Farm Videos

Enjoy some of our latest videos:

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Hauling Piglets

We had a buyer coming down from Lucky George Farm in Derby, Iowa.  They have purchased Large Black hogs from us before and needed a few more, who doesn’t need more pigs????  So with their checkups and health papers to cross state lines needing to be taken care of and a huge amount of ice on the ground, what’s a girl to do??  She loads them in her Jeep.  My Jeep is my “farm wagon” it goes places it shouldn’t have to and hauls things it shouldn’t be required to.  But it’s a great Jeep!  The piglets (3 months old and 60lbs each!) were loaded in the back of the Jeep and away we went, an hour into town and vet appointment done, an hour back home and unloaded.  They were great!  But whew the smell!!  Here’s our video of the day:

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Large Black Hog Updates

Farm life is time consuming.  So blog posts tend to be few and far between. We have had several lovely litters of piglets.  The winter was just brutal.  Cold temps and lots of frozen precipitation made farm life much more difficult.  Carrying water, icy roads and frozen fingers are just a few of the hardships.  We currently have two mama’s & their piglets in the barn.  They are going out of the barn during the day and exploring & playing and at night they go back in the barn.

We have sold several wonderful breeders and delivered two hogs to the butcher.  We had two buyers visit the farm yesterday to purchase and pick up pigs.  It’s nice to have other farmers comment on the way you raise your animals.  One farmer commented that he had been searching for the right pasture pigs for a while.  He had several potential farms and pigs that he had looked at, but our pigs were the first that had actually be out on pasture.  Others had bragged about their pigs being great on pasture, but they were in very small pens-outside.  In my opinion just being outside does not equate to being raised on pasture or woodland.  So it’s nice to get good feedback and have others who are happy to buy our pigs.  He went home with a wonderfully hearty lil boar piglet who has been out in the forest since being weaned.  It is more work raising animals the way we do it, but for us that’s just how it needs to be done.  Happy hogs are tasty hogs!

Our livestock guardian dog, Turk, has been doing fair- a few setbacks, but he is still just a baby and learning the ropes.  The chickens have provided eggs all winter long and are thriving.  The cows are mooing and eating the young grass that is sprouting up.  We work very hard on growing our grasses.  We aren’t blessed with many pastures so what we do have we try to manage very well.  We have been working on re-seeding every field and purchasing and shipping in trailer truck loads of organic chicken litter.  We have had some very nice days in the 60′s and 70′s and the bees are working their little hearts out.  I have checked in on them once and they seem to be doing nicely.  I don’t have a lot of experience with the bees, so that is something that is hard for me, but I really enjoy have the honey and pollination benefits!  I am running behind on gardening.  It amazes me how quickly I fall behind in that area, but the weather didn’t help and everyday farm-tasrophes have kept me to occupied to start my seeds.  I hope to get to work on that later this week.  We finished up our maple syrup season and even had a local magazine visit the farm to do a story on the process and history of our maple syrup making.

Here is a video of our hog Bossy & her babies who are trying hard to nurse Itty (who has no milk).  Click HERE for the video. 

Categories: Bees & Honey, Chickens, Cows, Farm Living, Gardens & Greenhouses, Pigs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Artificial Insemination

I have been extremely busy.  Anyone who thinks that farming takes a break in winter is wrong!  Everyday chores are much more difficult in the cold weather.  Gloves freeze to gates, water is carried to the barn instead of being pumped in, animals are more hungry due to the lack of fresh green grass.  It’s just part of life on a farm, seasons come and seasons go.

So I did something last week that I never in a million years thought I would do.  I impregnated a pig!  AI, artificial insemination, is a way for our farm to offer diversified bloodlines.  I mapped out the girls estrus on the calendar and the semen was delivered in a nitrogen tank.  I can’t act like I am an old pro, or even give tips on how to AI, this was my first time.  I didn’t video the process as I was afraid I needed to focus on the process and read directions rather than narrate the process.  We have two sows to inseminate and I have been able to work with one.  The next sow I hope to video the process.

Here are the pics that were taken.  They show the supplies and the process of AI.  I know they are not very educational, but hey I’m learning too.  In one picture the sow is laying on me, one of the wonderful traits of Large Black hogs is their willingness to lay down for belly rubs.  This sow is my smallest Matilda, she is dainty.  So fingers crossed that the impregnation worked.  The next sow is very large, my second largest Prudence girl.  I am waiting for her to come into estrus, you can’t rush those things.  So now we wait.

In the meantime, if you ever want to check up on the farm, you can find more on our facebook page.  We have more time to update on facebook.  Here’s the link:  https://www.facebook.com/our.greenacre

 

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Barn Cat

Went in to feed last night & this is what I found. I have never in my life seen a cat that loved chickens at all, much less this much. She is such a sweetie. The other barn cat loves the chicks too, but not to this level of rot your teeth out sweet.IMG_1876

 

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Our Green Acre Giveaway! And Awkward High School Stories & Pictures

Originally posted on The Joy of This:

ourgreenacregivaway

Giveaway is closed! Congrats to Jenn R., our winner! 

