Monday, May 19, 2008

May 18, 2008

I thought I would add some pice this week to the blog. I took some pics of the young pigs and Mama pig. They are doing well. They are slowly becoming a little friendlier the last few times I have visited them. I think Sausage and Biscuit are more like pets than fodder. Let me be clear about one thing. CORN IS EXPENSIVE! I could not believe how much corn we are feeding these pigs. I can assure you there is no profit in it for me. I am doing it out of fun and wanting to keep my food drug free if at all possible. I am glad i have some partners in this little deal. Rodney, Dave, and Parker came out to help this weekend. We got some food plots planted and piddled around the farm. Parker is turning 4 next month and I think a John Deere tractor is his favorite thing in the world. He loves to ride around on the tractor all day long. I also took a pic of the garden that has been planted on the farm. We should have plenty of ripe veggies in a few months.
My Dad has gone absolutely nuts on strawberries. He is picking strawberries almost every day and taking them to people all over Middle Tennessee. He has a heart of gold. He picks strawberries darn near all day and pays $1.30 a pound and then gives them away. He even pays his friend Amy to help him pick them at $15.00 per hour. I figure he is giving away about $150 to $200 per day of strawberries. He did this with grass cutting as well. He has but one speed and that is wide open all the time everyday. Since Mom passed away he has been taking life on by the horns. I just hope he is going slow enough to actually enjoy it.
My wife has become concerned that the farm life is not for a city girl like her. I have assured her that she will fall in love with the country. There is nothing like driving through the country on a Sunday afternoon. I bought her a washboard and some lye soap to help her become better acquainted with the creek. Who knows? Maybe some day she will want to make her own dresses. I really want to see that let me tell you. ;)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Today is the first Mother's Day without my Mom. She passed away in November and it was a difficult day for me. I went out to the grave site and took some time to reflect on my life and tell her I miss her. I spoke with My Aunt Phyllis who is my Mom's sister. We chatted for a few minutes. I am looking forward to seeing her in a couple of weeks. She really reminds me of my Mom and I feel closer to her now than I did growing up. I have two wonderful cousins on her side Ben and Bethany that have turned out to be wonderful parents. I am glad to have them as family. I think over time we will all get a little closer. I sure do miss my Mom.
I was at the farm this weekend and the war pigs are doing great. Sausage and Biscuit sure are like pets. The are the first to greet me when I come out to the pen. I brought them a truckload of corn and softened it by putting it in a barrel and adding water. It takes a couple of days to get absorbed intothe corn, but the go absolutely bananas for it. Big Mama came down for a few minutes to eat. I had to put her food out separately because she kept going from feed tray to feed tray running the little ones off. She finally calmed down and munched on some corn. I have a feeling this is going to be an expensive hobby.
I let my chickens out this afternoon a little early and they had a ball. Left-overs are their favorite. There is no sight in the world like chickens with spaghetti noodles hanging out of their mouth running from each other. I did get some pics of them today to post. I am going to get an incubator and raise about 50 more to have down on the farm. If you ever need any fresh eggs let me know. I have them coming out my ears now with only 12 hens.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

May 7th, 2008

I took a day off from work and went to visit my ailing Uncle Jim. Cancer is such a terrible disease. It has two of my family members in its grasp now. Both of them are going to succumb to this horrible disease. After visiting my Uncle Jim, I went and visited some of my other family in Lawrenceburg, TN. I took a ride with my Cousin's husband Jeff Purcell who owns a garage in Ethridge. He does some fine work on vehicles at a reasonable price if you ever need it. He also goes to antique tractor pulls and actually places well. I think every tractor he owns is older than mine and starts faster than my VW. I was asking Jeff about the Amish community around Lawrenceburg and he said they have a lot of land around Ethridge, TN. Needless to say we took a ride through the country. If you have never been to an Amish community it is well worth seeing. They do not use electricity and ride a horse an buggy everywhere. Their houses are a simple white with red barns. They are a deeply religious community and you can sure tell it. They actually will slaughter, scald, de-hair, and block a hog for $16.50. For a dollar more they will actually give your pork chops as well. Compared to a packing plant this is downright dirt cheap. The catch is they don't start until November when the weather cools down. That will fall perfectly into my plan for making sausage and my own country hams.

I went back through Columbia and met my Dad at the farm and we sprayed a couple of deer food plots to plant this weekend. I stopped by and got a few pics of the pigs for you to see. I had to get in the pen and run them around to get a pic worth anything. I have found that they are content to lay around in the shade all day long. Tomorrow is bringing rain so that should help them make a wallow pit at the bottom near the pond.

