I have the fidgets this morning. In case you are not familiar with this term I will try to explain it as briefly as possible. It seems I have at least a dozen things I want and need to be doing all at the same time and am nervous or fidgety because I can do only one at a time. Ever been there? So I will be doing this in between several other small projects. All of which are important, none of which are imperative for immediate completion. So here is what I am going to do. I will tell you about the need for a new hog pen in between going out and doing it a little at a time. You see it is 20 degrees out this morning with promise of getting up to about 25. I won’t be out for very long at the time. Can you imagine what these fingers will look like after I hit the wrong nail a few times. I would rather just imagine it!
The easy to handle part? Let me tell you a story. You are surprised by that I am sure. Hey I have lived quite a while now. Things have happened and some of them ,I think, are worth telling about. It was Sunday. I know it was because we were on our way home from Church, see how smart I am? We in this case was my parents and us 4 children still at home. When we turned off the paved road to get home, There, off in the field to our left, was our sow complete with her current litter of 8 to 10 piglets. This was our next year’s pork supply! The extras to be sold. Me? I was about ten to twelve maybe 80 pounds at the most, in my Sunday go to meeting cloths no less. Complete with shoes, you had to wear them to go to church. Dad stops and tells me, Bob get out and drive her back to the pen and I’ll meet you there. OK sounds easy enough. Remember I said they are easy to handle? Only about 300 pounds? And she had pigs! Have you ever noticed that the female of every species in the world get very protective 0f their young?! And three hundred pounds is a big animal when you are alone and only about a third or less their size. There for a while it was hard to tell who was driving who back to the pen. I can however tell you (with absolute certainty) that when it was my turn to be driven we moved a lot faster! I could do that then.
But back to the hog lot I have to create. We have an area, probably 1 to 1.5 acre that we are going to use. It has a lot of trees around two sides but still allows for some foraging on most of it. It is said this breed are good foragers but not bad about rooting. It is my experience the two go hand in hand. Hogs can smell what is underground and if they want it the dig, or root, for it. Being already short on pasture for the cattle I don’t want to turn them loose in the pasture and have it rooted up. I want them to have the trees for shade and protection from the weather to some extent and hopefully they get rid of some of the unwanted vegetation in the area.
I am going to run hot wire. We already have a barbed wire fence up so the post are there and there is one strand of electric fence wire but it is higher for the cows. So we will need to run another strand ten to twelve inches off the ground in case of future pigs. Other than the wild hogs I have raised, hogs are not hard to keep in, unless they once get out, and so long as the basic needs of life are met. Guess I best get to it or it won’t get finished before we are out of beef too. You may be interested in knowing that by working on this intermittently I did manage accomplish a couple of the other small projects on my list here in the house. Still have the fidgets? Somewhat but not as bad as they were.
So where did the name Guinea Hog come from? Apparently, from my limited reading, just about anything that was imported from the African continent during early settlement days was quite often referred to as guinea. If you are not familiar with the American Guinea Hog and want to know more, as I have said they are smaller than todays commercial breeds reportedly excellent foragers and not bad about rooting. The meat is reportedly excellent well marbled and preferred for smoking and curing. Some growers have established markets with restaurants that specifically want this meat for it’s fine cooking quality and taste. Again it was the farmstead hog of the 1800s gentle and tending to stay around home. For more in depth information you can go to http://www.livestockconservancy.org/ .
OK it is Monday now, started early Friday and am just getting around to putting it out to share with you. Hope you have a good week and check out the heritage breeds. They are worth keeping around.