What to feed pigs

Have you ever heard the thought that you are only as healthy as what you eat?  Ever thought that you are only as healthy what your food eats?

That was MY main thought when we got our pigs.  Why raise pigs to eat that don’t eat heathy themselves?  As you know, I am fairly new to the area so I don’t know the area businesses.  Don’t know where the food comes from.  But I do know a farmer that raises his own pasture raised pork.  What does HE feed his pigs?  I asked him and it’s from another local farmer, who happens to be certified organic!  It’s just a mixture of three grains.  Why I didn’t think about this until I GOT the pigs, I have no idea!

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For the first couple of weeks, I fed that mixture.  Farmer John allows his pigs a larger area to pasture.  Mine don’t have that much area and they immediately tore up all the vegetation in there.  So I was concerned that they weren’t getting ENOUGH to eat.  Yes, they got our scraps but was that enough?

Shortly after we got the pigs, we went up to our favorite camp and helped clean out the industrial refrigerator and freezer.  I was so excited to bring home all the expired food to feed the pigs.  One reason I love having pigs is they turn scraps into bacon!

Through K’s 4H classes, I learned that pigs need a certain percentage of protein.  I buy our bulk goods from an awesome coop called Azure Standard and saw they offered alfalfa  pellets and field peas but no pig feed.  I asked Farmer John if those would be good to add and he said yes.  I want these pigs to grow like they should!  No skimping on my bacon!  K IS in 4H but she is a clover bud meaning she can’t sell her pigs in the livestock sale but WE can eat them!

So my pig feed is a mixture of local grains, alfalfa pellets and field peas.  They LOVE it!!!

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Seasons – Summer

Right now it is so very hot and humid (for Idaho! I’m from Texas so do know what humidity is!)  I am ready for summer to be over!  Start the fall weather, fall clothes, fall food, and fall activities.  But first must can the tomatoes!

Do people ever ask you what is your favorite season is?  My favorite season is always the next one.  I spent most of my life living in Hawaii and south Texas.  Neither of them are known for their change in seasons!  So now I relish the changes in the seasons.  Watching the tulips coming up, green grass starts to grow, getting warm enough to plant things in the garden, watching tomatoes ripen, time to start canning, having a bonfire on a crisp evening, time to make pumpkin pie, watching the snow fall.  They are all my favorites!   I love that we live in a world that has been masterfully ordered so that even the seasons are predictable.  Summer comes after spring, fall comes after summer and so on.

A friend lent me a CD called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  I own a hard copy but loved being able to drive around listening to a book while running errands.  Listening to the book made more of an impact then when I read the book 4 years ago.  Maybe because I am in a different place myself?

avm-book-coverThe book follows the author as she and her family the decision to eat from her county for a full year!!!  They started in the spring when the asparagus came up and showed how they survived each month for a full year.  I loved learning form her and her husband as he shared the flaws of our american food supply system.

They had a garden, raised chickens and turkeys, shopped the farmers market and made everything else from scratch.  She talked about how shopping like that saved them like $7000 that year!  All that they bought went directly back into their local economy.

This is something I want to emulate.  First, it is healthier – no additives have been added.  Second, you know that it will help the families you buy from.  This summer, I bought 60 butchered chickens from a local farmer.  I paid him a down payment in the spring and told him I’d like 20 birds at a time so I could cut them into the cuts we use.  It was a few hours of work 2 times a month but I learned a lot.  First off, that I need sharper knives!!!  Third, it’s more humane.  Farmer John didn’t have a huge faculty farm.  He had the chickens in a hut and they were able to run around and eat bugs out of their garden.  (Well, that was the idea!  The chicks ate some of their plants too.)

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I have been going to the farmers market for the items I couldn’t grow.  Like berries.  I bought at least a 100 lbs of berries to freeze for our daily use.  I have a handful of berries in my daily smoothie and usually bought the organic mix at Costco.  I have frozen several packages of corn.

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Grandpa butchered a cow for us!  It was my first time to have a butchered cow so we’ll count it as a learning experience.  Next time, I’ll request different cuts.  Some cuts I have no idea how to use!  But that animal came right from our backyard.  I hope we can start our own herd.  I’ll have to ask Grandpa how we can do that.

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Last week, we headed to a local orchard and picked 200 pounds of peaches, pears and apples.  The peaches have all been put in jam or canned.  The pears are almost ripened and we just got a few apples that trip for eating.  Canning apples come later.

 

Well, this all makes for an expensive SUMMER season!  But I won’t have to buy most of these things til next summer!  I need to be focusing on the YEAR’s budget and not just my summer budget.

Let’s see what the next season brings?? 🙂