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.