I dont dislike any plant or animal. That being said - when it comes to rats or foxtails, Im not afraid to declare war; and give my 'enemy' no peace. Kingdoms require armies - garden require walls. Big beautiful walls!
Are you familiar with Sepp Holzer? His theory is that pigs are specifically to be used for otherwise unusable land - river canyons, steep hills, forest. I would imagine pigs would do well if not fabulously on your land, but I am unfamiliar with your biome.
My own experience with running pigs shows that they not only rapidly "enrich" a piece of land, but they also gradually terrace each paddock by entirely upturning the hillside - leaving more matter toward the downhill than at the start. Seeing as I want terraced paddocks, this is saving me a lot of work.
We recently welcomed a pig onto the farm from another, closing down farm.
Shes almost 700 lbs and hands down our largest pig. She spent the last 2 years alone after her siblings were butchered (and the family lost the will to finish off all the pigs) without any other pigs or company in her pen. She was angrily uncomfortable and nervous the first couple weeks and I had nothing but doubts for the safety of the situation. After a few weeks of exposure to other pigs, exploring her new area and getting used to us bugging her every day, shes doing great. However, when she was charging and snapping at me, I admit I was considering the 'other option'.
Best of luck, hopefully she calms down and integrates!
I am devastated and ashamed. I killed two pigs last weekend, and hung them in the root cellar after the slaughtering.
During November I killed my first and hung her in the root cellar, along with two rams, and salted them every day for over a week. The butchery went very well and the product was beautiful - very worth ending my 10 year stint as a vegetarian.
Being a high level dunce, I didnt realize the root cellar was ~40-50 or so degrees all winter, and that at the end of June, its 65-70. I cant believe I didnt think about it. I salted the two girls every day, and only noticed a vinegar smell in the fatty crevices on tuesday - so we butchered one asap, and it was awful. All the fat (guinea hogs, so lots of it) was gelatinous and sour smelling. The meat doesnt seem bad, but its all surrounded by the fat so I assume it makes no difference. I went through with butchering them in the hope of at least using them for the dogs.... It was a horrible experience. Ive still got another night of butchering to do for the other girl.
My first pig went great, and I felt like a fine journeyman thanks to my permie/youtube teachers. However, this experience has destroyed my confidence and made me aware of how unqualified I am to be leading slaughter/butchery events. I havent consumed meat I havent produced for over a decade - but now Im starting to wonder if the terror an animal experiences during a trip to the USDA approved slaughterhouse (that kept me a staunch vegetarian for so long) is better than the risk of some moron killing beloved pigs for.... dog food.
Is it even safe to feed to dogs?
What do I even do with the 50lbs of semi-rendered lard from ONE of them, let alone two?
I really dont know what to do. Deeply uninspiring experience.
Been "clean" and soap-ber for 4 years now. Im never told I stink, I never feel or smell gross until Ive really earned it. Using products always left me dry and crispy followed by an oily, dirty feeling.
Hairs and teeth have never been happier since I decided to make my own products. (extremely diluted ACV/essential oil for hair, baking soda/coconut oil/salt for teeth)
For a good time, google 'sodium lauryl sulfate' and then go through any selection of toothpaste/bodywash/shampoo... anywhere. Sinister stuff!
I took the spring PDC at Occidental Art and Ecology in California. From what I gathered, it was among the more expensive (~$1600) but also the best rated course within my options, and the most information heavy on a long standing Permaculture community. I did my research ahead of time, and Im glad I did as Ive heard of plenty of money-grab type schemes flying the Permaculture flag.
While I have to acknowledge that it was hands down the best vacation I ever hope to take; 3 UNBELIEVABLE meals a day that were ~80% sourced from the campus, a solar powered hot tub and sauna, otherwordly gardens/backwoods free for wandering, and 5 star sleeping arrangements (or space for a tent, for the frugal hippies)... The academic aspect made my head spin.
It was a heavy course load for 2 weeks. 8-10 hours a day I believe. I generally do well in school and was arguably very well studied in nearly all Permie subjects presented (Thanks Paul!) - and I still found it an incredible glut of information with no shortage of experts to hassle with my specific, weird questions. Every night I poured over pages of notes and protips Id never heard before. There is no such thing as "knowing all the rules of Permaculture".
