Since establishing our Facebook page, it has been rather easy to periodically post a photograph of our daily experiences on the farm using this social media tool, that we have become negligent recording our life experiences in our journal. For us, the reason for facebook being easy was that Sylvestre was doing a lot of the updates with his amazing photographs, and now that he is back in Canada, we want to return to journaling on a more regular schedule. It seems to us that one can have more content about a particular subject or project with a journal entry than using facebook photographs or status updates. Our journal provides an outlet for us to document our history, emotions, decisions and all else that goes along with living and trying to eek out a living on this small farm.
With December’s arrival we had expected to begin sawing timbers for the farm vacation cabin rental, but with the most of the farm crew gone, we had a HUGE surplus of milk that we thought we should raise a few pigs over the winter, only because milk equals affordable and healthy pig feed.
Over the past several years we have been rotating pigs through the fields used for vegetable production. The pigs have been great about rooting up and eating pests, adding fertilizer to the fields and killing invasive weeds. This requires labor each year in setting up a temporary shelter and fencing for the pigs depending on which field we are rotating them to. We like the concept of raising pastured pigs because it is in keeping with our philosophy that pigs should have plenty of forage and outdoor space. In our overall farm plan, we had an area set aside for pigs, but it was in need of being reclaimed as the land has been let be for some time now. Our dream pig pasture includes several paddocks where we can seed forage crops for the pigs, a permanent shelter that can withstand snow load and protect the pigs from the elements of weather and finally a central paddock with a watering hole and feeding area. Based on our best guess, this permanent pasture should save labor each year and with a small farming operation such as ours, labor is our single largest annual expense.
We decided to prioritize the pig pasture over the Farm Vacation Cabin Rental because the pigs are a big part of our annual farm income. We thank these pigs because they help us buy those necessities that we don’t grow or raise such as grains, toilet paper, land taxes, telephone bills, etc. It does seem like we are always putting the Vacation Cabin project on the back burner, in favor of projects that earn us money now, but we must begin thinking about our retirement, especially since we aren’t able to do the amount of physical work that we could do just ten years ago. The pig pasture, besides finishing the cow pasture, is the last project that gets prioritized over the cabin! WE PROMISE OURSELVES THIS!
The first phase of this project was to clear a half acre of land for a central paddock, build a permanent pig shelter, run a water line to the pasture, and finally fence in an half acre of land for the central paddock. The central paddock will eventually provide access to several additional paddocks that will be fenced then seeded in forage crops. Before fencing the additional paddocks we will need to cut quite a few trees down. We plan to clear one paddock each December, which will provide us with firewood for the following winter, and cutting firewood each year is something we need to do even while we are building the cabin.
Production Note: In November we seeded G3 in cover crops, we have been splitting wood for our heat, filling driveway holes with rocks in preparation for having gravel put down, trenching the cabin site for water drainage (using a Chinese backhoe), Enjoying a little down time, fencing pastures behind G3, Fixing the generator, fixing the tablesaw, making cheese, setting up a new place for irrigation, making a compost pile for 2014. Most certainly other random jobs that go along with farming.