Sunday, March 30, 2008

Farm News

In an effort to minimize the farm's consumption of fossil fuels and the impact of heavy machinery on the soil Trent uses horses for tillage. Here he is striking a pose for sustainable agriculture while spreading compost. From the look of this picture it seems to me that his motivation for eschewing internal combustion engine powered machines in favor of horse-drawn apparatuses (like this manure/compost spreader in the photo above) has, at least in part, something to do with the more abundant opportunities afforded by the older technology to look cool while he works.

BTW, in the background to the left is the cow barn and to the right is the dairy barn containing the milking and cheese-making rooms, kitchen, aging room and retail-sales outlet.

Pig News

By Saturday 10 piglets out of the litter of 11 that was delivered by the gray sow were alive and doing well. The same could not be said for the offspring of the black sow, who's numbers by Saturday AM had dwindled to three from an initial farrowing of 13.

I know we are raising these pigs to slaughter and turn into salami, but it is still sad and very frustrating to see them dying off so soon after birth. I'd like to think that it's the sow's fault for not being able to settle down and feed nurse them. But that's not the way it works. We are the stewards of these animals and their loss are partially our failures. We owed those pigs a good if brief life, and what they got was a brief period of hunger and an early death. It stinks.


redman said...

amazing project you have going on. It's fascinating to see the level of commitment you and your colleagues have to a sustainable farm.

redman said...

-also meant to add that lots of people talk the talk but you guys seem to walk the walk, even out there with his horse drawn equipment!

Charlotte said...

Draft horses *and* pigs? My jealousy knows no bounds ...

JD said...

The important thing is that you're learning through all of this. Next time you have new piglets I bet you'll be better prepared on how to help them out if their mother is not capable of it herself.

You are absolutely correct that just because you are going to later a slaughter animal does not mean that it doesn't deserve a happy, healthy life until then.

Christian the Apprentice said...

I think one of the biggest lessons learned for me so far is the difference between stewardship and pet ownership. There is a HUGE difference, but I don't think it comes to light until you're face with the concept of slaughter and such.

The learning and memories are for a life time, and you learn that farming is not a profession but a lifestyle.