Just as important as the information was the community and fellowship. Im sure its always awkward to start a live-in course with a bunch of weirdos of all different ages and backgrounds - but by the end of the two weeks I had 30 new lifelong pals. Being in an environment with a few dozen people with no connection other than caring way too much about being decent humans and excellent earth stewards really struck me. One by one I realized everyone there had a heart of gold and was genuinely engaging to talk to - and Im a deeply crabby dude as far as 'most people' go. PDCs dont attract dunces or jerks. As a matter of fact, our 2 years reunion is in 48 hours, and a number of us are boarding planes and carpooling to ensure we get to meet up again. Permie Fam 4eva.
The teachers and residents of the property also top the charts for Heroes among men (and women!) - Even the interns were star spangled. Whenever things are going really poorly - I just close my eyes and envision my PDC!
TL;DR - Results may vary, but a well researched PDC is worth every penny. I and 30 other strangers had the time of our lives which provided no shortage of experience, information and fellowship for further Permacultural endeavors. While it seems expensive at the outset, the math works out pretty well on lodging/hot showers and 3 meals a day... even if you simply want to call it a vacation. Just as well, seeing Permaculture in action on a piece of land for 40+ years will really knock your socks off.
Natasha -I do deep litter most of the year, as we have an abundance of pine needles and oak leaves, with a few handfuls of rosemary and spruce cuttings.... in the last two wet winters, however, Ive nearly broken the bank buying straw and at this point the pens are just too wet and crowded to do anything more than keep it dry half the time. We muck out the pens when they get too bad, but again, its mostly on me and its just too much to keep up with. Thus why Im moving towards electric.... dont care for keeping the dudes locked away in an ever growing pile of crap.
Kyrt - Ill admit I grimaced while reading your post and beginning that article, but that information is above and beyond what Ive been hoping to find. Every question I had is answered in that article, and my comfort and comprehension are tenfold what it was. THANK YOU!
Mr. Jeffries as well, I know he floats around here and I cant express my appreciation. Lost quite a bit of sleep over these guys slaughter potentially being in vain.
Ill report back in when the deeds are done. Thanks again.
As usual, Im months and months beyond when I should have asked for help here.
I joined an aging land owner about a year ago, who spent his money buying land and building a farm. He is not a farmer and answers most questions with shrugs.
Essentially, as a fervent Permie, I signed up to take over pigs, ducks, chickens, greenhouse and gardens. Turns out, its a lot of work, and ingesting years of permaculture books, vids, and a solid PDC didnt quite prepare me to hit the ground running. Its a lot easier to dream than to do - especially when you have 20 different dreams that could all be respective lifetimes of exploration and fulltime work.
My biggest ongoing, unsolved issue has been the pigs. When I joined, there was one large male and a handful of grown ladies. After a season of nonstop pig pregnancies and nonstop litters of pigs, we had well over 20 pigs. We sold a few to other upcoming pasture operations, and have since killed and butchered one female; but I separated the (pubescent) males and females a few months ago. Not proud to utilize such a draconian tactic, but we simply could not handle the influx of piglets - and Im unwilling to kill young pigs. Spend 10 years as a vegetarian and it leaves its marks.
I should also mention - these are not pastured pigs. They're in yucky pig pens that we do our best to maintain, but its becoming a full time job to keep the muck down to ankle level. We also have yet to castrate piglets (due to me being the most engaged/knowledgeable pigman on the property.... however terribly unqualified I am) and would like to, but it keeps falling through the cracks. Thus, all the males are in possession of their natural goods. Another glaring issue.
Ive bought electric fencing, and am just waiting (far too long) for the other goons around here to help me erect a physical barrier to serve as a training pen for the electric, which would allow me to start building the next electric paddocks and get that process going... which is obviously the end game. At this point, a small culling is on the docket, but at the moment the original progenitor hog is getting bloodied by two of his sons who are now almost 2 years old.
