And now we are waiting for the call to come pick up our pork at the processing plant. Of course, it’s going to be a little longer before the hams and bacon are smoked, but the wait will be worth it! I’m hoping that by next year we will be set up to smoke our own meat again. Both Will and I have done it before, but right now, we don’t have a smoker or facilities to set one up. (There’s always a next year project!)

We kept our two gilts and are bringing a friend’s boar over to breed them. We’re trading breeding services on our buck goat for their boar’s services, so it will work out great for both of us. We’d hoped to breed both to a red wattle boar, but their only red wattle boar weighs 800 pounds. He’d squash our gilts! So we’re using their Berkshire boar this time and have reserved a purebred red wattle boar from the same sow that we got our barrow from — unrelated to either gilt. We don’t want to raise lots of pigs. Grain prices are horrible and don’t look like they’ll ever come down again. But we’ll raise a couple of litters a year and sell the extra weaner pigs to help pay for the feed costs for the pigs we keep to raise to butcher. I really do love the red wattle pigs and our friends say there’s no better pork. I’ll let you know about tomorrow! Mmm.

Meanwhile, I’m working on an article for the magazine on off-grid living on a shoestring, getting ready for a second Christmas dinner with my son, Bill and his wife, while Will is out burning brush piles. As our land was cut-over Potlatch timber land, there were lots of slash piles up on our ridge. UGLY. They were too rotten to use as firewood, so they just sat there. As we’re having an open winter, Will decided to burn them as there’s 3-4 inches of snow on the ground for safety. Last night, he burned six piles up on the ridge and BOY does that look better! And today, he set off the three piles down in our horse pasture. Those were all that was left from clearing the horse pasture, all shoved into one huge pile and two small ones. They all burned nicely, and relatively completely. What a relief it is to have all that gone. Another job done.

On to the next! Will’s working on his bridge, down at the creek. It, too, is coming along nicely, with both ends now down and supported well, rip rap on the upstream side consisting of power poles, boulders, and rock. There’s even planking on top for temporary driving over with the four wheeler! Now he’s hauling gravel to raise the level of the lower ground beyond the bridge, with rip rap to keep it from washing away. This will be a huge improvement over our inaccessible acreage across the creek, except in the winter. Soon, we’ll be able to drive the four wheeler, dozer, or tractor over it year-round. — Jackie


  1. Do you know how the red wattles
    do in the heat? We have very hot summers.
    Thanks and enjoy all those packages of pork joy.

  2. Becky,

    You don’t have a red wattle boar, do you? We are wanting to breed out two gilts and our friend who we got our pigs from doesn’t have a boar of breeding size. We really want to keep red wattles, and have reserved a boar pig from the next litter from a different bloodline, but that’s then and this is now!
    If you do, give me you phone number and we’ll talk!


  3. Love to see the red wattle swine! That is the breed we have come to love and will have here on our farm for the foreseeable future. We raise four litters a year. The grain prices are high but they do well on pasture when it’s available and we buy bulk from a grain elevator, which helps. We feed more barley than corn and very little soy and our pasture mix hay. The red wattles are great. Sounds like you have more snow that we do. We are up here in northern Minnesota and we just got a dusting that doesn’t even cover the dead grass. I just hope it doesn’t get cold before the snow does come.

Comments are closed.