Thursday, June 05, 2008

With the advent (finally) of the hot weather (it has been in the upper 90's for the past 3 days), my schedule and our schedule is changing a bit. If you notice, my blog posting is primarily done pretty early in the morning (with an occasional afternoon observation), sometimes before sun-up. But this morning I was out in the shop at 6:00 to take advantage of the cooler weather and will do more of my office work in the heat of the day.


I planted 3 more rows of beans yesterday and 3 rows of sunflowers. I plan to plant some more sunflowers today. The sunflower seeds will be great for the goats and the pigs (of course we will have new pigs by then.)


Speaking of the pigs-slaughter time is coming up. Of course, our timing is bad. Most often a pig is slaughtered in the fall or winter to take advantage of the natural cooling. Typically after a pig is slaughtered and eviscerated, it is hung overnight to cool before butchering. This is supposed to make the meat more tender and easier to butcher.

Of course, some people do slaughter and butcher in the same day. I even read of one fellow who packs the pig carcass in ice for a few hours after slaughter and then goes to butcher.

However, I think we are going to make some temporary coolers around the hanging carcasses, packed with ice (or dry ice) so we can get the benefit of hanging overnight. Much work to do-the barn isn't even built yet.


The SC Department of Agriculture puts out a bimonthly publication, the SC Market Bulletin (subscription required.) It is a marvelous thing. Usually about 8 pages of livestock, farm equipment, and miscellaneous items for sale. We found our pigs and our goats via the SC Market Bulletin. This week we several things of interest including some cheap chicken wire, a cast iron tub and a source of hay.


I need a master plan for my manure. I have read all kinds of advice and at times have tried to do them all-but I don't have THAT much manure. We would like to get better use out of our land, and more manure would go a long way towards that. (We have a good problem-more manure than ever before-but of course that makes us want to do more-even though we haven't realized the potential of what we have tried in the past.)

One suggestion is to rotate the pigs between four paddocks-never collecting manure, but just spreading it once the pigs move on to the next paddock. By the time the pigs return-6 to 8 weeks later, the grass will be lush and full. Thus you don't have to buy much commercial feed (they may not fatten as quickly, but who cares, the feed is free.) However, you won't have any manure for the rest of your property.

We would like a bigger and more fertile garden (have I mentioned we live on beach sand in the middle of SC?) So we would like to spread the pig manure around our fall garden site.

The goats go through greenery pretty quickly, and if we want to make sure we don't get eaten alive with goat feed bills, we need to rotate goats also and get some green, green pasture going in other places (even if it is our football field.)

There is a place I think I can sometimes get a free truckload of horse manure. If I could do that, the extra manure would make the other decisions easy.

Oremus pro invicem!

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