My reason for this cry for advice is a fear of Boar Taint - Ive read plenty on it, but its almost all anecdotal and often contradictory, and I know tons of traditional peoples kill and eat tusked, testosterone pumped boars as a matter of celebration. However, Im truly terrified to drop some of the older hogs (who havent been around females for ~4 months) and find out they are totally inedible. Another reason I separated them - I hear female exclusion cuts down on the likelihood of taint. Now that theyre coming of age and beating up poppa pig, Im wondering if thats just another way of pumping the hormones that will make them taste less savory? Im still swallowing the idea of killing pigs regularly (again, lifetime vegetarian up until killing and butchering the first girl) which I can get over.... but the thought of dropping them and being unable to use them fills me with dread. My hope is to build the training pen and get the troublesome boys into it for some pasture before doing them in, but its getting more violent by the day.
Additional question - obviously I need to start castrating future litters, and I intend to. Can I mix the pubescent 1st year pigs that are still small once in the new paddocks? Should I cash out and have a vet castrate the >100lb fellas? I dont like keeping the gender division in place, but I dont want unmitigated piglets nor do I want to allow inbreeding. Sepp certainly doesnt seem to give it half a thought, but its been a madhouse for us in the pig pens. One of which we call The Madhouse
Im very late in making this post, as my turmeric is already out of the ground and starting to deteriorate.
As an experiment last year, I planted a couple handfuls of turmeric and ginger in our greenhouse. Im in zone 8a, obviously the greenhouse is different. After the greens wilted and fell over, I was told to harvest, and did so. After pulling up easily 30lbs and cleaning it all, Ive realized it tastes awful. Only one or two roots have the deep gold color; the others are yellow and BITTER.
Im debating putting them back in the greenhouse - but after a year of growth, shouldnt they be ripe? Most info I find is for commercial harvest in the valleys of India - and I assume it gets hotter there than my GH.
Am I wasting my time? Im surrounded by older folks and would love to save them some bones on the stuff, but it seems like its been a colossal misuse of effort.
Moved onto a farm last year and took over the pigs. Quickly learned that all advice I was receiving was from the sterile, merciless minds of CAFO operators. Cut teeth and tails the day they're born (so you can pack more pigs into a confined space!) buy lots of antibiotics (isnt farming/nature supposed to be probiotic?) and buy expensive, near sterilized food. (wouldnt want them getting trichinosis from aging brewery grains or restaurant scraps)
Makes it difficult to get good advice from anywhere but lurking on Permies. Ive been sober from society meat for over 10 years, but now Im absolutely convinced we're on an agricultural precipice and the downfall is going to be swift and horrific.
It bottles the mind that this thread began years ago, with so few responses.
Jason, you are THE MAN. Perfection or not, this is a juicy quest. I also follow Jenkins as a Fecal Father Figure, the guys knows his shi(r)t!
Youve set my mind ablaze with ideas.... currently using the pallet structure. It works just fine, but as you say.... takes time and effort. If something takes time and effort, Id like 'shi(r)t-eating' to be off the list.
Now, mounting a toilet seat onto a bridge above a poogelmid.... The only way to make that more glorious would be with a golden toilet seat.
May be worth mentioning in the vein of burning out old stumps with oil and fire - underground fires arent unheard of around here, and they tend to start either underground or from campers doing Dakota fires or trench burns near roots.
Hate to sideline things but this thread is giving me mighty ruminations - how much is too much salt for chickens and pigs?
The pigs get restaurant slop a'plenty, chickens get their share of scraps, but when I have a mason jar filled with milk solids and salt, or a (used, salted) wad of fat to recycle, is that OK to pour onto the food?
I figure the pigs wouldnt notice given their BMI and current gravy intake, but the chickens strikes me as less able to withstand a mainline of salt.
From what I understand, fungal processes tend toward the cooler bottom of a compost pile and eat mostly carbon... while bacterial processes favor the thermophilic zone (near the top) to do they business; Which seems to include eating oils.
After slaughtering a pig, Im in the same boat. Her butchery yielded plenty of fat, which we rendered and are now playing with soaps and lotions and... other ways to smell like biscuits.
