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. 🙂
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.