What’s new at Baker’s Green Acres now that it’s fall?
Not much. We’re taking advantage of the beautiful weather to harvest as much grass as possible. These hogs show the value of that! They are about 19 months old now and ready for harvest themselves. The Mangalitsas produce the best meat and fat when grown slowly and allowed to reach maturity. Most hogs are fed corn diets and kept in small pens with a goal of reaching butcher weight in about 9 months (commercial operations try to make weight quicker than that). A hog is barely reaching into puberty at 9 months and is “the other white meat” at that stage. These Mangalitsas are fully mature, their meat will have more flavor and color, and will be a superb pork product. Full steam ahead to Pigstock TC in 2 weeks! The pigs are ready, whether the rest of us are or not.
We still have lots of chickens on pasture, too. There are about 2500 yet, representing 3 large processing weeks, then a slow down. They’ll be out there into November, providing the weather holds. What that means is that we’ll have our freezers full of pastured poultry going into winter so that we can grow fewer through the winter months. “Joe the chicken” is still around. He’s sort of the broiler birds’ mascot.
And then there’s the puppies, those 6 (one found a new home already) little bundles of fuzz. They are quite the characters. They follow us around, bark when people come (unless it’s nap time), and generally run around soaking up all the food and petting they can. These Great Pyranees puppies are well socialized! They got their first shots last weekend and weren’t thrilled, but puppy minds are quickly distracted. Chewing on your brother’s tail makes that poke a thing of the past.
The family is still enjoying the fine weather. Joe has moved out and taken up smoking. Well, he moved to his cabin, and he learned how to smoke chickens–on the grill. All three boys are busy in the shop. Keith is at his post to gut chickens for as many chickens as there are. He was able to earn enough to buy most of a “Doodlebug” minibike. It is his newest pride and joy! Jim lives to imitate his dad. We caught him (he can move from the backdoor to the tractor, whereever it is, in about 60 seconds!) sitting on the tractor, wearing his dad’s hat, talking on a calculator like a cell phone. Hmmm…..
It struck me today that life is made of seasons (Solomon the wise king in Ecclesiastes), and that seasons have phases. This is the pleasant phase of fall–but the blustery gray days that make us ready for the change to winter are coming. That’s the purpose of the yucky phase of a season–to make us ready for change. I hope this finds you enjoying the pleasant fall weather to its fullest!