Tag Archives: pigs

Porter Pond Farm – Past, Present, Future

It was about this time last year that my husband told me he had figured out what he wanted to do with this piece of ground we had bought about six years earlier. He proceeded to tell me we were going to raise chickens and that we were going to move them – every day. Then, he told me about the cows and how we’d move them every day, too. And the pigs – well, the pigs wouldn’t have to be moved until they emptied their feeder. I don’t remember if I laughed or cried, maybe I cried from laughing so hard. Perhaps I laughed when he told me we were going to move all these animals daily, and I cried when he told me how we were going to “process” the chickens ourselves, right here on the farm. He finally wore me down and well, you’ve been following the rest of the story.

While working our full time day jobs this year, we raised and processed about 220 chickens, 40 turkeys and 4 pigs, as well as building a flock of 80 egg layers. I have continued to laugh, and cry, throughout this entire experience. However, the sense of personal satisfaction is tremendous in this accomplishment! I don’t have the talent with words to describe it.

As the year comes to a close and we start thinking about 2013, we have realized a few things:

1. We love what we are doing!
2. We can raise good products that are more nutritious and tasty than anything in the grocery store
3. We can even make a little money doing it, but not enough to give up the day jobs anytime soon

But the most important things we learned are:

1. We started this business about 20 years too late in terms of our physical capabilities to keep up
2. We want to live closer to our kids and grandkids

So we have decided we are going to sell the farm and make another move. We will find good local farmers and work hard to be their best customers because we now know how hard they work!

We are so grateful to our family for their help and support this year. Our customers are the best and we were honored to meet their needs. Thank you for reading my silly posts! But most of all, we thank God for giving us this wonderful opportunity! He is so good to us and all the glory goes to Him!

We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and all the best in 2013!

We have a logo!

We decided that we need an official logo to print on business cards, our sites, product packaging, etc. Many thanks to Hendricks & Co Art  for their help!

To market, to market – get connected to your food!

We took our first hogs to the processor Thursday. It was very much bitter sweet for me, and not just due to the injuries I received in the battle to get them loaded. I had become attached to one of them – surprise, surprise. I enjoyed seeing them grow and learning about them. Pigs are intriguing animals with smarts and personality. But I understood from the beginning that we were raising food for ourselves and other people.

Except for the few tomato plants we raised and a small garden, I had become disconnected from my food. Somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind I knew from my childhood experiences with my grandparents who had a small farm outside Springville, AL., meat was once a living, breathing animal. I knew that some farmer labored to bring the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and other produce to the market. But I had allowed myself to almost totally disconnect from exactly what goes into bringing that food to market. (don’t EVEN get me started on the regulatory purgatory that exists for farmers!) In just the nine months or so we’ve been working to raise food, I’ve learned so much. I have a great deal of respect for farmers who labor to bring us our food. Regardless of their methods, it’s hard work!

However, I must say that I have a new found admiration and sense of awe for those farmers who work to bring clean, natural food to the tables of their family and neighbors without chemicals and fancy equipment. To raise meat animals with respect and regard for their well being is honorable. To raise produce in ways that minimize the risk of contamination is hard, hard work. Their days are long, their financial reward is not going to make them rich, at least not in a financial sense. Matter of fact, most that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting still hold down off farm jobs just to pay the mortgage and make ends meet. Therefore, I find their motives to be pure and deeply rooted in their desire to make a difference in this world, both for the land, the animals and for their fellow man. I’m learning that many of these farmers are Godly people and have reverence for all that He has given us. I aspire for Porter Pond Farm to make its place among them, as they are the true stewards of the earth!

To my non-farming friends, next time you are in the market, think about what went into producing whatever it is you are buying. Remember that someone, somewhere put their blood, sweat and sometimes tears, into that product in order to get it to market! I encourage you to go out and buy local food products, get in your kitchen and cook something! Put at least some of your food dollars back into your local economy, and by that I don’t mean Walmart, Kroger or Publix. If you are one of my Alabama friends, go buy some Blount county tomatoes or Chilton county peaches. If you are one of my Mississippi or Tennessee friends, go buy some Ripley tomatoes, Nesbit blueberries or delta catfish. Wherever you are, go buy something local today. You will find it more flavorful and nutritious, I promise. If you need help finding local sources, check out the sites below. It’s time we all get connected with our food and support our local farmers!

Eat Wild
Local Harvest
Mississippi Market Maker
Poultry Direct To You

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Happy as a Pig In Slop!

For those of you who have been following us for a while, you might remember that we had our pigs in a pen until we could complete the fence around the woods through which we hope to rotate our animals. With the heat and a sidelining shoulder injury, the fence was not ever finished. We’ve kept Bacon, Pork Chop, Ham Hock and Petunia well fed and watered. We’ve been sure to put plenty of carbon in their pen each day, as well as making a place for a mud hole so they can stay cool. They have seemed mostly happy in their home, especially since they discovered “each other”. (that’s a post for another day 😮 )

But better late than never, we decided to secure the small paddock outside their pen for them to spend their remaining days with us. We put cow panels and a double strand of hot wire around and we were able to turn them loose today! They will have to get used to the hot wire, but they’re learning quickly. We are thinking this small paddock will be good for our young pigs in the future until they are ready to go in the large pasture. Here are some shots of them in their new home as well as pictures of the turkeys in their new paddock.