Misty was my first friend at my new school. For a girl like me who had spent the majority of her life moving from state to state every few years, making a friend at a new school on their first day of class was like a real life scene from Sweet Valley High minus the blonde skinny chicks on the cover.

We met in 8th grade PE class (Okay, not exactly high school, but close enough.) Is there anything more dreadful to a cordinationally-challenged klutz like me than standing there waiting to be picked for basketball on your fist day of school. I still get all splotchy on my neck thinking about it.

I was so bad at basketball! And in this small town school being bad at basketball meant that you were unpopular, or at the very least, not popular…

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Hulk Babies!

Wanna see what kind of hulky pig babies we grow here at Our Green Acre?   Here you go!  This is a 5 wk old piglet from our Longfellow boar & Prudence sow.  Amazing, the piglets are each weighing right at 29 lbs & are 22 inches long- at only 5 wks.  Meet Lou Ferrigno our new Longfellow boar.

IMG_1894

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Snow Day!

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Livestock Guardian Cat?

My daughter jokes all the time about our “weird animals”. I will admit that our animals have more character than most. For instance, I was very worried about releasing our very small red ranger chicks from their brooder because I was just sure that the two barn cats would gobble them up. Well that has not happened. The two cats have killed at least one rat that was bigger than they are! They have been seen killing/carrying around mice too. But never a chick-I count them! They have been raised with the chickens and follow them all through the woods while the chickens forage. So far I haven’t lost a bird to a hawk or anything else (except our LGD pup). Here are some pics from my nights at the barn waiting for pigs to farrow. I credit a friend’s daughter, Zoe, who happily named our Speckled Sussex rooster, Gracy O’Malley (you know from the Aristocats.)  The rooster loves the cats, go figure.  You will never see a group of chickens out scratching in the woods without their cat protectors nearby.
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Why Large Black Hogs?

Large Black Hogs

Large Black Hogs at Our Green Acre Farm

Why did you choose this breed of hog?  I get asked this question a lot.  Where I live not many people have even heard of, much less know about the Large Black breed of hog.  First it is a heritage breed.  That was a priority for me.  I wanted to be part of something larger than my farm/family.  Helping to build a healthy & hearty breed of pig that was close to no longer existing was a big deal for me.  LB’s are listed in the Heritage Breeds Conservatory as endangered and as an extremely rare breed.

Large Black pigs were popular before the modern practice of mass pig farming became the norm.  It was not uncommon to see a small herd of Large Blacks roaming a farmer’s fields.  They are especially suited to pasturing, able to forage the majority of their nutritional needs from the land.  They tend to grow a little slower than their modern counterparts, so when speed and numbers are the main goal, the Large Black Pig might not be the best candidate.  For this reason, they fell out of favor when pig farming was transferred from the farmer to the factory.

The Large Black Pig is believed to have been developed in the late 1800′s from Chinese breeds brought into England.  They spread quickly due to their ability to forage, their excellent mothering ability, and their black skin, which protects it from sunburn.   These traits especially make it well-suited for a pasture based operation.

For the farmer, the Large Black Pig is a joy to raise.  They are extremely docile, sometimes to the point of being annoyingly friendly.  They are not aggressive like other pigs, and it is a pleasure to spend time with them.  I have raised other breeds that your didn’t dare turn your back on while in the pens with them, but the Large Blacks are very friendly and have a wonderful disposition.  The Large Black Pig is perfect for pastured pork operations.  They are not as destructive as most other breeds, actually preferring to graze on vegetation instead of rooting below the surface.  They are able to gain most of their nutritional needs on the pastures and in the woods.  Veteran hog farmers have marvelled at the fact that the Large Black would eat the pasture instead of destroying it.

Another benefit for pasture based operations is the fact that Large Black Sows make excellent mothers.  They are usually able to farrow without farmer interference and quickly teach their litter to graze and forage.  The sows consistently have large, healthy litters and feed them well, again minimizing farmer interference.

The meat from the Large Black Pig is very dark, succulent and juicy.  The muscle fibers are short, producing a very tender meat and the fat is micro-marbled, essentially self basting as it cooks.  The Large Black is considered a “bacon pig” instead of a “lard pig”.  Throughout England, Large Black Bacon is prized for its excellence.  The consistent fat marbling make it the perfect pork for sausages and cured products.  And really who doesn’t love bacon? 

So those are a few reasons, but the main factor for me is their nature.  They are gentle happy hogs and I truly love raising them.  Of all the animals on my farm, the Large Black hogs are my absolute favorite.  I love my hogs. 

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