However, given that I was a vegetarian until killing this pig; Im not terribly appetized by all the fats and lumps and goops Ive rendered.... and obviously it cant be allowed to waste. Rendering ghee has also yielded a few jars of..... concentrated salt and milkfat. Gross.
The rendered fats are baking bound, and the odd trickles and remnants are chicken bound..... But what can I do with extremely salty milkfat? Feels like giving it to anyone would be sortof toxic, and with so much salt, even my compost pile seems like a potential victim.
I love microgreens, but the seed input required is intense. High quality seed and fine tuned care get pricey over time - I grow them (for myself) when I have an abundance of cheap or bonus seed, but Ive yet to hit the point where I can spare the seed to eat microgreens with every meal.
Cant help the doctors orders - but I can mention that I make soapnut soap/tea and use that for laundry, and as of skeeter season Ive been generous with lemon eucalyptus and pine essentials - the passive remainder on my clothes and bedding seem to keep all but the hungriest at bay.
Im O- blood and I think they like the taste, as I get 10x bites of my compadres in most situations. I feel your maddening pain. BE STRONG AND SANE.
Same boat. Ive started using paper or wheat by-product and thats been very helpful... no part of the property enjoys smelling like ammonia soaked clay :p
However! Be careful what you use said ~soil for - cat cruds are among the most toxic, and should be treated with caution. We compost humanure and step in dog doo daily on our farm, but when the cat digs up a garden bed and makes a deposit I treat it like a toxic waste zone until I can scoop out the suspicious square foot. All my humanure research made it very clear - cats have dangerous dooks.
Nice chop job! Ive actually sortof abandoned (what looks like) the exact same type of GH. Bought it and used it to mostly kill everything inside any day I didnt show up and just leave it fully open. I never found a spot that didnt turn it into an oven with 30 mins of sunlight, but I found a use using it like an upstanding cold frame. I have a house at the bottom of my a garden which is north facing and a (hilariously badly planned) severe frost trap. I pretty much left it open any day that didnt freeze, but when it would Id close it and over-winter mature plants inside. Meh!
I think youve inspired me to PIMP MY GREENHOUSE.
Lettuce know how yours pans out!
Build the bottom of the pile with a mound of sticks - was an early lesson I forgot to mention. That ensures constant air-flow; as we never turn or tangle with THOSE compost piles.... at least until they're done ~cooking.
If I might be so snobby - pick up a copy of Joseph Jenkins 'The Humanure Handbook'. Masterpiece!
No greater horror in my mind than a life ending in a cold, sterile, fluorescent environment at the hands of a stranger. I have neighbors who began giving their dog the same CBD oils the owners took that worked for them (as a reaction to high level human cancer) - instant improvement in the pooch. She was on deaths door, but it (seemingly) gave her another year and better yet, a comfortable year of tumor reduction and appetite. I doubt thats a popular route, but Ive seen CBD oil supplements perform miracles. Also worlds cheaper than conventional cancer "treatment"... not to say necessarily very cheap.
Theres little to say in consolation, it sounds like Nogah had a good run; regardless of how it ends. Stay strong, its never easy to lose a fur-child
robert e morgan wrote:aggressivly trap and eat. oreo cookies are a very good bait. cook whatever method works for you and freeze any that is more than you want at the time.
sounds like a continous source of free range protein to me.
I hear lots of survivalists promise that raccoon meat is.... gross. Dangerous to cook over an open flame, due to being so damned greasy. I couldnt postulate if its the 'wilderness diet' or the 'man-made garbage diet' that results in less than preferable grease-meat, and I dont think I care to find out :p
We do a number of humanure systems, which all translate from a simple bucket to a simple pile. Anaerobic is the key to everyone knowing what you're up to - our humanure pile is the first place I bring guests because of how impressively unoffensive it is. Cover with enough carbon and it wont stink OR last very long. We have plenty of rat problems, but not one has ever been spotted near said piles. Carbon!
I must admit, the very idea of a barrel of humanure on the property seems like the beginning of wartime technology.....