Statues

Animal numbers have increased this year, although as you would expect that number is now decreasing again. Not that we have had the same predator problem this year as last, just more demand.

With regard to our chickens, which took a bit hit to the local buzzard (raptor)population, we solved it by sending them on holiday. The ten or so remaining hens, plus a batch of broilers were sent off to live with Gosias parents. We send food over once in a while and in return we get eggs on a regular basis and occasionally meat, perfect. Although we still have plans to have chickens again it wont be until I have built a new shelter in the woods for them, hopefully the tree cover will make them less of a target from aerial attack.

Our goat numbers only increased by one and Tuesday was born to Monday, oddly enough on a Wednesday, so we are now one closer to the Happy Days Milking Company with the three goats; Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Sunday appeared and still appears to be pregnant, but a 10 month pregnancy is biologically impossible so we think she just has a good working ruminant, or wind! She will be in season again soon so we will have another go and see what happens.

Rabbits do what rabbits do and at their peak we had over seventy, I couldn’t build hutches fast enough.

But I digress, I started this post with the intention of telling you about our pigs, or should I say statues.

It all started when I extended the electric fence and let them into the orchard to save me the trouble of cutting the grass and if they picked up the odd apple, pear or walnut then so be it, it could only be a good thing.

I always thought that pigs liked apples, maybe deceived by the age old image of one stuffed in the mouth of a roasted hog, but we had four that dispelled the myth deciding that roots, worms, beetles and whatever else pigs find as they turn the earth over was far tastier. Happy pigs indeed.

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As I visit them twice a day, spending a little time with them as I potter around the place, checking the fence and the like, I do like to observe them, and on one occasion recently i couldn’t help noticing that they occasionally froze, motionless, as if in a state of torpor, far better than any street performer I have ever seen! I just assumed that they had heard something, pigs are a little edgy at times, but watching them for longer I soon discovered that they were in fact listening for walnuts falling from the tree. As they fell the ears pricked to detect location, followed by a mad dash and a bit of a scuffle to reach the tiny morsel ahead of the competition. It was only the resulting crunch as powerful jaws cracked the nuts open that gave the game away to me.

Now much as I like my pigs I’m also pretty keen on walnuts,  they both taste good but the latter cost more than twice as much per KG as the former, and the former don’t require them to put on the KG,  so I have since made changes to the fence to divert said pigs around the harvest area. Not that I’ve taken walnuts completely off the menu, I’m not heartless, no instead I have allocated one walnut tree with particularly difficult nuts to crack as the pig tree. I check every morning for fallen nuts and use then as a diversion as I dash in to get the plastic bowls that we use to feed the pigs.

Forgive the mix of tenses in this post, I got a little confused as our fours pigs are now two, but more on that in another post.

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Author: Eddy Winko

Trying to leave the rat race and live a less hectic and harmful life. From the building of a straw bale house to the composting toilet diaries; read my blog https://winkos.wordpress.com/

18 thoughts on “Statues”

  1. Your allocation of walnut trees expresses the essence of the self-sustained farm’s nutrient allotment . Only by being there and looking and listening — how many people stop to study their pigs, even their silence and stillness? — only by looking and listening can the true farmer learn what he or she needs to know to direct nutrients in the most perfect, most artistic and appropriate paths, through the systems of the plants and animals on the farm, so that nothing is lost, nothing wasted. Time, it takes time, and the intensity of focus that springs from love —

    Ha! A little bit of philosophy from the dirt farmers in Ohio —

    The Winkos are real farmers!

  2. Yesterday, walking back home from work thorough autumn park I was surprised that these days children no longer collect chestnuts, park alleys were just covered with them. When I was a boy, we were almost fighting for chestnuts after lessons, the winner finding the most. Yesterday I saw no one interested… Maybe it’s because it’s cold and chestnuts are wet, but maybe children have changed and prefer finding pokemons on their smartphones. I read some time ago that the best ham is form pig being fed with chestnuts (but I’m not sure if just Polish sort of chestnut), so a little walk in park would be good for pigs

    1. And I was told that chestnuts did not grow in Poland! I recently read about a Chinese variety that would grow over here, and now I hear from you that they are native. I must take a walk around Rzeszow and see if I can fine some, they are lovely roasted atop the fireplace or piec, I may even try and plant some. Cheers!

      1. Chestnuts trees are quite common in Polish towns, but it’s unfortunately not edible kind (that’s why i wasn’t sure if they’re good for pigs). I’ve just found in net that edible ones are called sweet chestnuts whilst not edible horse chestnut. You can easily find them in park by Dąbrowskiego str. in Rzeszów. Aleja pod kasztanami (the one with the prettiest houses in Rzeszow) is in English avenue under the chesnut trees.

  3. When I walk past the pig farm up the road, (which looks like an enormous WW2 prisoner of war camp) they generally come to the fence and have a look at me. I suppose they think I am one of the farmers, bringing them something. The tiny piglets sometimes run under the fence quite close to where I am standing, but they always go back to mum.
    Nice to catch up with your animal husbandry, Eddy.
    Cheers mate, Pete.

    1. The trick is to train them to the fence, first in a triangle with one side of hot wire the others solid, if they learn this early on they will always be cautious of the wire. That’s not to say that I haven’t spent a good amount of time chasing pigs around the countryside:)

      1. Hehehe, me too. I bought fully grown pigs who weren’t socialized or taught to respect fences, so I started out with a tough (for me impossible) situation. Met neighbors I never knew, chasing those pigs.

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