Usually I have something poetic to say about harvest , but unfortunately, this year’s crop isn’t very inspiring. Due to uncommonly late rains our pickings are a little dismal. We planted very late and so weren’t in danger of our grain sprouting on the plant as many were, but because of the extended season we got a late wave of pests.
From this huge pile of sorghum you can hear the munching of a million tiny mandibles. When we shake a tassel bunches of small worms fall from it. They will continue to consume our profits until the sorghum fully dries and can be ground.
We did better with our corn, though because we weren’t able to weed sufficiently about a third of it is on the ground consumed by morning glory vines, irretrievable, because the late rain caused sprouting.
Fortunately, we grow only to feed ourselves and animals because the market value of grain is very low this year. Farmers who can afford to will keep their crop for fattening animals to make up for the loss, which should benefit us because people will be in the market for piglets.
Felipe’s pig project, on the other hand, is very productive. To date we have 48 piglets and three more sows to birth in the six weeks.
He has a delightful new procedure I’m excited to tell you about. For several days before one of his mama’s(his choice of words)is to birth he lets her run free. Exercise is good for birthing ease. Then she makes a nice nest for herself and has her babies in the open, which cuts down on piglets lost to crushing because they have so much room and no walls to get caught against.
Not to mention, they all seem very happy with the freedom. How can I tell when pig is happy? They play. Even the mama runs around, grunting and jumping like a piglet. It’s especially entertaining to watch Empire , all 250 pounds of her, cavorting with her clan.
Felipe has also taken to letting pigs out if they are under the weather, he believes they find the natural remedies they need in seeds, grasses and leaves, and he’s found loose piglets are less incline to scours likely due to more diversity in their diet. We’ve had no illness requiring medication since he started the practice.
Alas, we can’t let them all roam free together, though we have enough room. Packs of pigs roam beyond their fences, and fences strong enough to curtail pigs are expensive. But for several weeks a year everyone but Don Juan, who molests the neighbor’s sows, gets a good romp.
© 2013 Abby Smith, Writer