New Hogs, New Beef Babies and Work That Never Ends

It's spring and that means I am up to my eye balls in work!  It's that time when the cows that have just freshened overlap the cows that are not quite ready to dry off providing us with an excessive amount of milk.  More milk means more time in the milking parlor, more time processing milk and making milk products and very little rest for the weary.  (The weary would be me!)  I have approximately 25 gallons of milk coming in a day right now and if I take one day off, that means I have 50 gallons of milk to deal with when I get back.  Since this is almost impossible, I just keep my nose to the grindstone, as the old saying goes, and try to keep up with it.

We were not planning on getting any pigs until May but with all the extra milk, we found it hard to resist when a friend told us about a really great deal on some six month old hogs.  Or, at least we hope it ends up being a good deal.  We will still be getting the baby pigs in May to raise up for our customers, and these pigs we will butcher for ourselves or maybe even have USDA processed so that we can sell individual pieces of meat.  The hogs were being raised by a really nice couple who had fed only organic grain to the hogs.  However, they had not been feeding them enough to really bring them up to weight in a reasonable amount of time.  We take baby pigs at 8 weeks of age and raise them for six months and end up with hanging weights in the 250-350 pound range typically.  These hogs are six months of age and only weigh about 125-150 pounds.  We are hoping we can turn them around with some of the extra milk that we have. 

I had planned to go Friday to visit my friend's daughter, Tay, in Roanoke but postponed when Mike said he wanted to get these hogs that day.  I expected to be gone about an hour or at the most two.  It didn't quite turn out that way. 

First, it is rarely easy to load a hog.  Not that these hogs were as difficult as some we have loaded, but they didn't exactly just walk onto the trailer either.  In fact, one of the hogs we had picked out absolutely refused to be confined and jumped over the boards the men were using to separate her and the two others we were getting from the remaining seven hogs.  Finally, after about 45 minutes of "loading" we hopped in the truck to take off and it would not turn over.  We had to get the man we bought the hogs from to jump us and then we were off.

Only, the AC wasn't working, the windows wouldn't roll down, the radio quit working and we knew something was wrong with the truck and it needed more than just a jump.  We had to run by one of the other farms to pick up my father in law, but didn't dare turn the motor off.  We yelled for him to jump in and now there were four of us in the front of the truck (Cousin Dennis was along for the ride) and three hogs in the trailer in the back. 

We were heading through town and Mike decided to stop at the local auto parts store to get them to put a tester on the batteries.  (Diesels have two batteries).  It was unseasonably hot and we sat in the sun while the men played around with the truck.

 I got really hot and decided to walk around and check on the pigs.  They were really hot too, panting and looking miserable. 

Two batteries and a warning it could end up being the altenator , we were on our way. 

But, we had to stop at the other farm (yes, there are three).  After being delayed there for about a half an hour (during which time I made myself useful by taking photos of new babies that had been born and of the beef herd), I managed to get myself flogged multiple times by the nasty rooster that lives in the barn with his one hen.  I yelled curses at him and threatened to end his life should he ever attack me again but he was clearly in control of the situation as I walked backwards down the driveway while he continued to charge and attack! 

Finally, we made it home to unload the hogs who were very much worse for the long afternoon in the hot sun.  They were very compliant getting off the trailer and we didn't have too much difficulty getting them settled into their new home. 

I was over 2 hours late to start my evening chores and milking and had about four hours worth of work in the milk kitchen that I hadn't got finished that afternoon while we were out running around.  And, to add insult to injury, Buckaroo had escaped his pen and found his way back to momma and I had  no goat's milk for the evening.  (He is staying penned away from mom during the day so that I can get a little milk and then spends the evening and nights with Obi.)

The next day I made the trip to Roanoke but was so tired that on my way home, I actually found myself starting to nod off.  I talked to Mike and told him that I was pulling off on the side of the road to take a nap because I just couldn't make it home.  I slept on the side of the road for about 20 minutes and that was enough of a nap to get me the rest of the way home. 

My days are starting around 4:45 am and end around 11 pm but yesterday (Sunday) was a day of rest.  I only worked about eight hours. 

I know things will settle down eventually.............it gives me a reason to look forward to winter again.


WeldrBrat said...

I'm exhausted. From everything you've done today. LOL

Actually... I did struggle a bit. I've discovered I have chickens with attitude. They discovered my water hose. They don't like it. And in between that and going down to the basement to do laundry... I was coming back up to help Dwayne get the T-posts in. We got 54 today. Fence wire and a walk-thru gate tomorrow. And maybe some fried chicken. ;)

Deb said...

Oh my, I can't imagine having that much milk to work with! I think I'd get tired of it real fast. LOL It would be nice to stock up on butter again though...I'm a little worried that we are going to run out before we start getting more milk...but we may be ok. I think we can probably wean our calf next month if we have to have more cream...just didn't really want to till later, cause I wanted a "milker" for when we have to go to my Niece's shower in May. LOL Oh well...maybe we can ask the neighbor to do it...or just be gone over night.

Hope you survive all that milk! (Love the photo of your goats too...one of these days we will get some again, I hope. :))