Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pigs on pasture: TGF 2012 edition

Our eight little pigs headed out of the wooden-fenced area for the first time this afternoon. They've become accustomed to the electric netting fence along the inside of one wall of the wooden fence. So today I put up one of our small net fences outside their pen and let them get out to dig some fresh ground. In the ten days that they've been here their eight little snouts have torn up every last piece of grass or edible root in the top few inches of soil. One particularly ambitious snout had been working on a hole about eighteen inches deep when I came to check on them after lunch.

Here's a few pictures of them discovering tall grass, taller than them in some places, and plowing through a section of an old wood chip pile.

I counted three who tested the new fence with their noses and one who was so engrosssed in going after a particular root that she worked her body around till her rump was pressed against the fence. I tried to warn her, but the next pulse caused a little skriek and she jumped away from the fence. I didn't feel too bad when her snout was immediately back into the ground and she just kept digging -- this time heading well away from the fence.

I worked nearby for hour or so, just to make sure all of them have learned to move away from a shock, and not charge ahead as their natural instinct seems to be... An electric net fence couldn't handle even one of these piglets if it were really inclined to charge. The piglet might get tangled for a bit, but eventually it would pull down the fence. Having them learn to stay away -- and back up when they accidently touch it -- is the only way to keep them moving around on the pasture.

In other news, Sharon got most of the peppers, plus much of the licorice and sage, planted in the greenhouse with help from her dad; meanwhile, her mom helped label the hundreds of eggplant, tomato, pepper, cucumber, flower, and herb transplants we'll have for sale at the Trumansburg Community Yard Sale on May 12 and the plant sale at the Ithaca armory on May 19. Perhaps happiest news of all: more than 600 gallons of water stockpiled for our irrigation needs, the mower is fixed, and the tomatoes have already started blossoming!

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