Farmdiary 2008

of Pigs, Puppies, Pets, People

Beefalo, Bison & THE WEATHER

The year passed in a flash. Peter and I (and you all!) are one year older, we have more grey hair, Peter and I both have a new grandson, a puppy dog that grows into an elephant and pig galore with heaps of piglets being born and growing very fast

"I like pigs! Dogs look up to us, cats look down on us, pigs treat us as equals!"   (Winston Churchill)

Our new venture, the freerange Berkshire pigs, is going very well. We now have 6 breeding sows producing 2 litters/year. They seem to really be happy, as they produce big, healthy litters (from 8 to 12 piglets).

The demand for freerange pork is good; we sell piglets and pork directly to the public as well as pork through the butcher.

Pigs grow on you. They are playful, happy creatures. We have to be careful not to get too attached to the little ones

On the Bison/Beefalo front we had an early Christmas present: Beta, one of our bison girls, had a bison hybrid calf by the Beefalo bull David. It is a heifer; she is lively and healthy and mum didn't have any problems at all. POCAHONTA has the colour of a pure bison calf - orange. But that will most likely change. Her bison content is around 65percent bison.

With the Beefalo things don't go as well as with the pigs. Although we still have a faithful customer base, sales have dropped and we might have to rethink our Beefalo operation. 2009 will tell...

Speaking of pets: In March we got the first unexpected one - Golden Carmella. Her mother, a fullblood Beefalo was bitten by a snake. Golden Carmella, the size of Kim, landed in our garden. With the help of the dogs she slowly forgot mum, took to the bottle and played with the dogs.

In April we received another bundle of joy - Allie. Not that we needed another dog, but Allie was special. She is deaf and nobody wanted her. Veni vidi vici - came saw conquered. A Labrador/Great Dane/Bull Mastiff X she came as a 3 kg bundle, full of life and confidence. Kim was very unhappy and cranky at first, Jan and the cats didn't really like that bundle of energy, but Jill took to her and started playing. Allie grew and grew...

  9 months old and still growing...  

Our oldest pet, Penny (around 30 years old), shows her age, but is still content to graze. She gets special pellets and a daily carrot.

Men and beast alike are getting older. if only it didn't happen so fast!

THE WEATHER   

The weather is still one of our main topics. What a crazy year we had! in February we drowned in almost 2 m of water. after that there was hardly any rain until the normally dry July: 220 mm of rain fell in a few days. but that was it for the year. now the pastures are parched, the cattle desperate for a green pick... Fortunately we have the barley grass to feed to cattle and pigs! But we still hope that the rain will come soon!

loving it!

Monday, 12th January 2009. The rains have come! The night from the 2nd to the 3rd of January the skies opened and we had 100 mm! It meant to save the first litter of piglets out of the creek, but the sound of rain on our tin roof was wonderful. We didn't have one day without rain. The countryside has magically changed - the paddocks are emerald green, all animals happy to get that beautiful green grass. Nature exploded, the wet season has finally started!

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