It is only December and hay prices are out of control already. We went to the local hay auction this morning and hay was going for way above the normal price thanks o shortages stemming from the super dry summer. We got some decent hay but paid $290 a ton which is pretty expensive. I am thinking we need to start contemplating seriously about shrinking the number of animals we are feeding. On the bright side we came home to meet the guy we bought the hay from, talked with him a bit and set the older boys on the task of putting away the hay while my wife and I went to breakfast!
Spent a good chunk of the afternoon standing calf deep in water/mud/pig poo. They have made a bowl of mud in their pen and it is holding water so a large chunk of their pen is a soupy mess. That means I got to stand in the aforementioned soupy mix and dig an exit trench. It was super delightful, let me assure you! The hogs are pretty furry which is funny because hogs in factory farms are always indoors and tend to not grow a coat. While it is funny to look at it also means more work when we butcher and have to scald and scrape off the hair. At least one chicken made the mistake of wandering into the hog pen and becoming a pig dinner, they are kind of funny and all but they will eat whatever they can get their snouts on. Our big boy is so close to being ready to butcher, we could probably slaughter him at any time now but since we are planning on killing him ourselves to save the $50 we are hoping for some colder, drier weather.
One of our Amish friends is going to help us to slaughter the hogs and is also donating a bunch of ear corn. In return we will share the bacon and ham and pork chops. It is interesting to see how the bartering economy is alive and well in the country. We know so many people and each one has a little something that someone else does not. We don't all need a gas powered auger to dig post holes but it is nice for us to know someone who does! We have a ram that services our three ewes but we also loan him out to a guy we know that doesn't have a ram. That same guy has a horse trailer that we have borrowed. On and on. So much of our society is a self-contained one. Everyone has their own stuff meaning we consume a lot of goods that we don't really use that much but because we are so distant from even our next door neighbor the days of borrowing stuff is rapidly ending. Instead we all buy our own stuff and let it sit around collecting dust. More on this idea of a mutual sharing/bartering community to come in a future post.
Looks like we are headed for a stretch of cold weather which means watering becomes more cumbersome. The hoses need to be rolled up, drained and stored inside every time we use them. Thanks to rainy weather we still haven't tilled up the garden which we really need to, if we can get a few more dry days I am hoping we can do so before the ground freezes or we get more rain.
After a busy day of bedding down and feeding horses, dealing with ponds of liquid pig poo, feeding the sheep and goats, and other miscellaneous tasks I am ready to hunker down for the evening!