The Gang

The Gang
October 2008 Sweet Potatoe Harvest

About Me

I am a busy mommy of 6, seeking to be a loving, godly helpmeet to my husband and a biblical discipler to my children. God has blessed us with a child with Autism. May the lessons that the Lord is teaching me and our family be a blessing to you and yours!

My Favorite Books

  • Bible
  • Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl
  • Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  • Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
  • Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Saturday, July 19, 2008

Our pig adventures began on Monday when the pigs decided they'd like to become "free range" pigs! :-) Thursday was the worst day yet. I woke at 6:50 hearing a noisy commotion in the entry way. It sounded like Sunny was famished and eating fiercely. Then I heard the dog bark, he was standing in the driveway looking into the entrance barking. When I peeked out my kitchen window I discovered two pigs eating all Sunny's dog food! That was the first of many pig chasing episodes for the morning. At one point the pigs had wandered into the creek, which is beyond the barbwire fencing. I was walking through the corn field on the other side of the creek and trudging through the creek trying to stir them back into the pasture. Finally we were able to spot them, so I put the kids on watch while I went in to make some lunch, it was already 11:30. Yes, you read it correctly we had been chasing pigs off and on for 4 1/2 hours. Ugh!!! Finally around noon Sam jumped into the creek and chased them back into the field where Sunny & Elizabeth successfully chased them back into their pen. We tried to block every exit point they had created in the pen and then set the kids up on a rotation watch of the pigs until Daddy came home.

Thursday evening Phil started building a new coop and fenced in area for the chickens. We ran out of feed and they are not getting enough grass in their current pen. We HATE giving them grain and have no money to buy more so fencing in a grass pasture area was the only and best solution. By Friday he had it finished so we spent the morning chasing chickens and putting them in their new fenced in area. We caught all but 13 who were caught in the evening once they were in to roost for the night. The picture I have posted is of the pen before Phil built the roof. Now it has a peeked roof with a laying box way up high. The 2 full size hens showed their appreciation for the grass and laying box by giving us two fresh eggs last night! Earlier in the week Elizabeth found a nest in the hay loft with 18 eggs in it. We tested them all in the water test and they were all good. They've already all been eaten and were still fresh and wonderful!

I have to tell you that I was so exhausted by Thursday night after chasing pigs for so many hours that I literally cried tears of relief when I realized that Phil would be home all Day Friday to help us keep the pigs in their pen. And wouldn't you know, they didn't try to escape ONE TIME on Friday.

Today was a different story though. They got out several times before Phil finally corralled them into the old Chicken pen. Phil and Sam are expanding the pigs fencing and electrifying it so our little porkettes will stay put (hopefully)!

The kids love having the chickens in the yard. Phil and I laugh every time they pull out the camp chairs and sit around the pen "chick" watching!! :-) Today they caught a big beetle and enjoyed watching the chickens play "beetle football"! I love looking out one kitchen window and seeing our garden and the other window to see our meat & egg sources for the winter. It is GREAT getting to raise/grow our own food, but it is a lot of work!! The weeds are winning in the garden right now because it has been far to hot to be in the garden during the day and we've been getting a lot of rain. Both the veggies and the weeds like these growing conditions, which is causing us to loose the battle to the weeds for this week at least.

Phil has decided to build chicken tractors and is trying to decide on a design that will be economical and easy to move. We figure we will need a few of them. He wants to try to design chicken tractors that will hold 25 birds each. Right now we have 28 hens and 25 roosters. We have 50 more chicks arriving next Monday. It is a straight run so I'm not sure how many of each sex we will have. We'd like to start pasturing them within a couple weeks since August is very warm here in WI and having the grass will give them a strong healthy start!! Plus, they will outgrow the room we have set up for them in the barn. We also have 6 turkeys that will need their own tractor. I think the 6 ducks and 2 geese will also need their own tractor. So That means Phil needs to build at least 6 bird tractors. WE have PLENTY of Lawn for the birds. We are determined to use this useless grass to help our food supply instead of use energy we need to spend elsewhere. It takes Phil about 7-8 hours a WEEK to mow the lawn with our push mower. I'd rather spend the money on building the tractors so that our meat and egg birds will be healthier than on a riding mower.

I'm sure the next few weeks will be filled with building lessons as Phil and the kids finish the pig fencing and start making the bird tractors. There is never a dull moment!


Hairgrove's Hangout said...

Hey Shirley and gang! Thanks for stopping by my blog. It is so good to reconnect again. Your small farm looks so wonderful. I know our grandchildren would love it too. Your children are so grown up! It is good to see their photo's. Elizabeth looks like a young lady now (and putting up jam .... wow, great work)Keep in touch.
Love to you all,