After much debate and stressing over the need to get the pig set up done, we have decided to hold off on pig raising this year. I'm bummed about it but with the Hugel bed happening I really need to focus on getting things planted in it and in getting the fruit and nut tree crop going. This will involve a lot of thought and planning to get right since I'm going for the food forest permaculture design. It will also require some serious money to get done. Also with the Hugel bed I am going to be able to grow a huge amount of veggies in a small amount of space so i don't need to dig up the ground this year to get a crop and am rethinking the whole pig plan. The summer long process of harvesting will also take up a lot of time, all of these things equaling out to NO PIGS...
So i find myself trying to figure the best way to build a pig hut that will keep my pigs cool during the humid and hot west virginia summer. This hut must also be portable, I need to be able to progressively move my oinkers through the field, controlling the snouts of destruction to my advantage. When I think of the myriad ways to take advantage of the instincts of my farm animals i have to think that the real sweat equity of farmers lay in their problem solving ability. The real innovators of yesterday were the ones who thought of how conservation of labor saved the day, to get the natural world to work for you. Or rather to work with the flow of nature as a partner in crime. Why do we spend so much time slogging upstream when an easy float down the river is just as easily available? The hog panel hoop with a tarp roof seems most attractive to me, with a 2x6 frame on skids. Reflective tarp to reflect the suns rays? Would it turn into a pig oven? I find myself vexed with options. Weaving pine boughs into the hog panels might be more economical, reminiscent of thatched roofs, but would provide no rain shelter in the cooler months of october. Thank god for the winter, and the time available for problem solving.
So it has taken a year of thinking about pigs to finally get down to business for me. There had to be a job for the pigs to do before incorporating them into the scheme of things here at Ironwood. This job has been waiting to be filled and has taken some time for me to get around to interviewing the applicants. There are 4 acres of open field suffering years of neglect after having been farmed by conventional methods. We tried having a farmer till it, and he broke his tiller on the many rocks hiding within. So it sat for another year until my reading brought me to pigs. Then yet another year for me to warm up to the idea of raising pigs. Pigs are large animals, omnivorous creatures that would eat you if you happened to become helpless in their pen. Yea took a minute or two to get over that one. Ahhh but now I am fearless in the face of piglets and after watching some farmer friends survive pig propagation I am ready to go. Got myself a charger for fencing, solar powered, electric sheep netting, hog nipple waterers and now just need shelter and some pigs....
Born in New Hampshire and raised in Maine, Eva's passion for living self sustainably began with Helen and Scott Nearing. Both were homesteaders who carved their lives from the land. Eva now lives in Eastern West Virginia, with her husband Dain and daughter Shayna, carving out her own life.