The greatest ideas come to me when I am far away from a pen and paper. Usually, it is when I am occupied with the mundane tasks of life; showering, feeding the animals, driving, just about any time other than when I have nothing to do than sit at the computer and type. So, what possessed me today to set down my evening knitting (same sock I have been working on for a month!)? My son is the answer. The Blond Wonder, not my Dark Knight (who has also been on my mind all day because he is ill and is an adult but Mommia still worries.)
Blond Wonder is nine years old. He is a force of nature! I see much of my relationship with my Dark Knight in my relationship with Blond Wonder. DK and I butted heads when he became an adolescent. He had a mind of his own and although it was difficult we allowed him to make his own decisions. We may have nudged him in particular directions from time to time but over all his decisions, his mistakes and most of all, his triumphs. I see many of the same attitudes in the BW as with DK but TOO SOON!! He hasn't hit puberty, gone through middle school, gotten his license. What does this have to do with farming? He is our next generation. We work this land, preserve our stock and plant trees for our sons, not ourselves.
DK is happiest in the city. He feels at home connected to the concrete and lights. BW is all farm boy. Today I had a meeting via telephone and was glued to the computer. I needed BW to manage my two sows who are due anytime. Not only did he manage them but when chore time rolled around (about 3 pm), he had already managed most of the chores. As I walked down to the barn to feed the herd, I heard him singing. He was singing to the hogs as they walked the in the pasture. I stopped and shot a short video, unfortunately, his singing was not loud enough to capture. In the video 15 of our Large Black Hogs were quietly following him as though he was the Pied Piper. Most of these fellows are destined for freezer camp.
We raise Large Black Hogs, a heritage breed that is not improved for confinement housing. Currently there is a study at Purdue University with the Large Black. One of the first lessons they learned was that our hogs are NOT confinement hogs. The pork industry has refined pig processing from farrow to finish like an assembly line. There are good things to say about the ability to feed many people with the "pink" pigs. Profitability and sustainability are not among the positives. I refuse to get into an argument about CAFOs with anyone. They serve a purpose but are not what we are interested in. Because of their sheer volume of animals, they have seen just about every illness and deformity which is useful information when dealing with swine regardless of how they are raised. The major downfall of CAFOs is that they are dependant on power. If for whatever reason, the elcticity is off for an extended period of time, they will lose large numbers of animals My pigs do not care if they have electricity or not. As long as they have pasture or woods to browse in and water to drink, they are happy and healthy.
I got side tracked by the Blond Wonder making noises after "lights out". I had to investigate. He said the security light at the barn came back on right after it turned off. Marching down to the barn in my nightie was NOT on my to-do list tonight. It turns out that our cats were playing right in front of the light. I have visions of their kitty play like the hide and seek we played as kids.
Everyone has bedded down for the night save me. Until tomorrow.