Archive for April, 2008

Three weaner pigs are settled in to their new home in the brush. We constructed a shelter of pallets with a spare sheet of plywood for a roof.  Two bales of straw made it a cozy shelter in this still cool spring.

I’ve never been around pigs much – only to see them at the fair.  I was amazed at how they communicate with each other.  One discovered the straw shelter and grunted to call the other two over, telling them about it!  I also expected them to eat much more than they do – they are really quite delicate.  They carefully sniffed left over french toast, then licked it and then nibbled.  No piggy scarfing of food!  Maybe that will change once they get bigger.

We did decide to have nose rings put on these pigs.  They have been investigating the brush in their area a bit but the weather has been so nasty still that I usually find them snuggled into their straw shelter sleeping!

Jake has thoroughly sniffed them over – still not sure what they are. 😉





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Western Washington is having a long string of wintery weather just when usually the garden should be starting!  It’s frustrating to still be inside watching the snow, hail, sleet and dreary weather.  I was able to run out after work THursday and till up most of the garden areas including the cover crops planted last fall.  They will take another round once the rain stops again but it’s good to get some of the green mulched in at least.

In between storms, the cover crops finally did germinate – Buckwheat and Spelt but they are not growing much at all due to the cold.   The red clover also germinated but is growing very slowly in this weather.  We got the hoop house mostly reconstructed – gave up finishing off one end because of a hail storm…  Daisy and T-Bone have been moved to their acre of brush but Daisy is not happy!  She still wants her twice a day feeding.  Only a week later has she discovered the vast amount of vegetation for browsing so today only got one meal of hay.  I was able to peak through the trees to see her munching enough to know the mooing was an act at this point!  Hopefully that will be down to zero by the time the last bale of hay runs out.  T-Bone just follows along, it’s Daisy who sucks in great amounts of air to let out loud bellows of displeasure about her situation!  Both are still sleek and healthy, it’s just a cow tantrum. 😉

I ordered 3 weaner pigs and will pick them up Friday.  So we need to get their shelter built between rain storms!  It will be a simple affair of pallets with a sheet of plywood for a roof covered with a tarp.  Plenty of shelter for over the summer.  They will have rings in their noses to prevent too much rooting but still will get most of the blackberry roots out of the brush and churn in some rich fertilizer in the one acre area by fall.  Weaner pigs are up to $90 each – a result of the rise in feed costs that are hitting hard.  We are still going to give it a try hoping that the two we sell will recover some of the cost of the one that goes into the freezer for us.

I made my annual trip to Whitney’s gardens in Brinnon with a good friend on Friday – we gathered our truck load of plants and headed to Port Townsend for lunch – girls day out. 😉  Found a store with everything half price – always dangerous!  I got a 5 ft diameter butcher block table top for $60 and she got a iron etagerie that was really cool.  We had to unload the plants – load the new treasures and then load the plants back into the truck – it was a tight fit but everything made it home in one piece despite the snow, hail and sleet storms we encountered along the way.

Saturday 6 sex link chicks and 4 white turkey poults jumped into my truck – honestly!  So they are now in a brooder in the greenhouse.  The tomatoes in the greenhouse have outgrown their 4 inch pots and need to go into the hoop house this week or get moved to one gallon pots! I would really prefer they get into the ground at this point so I am crossing my fingers for warmer weather.

Hopefully spring will be here in full force by next report!





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Cover Cropping

Today the weather stayed dry enough to be able to get some tilling done and cover crops in.  For the early crops I’ve chosen Buckwheat that now should be able to be tilled in by the end of May for mid June planting.  I also tried one secion about 8 by 25 of spelt and will plant more a bit later. 

I don’t have much experience with cover crops, so this is a learn as I go project.

Last fall I planted some rye grass and dutch clover.  In the picture below you can see how that ended up.

This garden I am planting Buckwheat to grow through May.  The green strip is alfalfa that I planted last fall and beyond that I put in Spelt which I will leave for the summer to produce grain.  The soil is still a bit damp but the spelt is supposed to grow well in that.  I scattered the seed and lightly raked in.  Rain is supposed to start again in two days so won’t need to worry about watering.

The second garden area – my “field garden” where beans, root crops including mangel beets and pumpkins and squash will go is where I also planted buckwheat as an early cover crop.  I had picked the stones that showed up after the winter rain in this area and tilling was much easier this year.  Last year this area was cover cropped with wheat and oats for the summer then alfalfa and clover for the winter.  All of the poultry graze this field all winter long – they have been moved to another new area to clear.  The field to the left of the tilled area will be tilled later for more spelt and alfalfa for the entire summer.  Right now it was too muddy for the tractor to get into even!  I plan to “switch sides” of this field for the garden each year.

Last of all I put in a crop of giant red clover in the area that the chickens were in for the past two winters.  This is just off of my back yard with it’s arbor and garden.  I hope to put the chickens back in these areas to graze the clover in the winter.

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It finally was nice enough out to start the straw bale garden for this year.  For two seasons I’ve had black weed cloth covering a portion of my back yard.  It was going to be a nursery area for potted plants but haven’t gotten to the nursery part yet. 😉  So instead I am going to pull up the black cloth and put in a straw bale garden.  It’s going to be a little different from those in the past – I want to put in some “islands” and more walkways – haven’t decided totally yet.  Then as they compost down I will turn it into a regular flower/herb garden.

Here’s where I am at so far:

Getting started

Edging this garden

Going to create a “garden room”

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