentioned this in another post, sometimes things slip out my brain, even though I do read here every night. Why pigs? Why not another medium/large meat animal?

I raise the pigs every year and I now have enough goats to officially say I have a herd. (4 with the birth of my little doe this month, 5-7 the end of may if the having a girl, luck holds) The point is, if I had to remove one, the goats would stay. For various reasons but the main being that the goats can be fed for so much less, not having to bring in feed. I'm just curious on your choice and reckoning behind pigs.

Comment by T Fri Apr 19 01:14:21 2013
T --- Good question. I should have linked to some relevant posts, but wasn't sure which aspects of our pig decision would be most interesting to people. The short answer is that we want to try a large animal that you can grow like a broiler chicken --- raise it for a few months, eat it, then never speak of it again if we hate the experience. (Or expand and breed our own if we love it.) After crunching a lot of numbers, it looks like goats and sheep aren't really economically viable done this way, but pigs are. In the long run, I'd like to try goats someday, but they seem like less of a starter large animal for us since people generally raise long-term herds.
Comment by anna Fri Apr 19 09:00:56 2013

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