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Trying to beat the heat

Man, oh, man is it hot! We’ve had triple digit temps for the last week. After losing two hens and a turkey, we decided we had to do something for the animals. We’ve moved the baby barred rocks and turkeys out of the brooder into chicken tractors in the shade. And we put up a shade structure on the back of the Eggmobile to give the layers some extra shade in the hot part of the day.

The pigs have been getting sprayed a couple times per day. They L-O-V-E it!

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We’ve had no rain since June 11. I sure hope the weather breaks soon!

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Morning on the farm…..

Just a few shots from this morning…

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Hatched turtle eggs????

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Sunflower field

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If its not one thing it’s another!

We went to the barn the other night to feed and found it “flooded”, or at least that was the word we used. So the barn wasn’t really quite flooded, but the automatic waterer in the quail coop was leaking, soaked the ground and running out into the main part of the barn. Then we had a predator to get a few of our broilers. There was just enough of a hole in the ground for them to squeeze between the bottom rail and the ground. We moved it around and left some distinct scents around it. So far so good. Monday we found a nearly drowned turkey and a chicken in about the same shape. We put them in the quail pool, which we now call the infirmary. The turkey survived – the chicken did not. Last night we left the garage door open by mistake. This morning, there were cats in there and no baby quail. Thank goodness it was only a small hatch. This has all been since Saturday!

Rosanne Rosanna Danna comes to mind a lot lately! For you younger folks, she was one of Gilda Radner’s characters on Saturday Night Live back in the 70’s. One of her tag lines was “if it’s not one thing it’s another – I mean its always something!” I’m thinking she must have been a farmer at some point because truly if it’s not one thing it’s another!

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We’re not in Kansas anymore!

Hello faithful followers! This has been quite a week to say the least so I’ll just jump right in with the highlights, starting with the raccoons.

Our son, son-in-law and grandkids came to help with the pig fence last weekend. We made great progress – WOO-HOO! We still have a ways to go, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel on that project. Sunday they had to cut down a hollow tree. As it was falling, they heard a screaming noise. There was a nest of baby raccoons in the tree. Mama was nowhere to be found and one of the babies didn’t make it, but two survived. Their eyes were not even open yet. Our son-in-law, animal lover that he is, took them home to try to save them. Here are the grand kids holding them.

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The broilers are doing well in the chicken tractors. We’ve got a pretty good routine established for the morning before work to move them. Then there is another round of work in the evenings when we get home. They are now almost five weeks old. The processing equipment arrived Thursday, so we are ready for our first processing experience.

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The biggest excitement of the week came Wednesday night. We were riding across the levy to the barn when the Eggmobile came into view. It looked like it was leaning. We both did one of those head-tilted-sideways looks at it. When we got closer, we realized it was upside down! I watched on radar from work that afternoon as a storm moved through our home area, but I had no idea it had been that strong. The Eggmobile was sitting at just the right angle for the wind to lift it and flip it over.

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It was surreal to raise the door from the bottom and look up through the floor.

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The doors were all closed when we found it, but there were hens inside. Some of these girls went for a wild ride. We unfortunately lost three hens and the day’s eggs with the exception of two. But I imagine it could have been much worse.

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We hooked the tractor to it and rolled it back over.

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One of the window doors broke off and the gutter is smashed. But other than that, it’s sturdy. We’ve since put some temporary braces on it to keep it from happening again.

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Last but not least, and certainly well timed, one of our young hens is starting to lay. We found this tiny little egg Thursday night.

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Time to get busy. Those chores wont do themselves. Everyone have a great weekend!

What a deal!

We are all about using what we can find for our projects here on the farm and these brooders are no different. We used as much scrap wood as we could. We also look for paint at the big box stores which has been returned to get paint to protect our wood projects. Last week we found a 5 gallon bucket of paint at Lowe’s for $25! What a deal! And the chickens don’t really care if it’s pink, do they?!?

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The good news is that we are now ready for our quail to move in and for the new egg layers next month. Now back to that pig fence!

Are we done yet?

There is always something that needs to be done. Between the farm and working full time, it is darn near impossible to get it all done. We are learning that prioritization and patience are the keys to our effectiveness.

This weekend we moved the Eggmobile for the first time. Moving the building is a piece of cake. It was the fence that gave us a bit of trouble. But in just under an hour and a half we had the whole paddock moved and the egg layers were on fresh grass! Not sure if you can tell in these pictures, but we put the building in the center of the paddock this time with food and water on each side half way to the fence to get them to spread out all over the grass.

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The next priority is new brooders. With the quail hatching and more egg layers on the way, we have to get their homes built. Notice the vents in these. The one housing the broilers gets a bit too warm even with one bulb removed. We think this design modification will do the trick.

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Then there is the garden that needs planting.

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And the chicken tractors. We’ve built and tested one in the backyard with some young egg layers, but we need two more since the broilers will be ready for pasture in a little over a week. We did manage to get the dolly done to help with the mobility of the tractors. The pasture is way more clumpy than the yard so they should move much easier with the little wheels on back.

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And that pig fence that is still in progress, the loose tin panel on top of the barn, the lawnmower that won’t start, doing the books. I could go on and on.

There are also other important things in life such as celebrating a milestone 50th birthday with the Head Farmer In Charge. Happy Birthday, RP!

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