and bacon and pork chops and ribs and…..

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Meet Honey and Maple!  I haven’t decided which is which yet, as they look identical other than one is slightly larger than the other. They are our new heritage Red Wattle pigs.  A few months ago, while we were still in CO, I payed a deposit to Donna over at South Pork Ranch.  We have a little over 2.5 acres here at Red Gate Farm that we want to clear, and we figure we might as well let animals do the work for us.

Pigs from South Pork Ranch have been bred to thrive on pasture and forage, though they do supplement with grain and other foods.  They were just 8 weeks old and freshly weaned when I picked them up this past weekend.  We plan to supplement with as big a variety as I can–organic grains, excess milk, whey, kefir, and all the kiddos’ leftovers.  Thus, I officially maintain a slop bucket in my kitchen now.  As well as a few jars of souring milk.  Apparently sour milk is better for their guts than fresh milk.  Since they came home, they have been in a barn stall to friendly them up, teach them my voice and the feeding schedule, and that way, hopefully, once they are turned loose in the thick forage, they will come out from hiding when I call.  I hope to have them out, converting all the green stuff, bugs, roots, mushrooms, and whatever else they eat into scrumptious hams sometime this weekend.

Goats grazing a subplot of the 2.5 acres.

Goats grazing a subplot of the 2.5 acres.

In the mean time, the goats have been having daily grazing sessions in the forage.  Yes, they are eating the grass in the photo.  Silly goats seem to having trouble figuring out they are “browsers” instead of “grazers” and that they are supposed to be in goat heaven eating up all that scrub behind them.  Hopefully they’ll figure it out soon enough and give the pigs a head start.  I’m also gonna be turning our other critters out there so all can tag-team this brush and make some progress turning this area into nice pasture.

I just love the concept of using the old-fashioned forest “glen” way of raising pigs (and the other animals), letting them do the hard work of clearing and massaging the land, and rather than wasting all that cleared brush by burning or hauling it off somewhere, it is converted into all sorts of meat and milk.  It’s such a symbiotic and natural way to do it, and while I’m focusing on other aspects of the farm, my thick brush is being converted into pasture.

Maple...or Honey...in the stall, looking for a hand-out.

Maple…or Honey…in the stall, looking for a hand-out.

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