Homestead update: June 1

Four Berkshires: Wilbur, Zoro, Daisy, and Lambchop. (Dean is to blame for those, I would have gone with Kevin and Bacon again.)
Day-old Cornish cross


Potatoes, brassicas, and a couple rows of onions drowning in grass.
Nootka rose petals and buds, dried.

The animals arrived! And the garden is planted! Lots of action in this homestead update…

The pigs arrived a week and a half ago. It’s remarkable how different it felt to be bringing pigs home for the second time instead of the first. We scrambled a bit to be ready, but felt really good as we pulled up with four adorable and reasonably calm pigs nestled in a bed of straw in the truck bed. I grabbed the first one and handed it down to Dean who set him on the ground in his new pen. And then watched as he freaked out and immediately bolted, right into and then through the electric fence and down the driveway.

There was cursing and running and a whole range of emotion thrown into the word “AGAIN?!”. (Dean had an epic chase with our first pigs a year ago, minutes after they arrived.) But we did have a bit of luck, in that this time the pig escaped right onto the driveway and didn’t seem to want to leave it. And we had learned something – so we followed along at a distance, keeping it in sight but not chasing it. About 20 minutes later but we got a lucky break when it bolted into some tall grass and was tricked into thinking it was hidden. Dean made the diving leg grab to end the chase, and soon all four siblings were re-united back in the truck bed.

And then we re-thought the whole welcome plan. A temporary fourth wall turned the generously-sized pig shelter into a cozy pen. The pigs had a safe haven to adjust to their new home and Dean tuned up the fence one more time. We gave them a couple days and when we set them free to roam, they were alternately curious and rooting and skittish, running back to their safe haven. It was so calm, for them and for us, and didn’t involve any testing of the limits of our fence. So chalk that up as another lesson learned, surely the third time is the charm for welcoming pigs without a fugitive…

The chicks have been here less than a week, but they are so easy and familiar that it’s already hard to remember when they showed up. They will be ugly very soon, so I try to enjoy this cute stage as much as possible before it’s gone. We are just raising 25 broilers this year – a routine we know well enough that I could order the exact amount of feed they will need over the whole stretch from memory. It’s nice to notice that kind of knowing in tandem with the fumbling for the pigs, to be reminded how a few short years can turn the new and puzzling into comfortable competence.

And the garden is planted! Well, I’m calling it done because everything on the plan is in the ground, except for Dean’s sunflower row. There’s still a bit of space to sneak some extras in, which I’m sure will happen. Our May weather was just about ideal for the garden, quickly changing from showery to sunny and back again. Which has been great for getting vegetables off to a good start, and also for giving the weeds a power boost. It is definitely time to focus on weed control, but honestly after all of the row prep and planting, weeding sounds awfully good if only because it is something different.

Phew, that was a bit long-winded, but it really has been an eventful couple weeks on the homestead front.

One thought on “Homestead update: June 1

  1. Enjoyed your update. You have been busy. Love the pigs, names and all. Quite different than the Tamworth from last year. With the chicks and Garden you both have some long days ahead. Enjoy.

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