Winter has fallen down upon the Montana place… high of 9 today, 8 tomorrow.  Maybe it’ll kill some pine beetle larvae… gotta look on the bright side.

The Berks are huddled in their huts like, well, beetle larvae in cambium.  I’ve got these 4’ x 8’ bales of straw in a big tarped stack… shuttle loads out to the huts in plastic sleds that work the best with snow on the ground… I have to move fast to stay ahead of them.  Straw is really important.  If the rascals would just realize it’s for bedding – not to eat

It’s a peaceful time of the year, and quiet.  No mud, no dust, just cold and dry snow… powder… time to break out the skinny skis.  Not that I need any more exercise really… a Heritage Hog Farmer can relate.

Made up a trailer full of feed for WA with the Machine yesterday… might fill the barn today but I’m not sure I want to run it when it’s this cold… but maybe it’s better to run it vs sitting… I don’t know.  Maybe we’ll find out.

Have to run some buckets of water out to Blackfoot, Belle, Lady, Jett and her pigs, Torrnado (yes with 2 r’s), Aspen, Tennessee and two groups of feeder pigs as soon as they start to stir… which will be awhile.  Hogs are definitely on ‘musician time’… particularly in the winter.  They don’t do anything until noon.  Gives me time to do paperwork, fill the bird feeder, rehang the thermometer just to break the bad news, write this blog, bring in firewood, etc.

Water is a real issue here in the winter.  I’ve been too stingy to throw down for those fancy insulated automatic fence line waterers… really expensive.  So I put hoses in a horse trough and throw a heater in there… works pretty good if you get the hoses untwisted before you put them in there.  Otherwise it’s like trying to get the right amount of spaghetti out of the pot.  And you gotta move fast before they freeze up so this is a real problem.  Sometimes I just bucket it out there… faster and more exercise!  You haven’t lived until you’ve lifted a 5 gallon bucket of water over a fence to empty its contents in a pan.  More exercise!

So dig in folks.  Winter is here.  The hogs can take it.  The Berks don’t need no fancy heated concentration camp to survive winter.  Just straw them up, raise the ration and get them the water they need… twice a day since everything is froze up.

Enjoy your animals.  Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.


Winter, 2016/17