Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snow Princess

There is a certain thrill to sitting up high on the seat of a tractor, and cutting through the snowdrifts like a knife through butter.

I am sure that to my neighbours I look completely ridiculous, in my one piece insulated coverall, my balaclava, and my snow goggles. However this get-up has proven to be not only warm, but protecive in even the worst snow conditions.

I can complete our long snow covered laneway in two swipes, taking a little extra care to clear the end of the lane where the towns plow has helpfully piled snow in extra deep drifts.

Occasionally I get stuck, or I end up leaving the gravel driveway and hay starts spewing up from the chute, but with a quick flick of the wrist I make it right again and cruise along in my world of white.

Many times I have stopped to wonder at the beauty around me, the snow clinging to the pines and cedars like white icing. I marvel at how the birds still keep warm when it's minus 22 with the wind chill.

The old couple who used to own our farm shovelled the 2000 foot driveway by hand, and as the years went on, with a push blower. Wow. I have great respect for them.

Musings over, I put it into high gear and head down to the barns....there is snow to be blown.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Here piggy piggy

I have started to think about pigs. Older farmers tell me that pigs are a good crop - not impacted by the weather and always easy to sell.

A single sow can have three litters a year in some cases, each litter giving you 8-10 piglets to sell. Depending on the breed, and whether they are registered or not - this could be a tidy side income.

I will confess that I adore bacon, and I am adjusting to the idea that the animals on our farm are not simply pets, they are food for the table. It's hard sometimes to keep them in that perspective, and I will admit that I do have one hen that I am quite fond of, but in the end the reason we chose this rural lifestyle was to bring us closer to our food source.

Pigs, with their tiny sharp feet, have been used for years by hobby farmers to turn over a patch of earth for gardening. It does make me wonder what their pasture would be like after a wet spring. It's bad enough down by the cattle barn!

Contrary to popular belief, pigs don't eat "garbage", they require a diet much like ours - with similar protein, carb and fat ratios. Pigs are so similar to us in terms of their digestive system that they are often used for drug trials. So I have begun researching their food requirements.
If I am going to pitch this idea to my better half, I had best have my facts straight!

Wee sister will be thrilled, she likes the idea of a pig on the farm. I will just have to be careful not to tell her that the intent is to create bacon.