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Pig Paddock Plan

Colonel's Blog, Earthdate 15 Jan 2023...

Hey Y'all!!

Happy Sunday from Free Missouri! I trust everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend. I want to start by saying thank you to those of you that leave comments on here or on the facebook posts; it is encouraging to receive feedback! Things got off to a much better start today than yesterday. The day started with waking up to a nice bed of coals in the wood stove ready for me to add wood because I took the time to load the stove correctly before going to bed yesterday. The living area was a bit too warm, but that is better than the alternative. We went to the additional expense of paying to have the roof and exterior walls of the house coated with spray foam. We also put batt insulation in the interior walls. The foam is amazing! We are able to hold temperature inside the house with very little effort. Our interior-wall batt insulation allows us to keep the living areas warm and the sleeping areas cool. The milking machine woke right up and worked perfectly first try this morning. Yesterday, we made a gallon of yogurt, a pound of ricotta, and a half gallon of cultured buttermilk. The cultured buttermilk differs from the sweet-cream buttermilk we made before in that it is not the product of making butter. This is purposefully made as buttermilk by adding buttermilk culture to fresh milk. We heated the milk to room temp, added the culture, stirred, put it in a half gallon jar and let it sit at room temp. We will now use that as a starter to make more cultured buttermilk and cultured butter. The butter you buy at the store is normally cultured butter. We planned out the next paddock for the hogs. We also put the bush hog back on the tractor so we can mow a few of the pastures that have stemmy grasses standing tall. We will mow it down to add carbon to the soil and keep the tall stems from shading the new-growth grasses when they decide to pop up this spring. Shelley put the sickly ewe on a regiment in a final attempt to bring her back to health. If anyone can do it, Shelley can. She has an uncanny ability to diagnose and treat ailments in the animals as well as the humans in her life. The top picture is Shelley on the side-by-side getting ready to unroll hay. The bottom pic is as the sun was rising on the beef cows and the sheep. They were both finishing off yesterday's hay before we unrolled more today.

Today we are making things with milk. We already have a couple of pounds of paneer in the works. We will also put up some clabber that is ready and start some more fermenting. We are eager to make quark and some of the other things that use clabber as a start. The main farm project today is to move the hogs to a new paddock. We spend a couple of months when they arrive as small pigs to train them to a single wire of electric fence. The wire is about snout-height and before they get near it, they want to give it a sniff. Especially during training, we ensure the wire is charged at over 10,000 volts. They quickly learn to avoid the wire. The rest of their time on the farm, we are able to contain them with that one wire! We use 1/2" rebar as the posts and drive them in with small sledge hammers. We have plastic insulators that slide onto the rebar and we can adjust the height of the insulators. So, today we will pound in the posts forming the perimeter of their new paddock, adjust the insulators, use the tractor to move their feed troughs, move their water trough, move their hut shelter, string the new wire, and finally move the hogs. We leave a space open in the new fence bordering the old fence. We then take up a portion of the old fence and put out feed in the troughs in the new paddock. Usually, one or two brave souls immediately go to the new paddock and dig in to their meal. Most of the rest follow quickly, because they are pigs and they hate to miss a meal. And finally, there is almost always one or two that are much too happy where they are to be bothered to walk the 12 inches into the new paddock. A great way to lose your religion is to attempt to make a hog do something it doesn't want to do. Ask me how I know! So we have learned to simply wait a while and eventually the laggards' appetite gets the best of them and they join the group at the trough. Wish us luck!

Local Farm Report for 14 Jan 2023:


20 Chicken eggs

3 Duck eggs

2 3/4 Gallons of milk



Cheers! Rich & Shelley

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Hey Rich, looks like you guys have settled in nicely to Free Missouri. I’ve just started reading your blogs and have been enjoying them. Very impressive all you guys get accomplished in a day. We will definitely stop by for a visit when out your way. Our son-in-law if from Missouri and Cindy’s folks use to live at the Lake of the Ozarks. If you guys ever want/need a break from the farm (no sure if that is possible:), we’d love to host at the lake house here in Alabama. All is well here with the gang. Take care! Keith

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Hey Keith! It's awesome to hear from you! Glad to hear all is well with you guys. As you can tell, we love it here and absolutely love what we are doing. You are more than welcome to stop by for a visit! We really do enjoy showing folks around. Thanks for the offer to visit the lake house...we will keep honestly it in mind, especially on those really difficult days! Cheers! Psycho

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