An Adventure in Rural Living
Should we Start a Pork Empire?

Should we Start a Pork Empire?

The boys are excited about our move.  They’ve all been talking with me about what we might do with our ten acres.  Here is a conversation Nathan and I had today by text. It started innocently.  I was just wondering how trash gets handled in the middle of nowhere.  Do we have barrels?  Do we have to take them a quarter mile down to the end of the driveway?  We quickly got distracted and I still don’t know what happens with our trash.  But, we did decide we probably shouldn’t start a pork empire.

Nathan:  I think you need to get a pig or something… or a compost pile.

Me: I totally need a pig.  And chickens. And a compost pile.

Nathan:  We could totally do compost.

Me:  I thought we could set up a little family farm at our house.  We could build a family garden, compost, have chickens and a pig and all work it together.  Justin is totally down.

Nathan:  That would be fun.

Me:  Josephine thinks we’re mean because we’re planning to raise a pig for food.  We asked her where she thinks her sausage comes from.

Nathan:  We could have Harrison do 4H.  Lol.

Me:  Awesome!  But, I need to not turn into the 4H leader.

Nathan:  Good luck!

Me:  Haha.  You too!

Nathan:  We need like 4 pigs if we are going to raise them for food.

Me:  If we get seriously good at it, we could have a sow and breed piglets.

Nathan:  It can’t be that hard.  Sarah could coach us.

Me:  We may have to build a real barn.

Nathan:  We could make that happen.

Me:  And Erika can be our chicken and garden coach.

Nathan:  Nice.  Oh… And we can have bees!

Me: Oh, yes!

Nathan:  Lol.  This is going to get out of hand quickly.

Me:  Ya.  I think that’s going to be the real challenge.  Keeping it manageable so we don’t both end up quitting our jobs to become pig farmers.

Nathan:  Oh, well… That wouldn’t be the worse thing.  Except we’d both work 90 hours a week being pig farmers.

Me:  Exactly.  And, Hannah thinks the guys you work with bug you too much?  Wait until we’re up delivering pigs in the middle of the night.

Nathan:  You have to be zoned for all this, right?

Me:  I think I’m zoned for whatever I want.  So long as I’m not polluting the lake, my neighbors shouldn’t mind.  They’re like 10 acres away.  What is that in miles?

Me:  Okay.  We’ll start small.  Maybe just start composting and then start a garden and get a dozen chickens in the spring.

Nathan:  One or two pigs is small…

Me:  That sounds perfectly reasonable to me.  Haha.

Nathan:  Pork empire would be out of hand, though.

Me:  We need to make sure we don’t scare dad back to California.

Nathan:  We can make him mead or something.  And, really, come on … bacon.

Me:  Yes.  I want apple trees, so I can make homemade cider.  But, cider is a big project.  #chemistry.  I may start small and just drink it down at the Viking pub.

Nathan:  It’s only like a once a year type of job.

Me:  Okay.  I can probably handle that.

Nathan:  I’ve got a friend that brews a lot of his own beer so we can get some help with that part if it’s similar.

Me: I think it’s very similar.  Same process.  Different ingredients.  Maybe we should just go take a tour of his beer set up.

Nathan:  It’s pretty simple.  I think it’s like $500 worth of stuff and you can buy it all online.  Supposedly bottling is a pain in the ass and we should learn to keg everything as soon as possible.  Most beginner processes have you start with bottling.

Me:  I am happy to skip bottling and go straight to kegs.  Bottling is a pain because you have to make sure your glassware is sterile.  The cider people all use gallon sized glass jugs.  A little better than bottling, but not as good as kegs.

Nathan: Cool.  I’m in.

Me:  I found my zoning district and laws.  I’m in zoning district RH-3.  I can have 1 livestock animal unit per acre, so 10 “animal units.”  An animal unit = 1 cow, 4 hogs, 10 sheep or goats, 100 poultry or rabbits, 1 horse, pony, or mule or any combination.  Ummm… don’t tell dad.

Nathan:  Nice.  So, way more than we need. 🙂

Me:  Totally!

Nathan sends this article from “Modern Farmer” called “5 Things I Learned the Hard Way While Raising Pigs.”

Nathan:  This article is pretty good.  This person tried to raise a pig family and it went badly.  Let’s just get one smallish one to start with.

Me:  I think one pig is the right number.  That’s what my dad raised every year.  And, when we were buying homegrown meat, we never bought more than one pig at a time.  We normally bought just half.  So, one pig is a good start.

Nathan:  That should be plenty.

Me:  I’m thinking we should lay low and try not to attract too much attention from anyone, especially dad.

Nathan:  Good plan.

9 comments found

    1. Recipe is on the blog page! I will make you pumpkin apple soup when I come visit you in January. If we can find pumpkins in Hawaii in January?

  1. You can’t have just one pig. It will be too lonely. I think 2 would be good. A teacher at our school had pigs, mama pig kept getting pregnant though, and it got out of hand very quickly. I used to give her the slops from the cafeteria. Now I have a chicken bucket in the cafeteria. Kids put all the beautiful sandwiches, star shaped kiwi fruit and organic blueberries in it that their moms pack in their lunches. Our school chickens are very well fed. Did you read this book – it is a good one, but you will have tons of space so we can spread out –

    1. LOL, Erika! Okay, we’ll get two pigs. And, I guess I need to find a local elementary school to give me their lovely lunch leftovers! I will check out the Urban Farmer book! I’m amassing quite the reading collection. I did read “Raising Backyard Chickens” by Trista Brandt and think that you could write a much better and much funnier book about how to raise chickens. You can start by sending us blog posts. We’ll collect them here for you until there are enough of them to make a book!

  2. I like your just one pig idea to get started but be wary of any spiders nearby. You may end up with “some pig” 😀

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