Posts tagged ‘hogs’


Bill the hairdresser called to tell us the dream was shattered. His wife had left him. She said it was the hogs.

Because Jason is too nice, we went to Bill’s Sunday morning to retrieve the hogs he said he would purchase from Bill. A last ditch effort to tempt his wife to return, perhaps? At any rate, at least we had the good sense to take a few panels with us. Bill made an attempt at calling the pigs…by name…to hop in the trailer like some kind of trained circus pigs. It may have worked had the bluebutt not been in the bunch.

The bluebutt (referred to only as such because I can neither remember, nor do I care to remember her name) jumped in the trailer only long enough for me to look away for a nanosecond. That was apparently plenty of time for her to make a dash for the exit. Gentle readers, Sunday was not the first time I have been but a speed bump on the road to glory and freedom for a renegade sow, nor will it be the last. However, it was Mother’s Day and I had no intention of losing any teeth Read more…


Farm Fun Barbie

Kids notice everything. I teach in a small school and wearing different boots one day garners a certain amount of attention so you can only imagine what happened when I showed up with blonde and mahogany red highlights.
Sometimes the phone rings and things get weird and that was the case with the highlights. A gentleman called Jason over a year ago hoping to rent a boar, not something we typically do. Bill insisted on the quality of his facilities and we finally agreed that we were, in fact, boar poor, and he could come inspect said boars. He wanted to meet “the boys” and see their offspring and so he arrived.
He and his wife were visiting with Jason in the farrowing barn when I walked in wearing a hoodie, rubber boots, organic material-covered jeans and a ponytail. Bill was explaining to Jason that he was a hairdresser in town and wanted to rent the boar and trade it for cut and color services for me.
“Rachel,” he said with a grandiose sweep of his arm. “You could come off the prairie and be pampered and we could give you Barbie Gone Bad highlights…”

I swear I saw Jason snicker but I can’t prove it.

Long story short, I went to town Friday and came back with blonde and mahogany highlights. No part of me screams “Barbie” or “Gone Bad” on a normal day and I can’t say that’s what’s being screamed after a day at the salon but it was big news in Karval.

District X FFA: All the Cool Kids

I had the honor of addressing the District X FFA Banquet last night and this is part of what I told them:

In addition to my work with CFB, I also write on a blog and teach other farmers and ranchers to do the same through the FarmWife Project. This usually results in great tales of the happenings throughout the year on Colorado and New Mexico’s farms and ranches and there is rarely a lack of great photos. Last week, I stopped and took a few iPhone photos of dirt drifts I passed south of Karval. I don’t have to tell you how dry it is but I went ahead and wrote a blog post about the drought and posted the photos.

The blog post and the photos hit home and hundreds of people read the post. They shared it on Facebook and emailed it to different news outlets. Tim Andersen sent it to 9 News and they rolled into Karval Sunday Read more…

Hogs, McDonald’s and HSUS

McDonald’s has moved to support HSUS in their quest to do away with gestation crates.

As a hog producer, I could tell you all of the scientific evidence. In gestation crates, sows’ feed and health can be more closely monitored. In gestation crates, “bully sows” don’t beat up on other sows. In gestation crates, “bully sows” don’t overeat, resulting in piglets too large to pass the sow’s pelvis. The question posed to the pork industry has not been “can you use gestation crates?” the question has been, “Should you?”

Science and measures of production efficiency aside, I’ll tell you this. As hog producers we don’t use gestation crates. I’ll also tell you this. We have a gilt who was a victim of bully sows so we had to move her to another pen away from other sows until her due date neared and we moved her to the farrowing barn. In our pens, we’re unable to control individual feed intake. She overate, as pigs will do. I’ll also tell you this. I spent 16 hours in our farrowing barn to try to deliver her piglets. I saved one. One. The others died and we had to administer antibiotics and hope that she would recuperate and continue milking for her one piglet. She’s since recovered but as soon as we wean her, the cycle will continue.

I won’t tell you that I’m an unfailing fan of gestation crates. I can’t because we’ve not used them. But I can tell you that if you want the scoop on hog production, ask a hog producer first.

A Goat Named Pig

We have a calf named Lucy but please don’t tell her she’s a calf. She thinks she’s a sow.

Lucy the Sow. Sigh.

Lucy bellies up to the feedline with the sows, headbutts the bullies out of the way, and protects the “other” sows from the pesky steers who occasionally make their way to the sow pasture. They’re as perplexed as cattle can be by Lucy and baffled in their own little bovine way as to why she won’t join them. Read more…

Momma said…

Me and Caden with the snack-size, Farm Fun Barbie Board. Note: the size of the board and the size of the boar. And the boots. And the fact that he's wearing shorts and I'm wearing short March. Did you see the boots? You can be jealous of my style, I don't mind.

Momma said there would be days like this.

The good news is that I didn’t spill my iced tea when I fell on my face in front of Loaf n Jug today. My head didn’t bleed when I forgot just how tall the inside of the stock trailer is and the bleeding on my hand has just about stopped.

Momma should have named me Grace.

Given my cat-like relexes and unparallelled shows of athleticism today, it was a fabulous day to load hogs to go to the sale barn. When sows and boars aren’t doing their job and producing quality litters of piglets, we cull them, or send them to the sale barn. Today was the day for six of them.

I wasn’t exactly planning to load hogs today but, as often happens, I found myself in weird combinations of clothing paired with rubber boots. Today was one of those times. Luckily, my pink polka dotted rubber boots complimented the capri pants I was vaccuuming my living room in when I dropped everything to load hogs. Read more…

From the FarmWife Project: Wrong Robin, Rachel Vermillion

Robin Halley is one of my favorite people. I’ve known him since heck was a pup. He knows hogs. He raises livestock and spends much of his time, as we do, at livestock shows.

Robin Burgher is my step sister. She is an accountant and lives in New York City. She likes Macy’s and Sacks Fifth Avenue. She does not raise hogs but I still like her.

I tell you that so I can tell you this.

I typed out a text asking a question about castrating hogs. I can’t recall the exact wording but it mentioned the words, “castration”, “testicles”, and maybe even “damn”.

I found Robin’s name on my cell and hit send. I looked down and saw which Robin was about to receive my juicy question. Wrong Robin!

I think I hit cancel quickly enough but if the message still went through to it’s unintended recipient, I’m sure it will make for good dinner conversation in the Big Apple.