Let me introduce "Sausage". He is a Duroc that I picked up for $25 dollars at a neighbors. He is living the life right now. When I got him he was abandoned by the owner with his friend "Biscuit" in a barn. They are now in an area 100 times the size with plenty of fresh water and grazing away on corn and greens. I am glad I was able to help them. I know it sounds strange that I am going to eat them anyway, but I think they should have the best life they can until that day comes.

This is "Sausage" and "Biscuit" hanging out.

I will be back at work tomorrow and probably tied up until the weekend. I hope the contractor gets back from vacation Monday to give us the price for remodeling the farm house. I hope to add some pics as we go along.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

So far so good

Rodney went out to feed and water this morning. He said they were as happy as punch. They were laying up in the woods enjoying the shade and mother nature. The little ones came down to eat when her poured in the corn. I did pick up one little trick from Patrick that is a great idea to help them. He soaks his corn in water to soften it for the animals. He said it lets them digest them easier. This weekend we are building a smaller pen and a chute to load them later when we head them down to the Mennonites for slaughter. My goal is to have a smoke house built in the next few months for smoking bacon and hams. I think I will probably give the first few batches away to see how good they are and what I need to change.

Monday, May 5, 2008


I am looking forward to this coming weekend. We have lots of work to do to get the pen wrapped up and the food/water situation smoothed out. Right now Rodney is helping to keep them fed and watered. I cannot wait for the house renovation to be completed and get moved into the palace. You have no idea how calming it is for me to be down on the farm. I will update with some pictures this weekend.

Day One!

Let me start by mentioning my wife and Dad think I have lost my mind. More than likely I will be placed in some type of counseling before all this is said and done. Unfortunately, the damage is done. I bought the pigs before I had the pen built. It is my simple mathematical formula that always rings true in my head. Buy the stuff before you have a home for it then you HAVE to make a home for it. Now that my mental state has been addressed let's move on to the business at hand.

Rule # 1.
Don't buy anything until you have talked with someone who does this for a living or raises a lot of hogs. They can teach you more in 1 hour than you will learn in a month by yourself. Of course I did the opposite. I went to CO-OP which is my favorite store other than Bass Pro Shop and probably ranks as high as the Bucksnort Adult Book Store on Matt Burton's all time favorite stops on the way home from Mississippi. I decided to go ahead and purchase the hog panels, posts, wire and a few other odds and ends. Steel is not cheap. I walked into the CO-OP and could shit in a thimble. I walked out and could not shit in a 5 gallon bucket. Hog fencing is expensive. For a whopping $450.00 I got a few hog panels, nose rings, pliers for the nose rings, Iodine solution, T posts, wire, and a post driver. I was so disgusted I almost drank the Iodine and impaled myself with a T Post. Leaving CO-OP is a sad moment in every man's life. You just really want one more thing right before you leave.

Now were trucking fellas. I am jolly as Saint Nick on some high octane egg nog and elf porn. We headed over to Patrick's farm to gather some intelligence and buy some more hogs. When we arrived at Pat's place the smell was overwhelming. I mean it fills your nostrils like drowning. As I held down the Coke I drank on the way there I realized that another rule was needed.
Rule #2
Don't put your hog pen within the same county that you live.
With that said we ventured off into the hog park. This place is like Disney for Hogs. He has these big pens with mud holes and ponds for hog lounging. They have feed troughs filled with golden nuggets of corn and water troughs with clean fresh water. I was simply amazed. Pat helped me understand that the hog business is based on losing your ass. You will never make a profit nor will you ever raise your hogs for less than you can buy them at the grocery store. HOWEVER, you will get something better than money. You will provide a great food to your friends and family that is much safer than what is out there today with all the Antibiotics and steroids pumped into animals every day. Leaving Pat's place left me wondering if my Dad and the Ole' Lady were indeed right. Maybe I have lost my mind.

We got the fence up and loaded two piggies into the pen I got from another source I had previously committed to buying before I met Patrick. Somehow I have managed to agree with 4 other people to raise a hog for them as well. I thought if you are going to raise 5 then why not 9. I know your thinking I am slowly slipping into insanity, but think of it in another sense. I now have 4 partners in this damn business that will help me feed, water, and for the most part pay some of the bills. The last being the best because by now I am asshole deep to a tall Indian in hogs. Sunday is a new day. Thank God!