Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Large black hog association

I've come to realize that some folks don't know about the new website. is the new website for the LBHA.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Sales update!

I have pending sales on all of my registered boars, and only three bred sows left. No feeders. I do have a couple of breeding pairs left. Check out the!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meet Rupert

So momma cow (blossom) finally popped. No fusss, no muss, heck we we're not there at all. Just came down to find a new farm resident in the morning. Sweet!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Gotta reorganize the herd. To many bodies for the old man to chase. Check out the DalanFarm Sale Barn for the Hogs I have for sale. Boars, Sows, Bred Sows, Weaners...all kinds of stuff.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Well, another reason to pay your bills off and retire early....

So you can stop sitting around all day. Looks like training in your off time cannot completly offset the damange done from a Cubicle lifestyle...sigh.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's new, Scoobey Doo?

Marge lost a few piglets to traumatic injury, but she has 7 of the 12 she farrowed and they are MONSTERS. For LB pigs they are growing fast (I suspect due to the ample milk supply, she has 12 teats).

Olivia did lose two of the really tiny ones. She has 13, including a small boy now named "Bud." Bud is WAY to small to be used for breeding (ever, he's a textbook runt) and is becoming something of a family member. He's even been to church with us (Sunday School lesson...)

Anyhow, we have reservations on a couple of breeding pairs, and (assuming my genders match up) we should have 4 to 6 pairs out of this farrowing. Just got to make sure all the pair candidates look nice and well formed. And I have to notch so I can tell them apart. And I need to vaccinate. And do that "boar to barrow" thing. And...

Oh (not that this is a big deal to anyone but me) two of my boars are off farm visiting other "ladies." I don't rent boars as a matter of course (or offer stud), but I know these farms, these pigs and it's nice to lower the head count for a couple of months.

Some of thegoats have gone down the road, mostly as pets or companions for does. Turkeys (midget white) and chickens are EVERYWHERE :)

It's been cool and crisp in the mornings, and my last hay cutting (what I'm feeding right now) has proven to be beautiful, sweet smelling and well recived by Goats and Hogs alike.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Olivia is the Queen piglet maker.

I'm not sure if this is some kind of record for the Large Black Hog in North America, but I'm sure it should be.

Olivia farrowed 15 piglets yesterday. I made sure everyone ogt a pass at a teat and got some colostrum, so I'm hopeful most (if not all) of them will make it throught the first few days. Though I am a dreamer some times. Anyway...check out the video and my terrible, stereotyped redneck imitation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why Walla Walla is better than where I grew up (Renton)

Here is where I live today...

Here is where I came from (today). 

Hmm...posted with lots of love to my Wet Side relatives and comrades.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Marge is the champion

There are at least 13 live piglets. No dead ones discovered as of yet, and there is quite a crowd around the teats, so there could be 14:

Go Marge!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Here we go again...

Marges milk is in and her hind end is leaking...dem babies is on the way!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Love them midgets (turkeys)

Momma turkey just hatched 13 more babies (in addition to the two chickens hatched last week). Boy those little white ladies make some babies. I bet if the magpies would quit stealing eggs, our two hens would have reared 40 or more chicks this year.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fair Fun

Here's a brief shot of the eldest showing her dairy cow. Was a grand champion for confirmation.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Marlyn Jondle when she came to buy LBH from me. I did not get a chance to build a deep relationship, but I looked forward to seeing where the farm went.

I just found out that Marilyn and her Husband (David (Scott), whom I never had the pleasure of meeting) were recently murdered. I am heartbroken.

My prayers go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First fair pig!

Hamp x large black...Jimmy Dean is the name. We're not showing him, but I am, rpoud to see a LB there. We provided the boar (fat albert), my buddy bob provided the sow.

Next out. The mob of dalan kids will be hauling their large blacks to the fair!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fat Albert

Well, he's kind of naughty and doesn't like posing (though he does like a good snuggle)

Here's his pix for those inerested.

Little bit of heaven

Jowel bacon...bacon of the gods!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Funny looking weed eater

Some morning shots of the fat ladies nibbling varous odds and ends.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quiet evening on the farm

Now I remember why I like it here :)

It's purdy.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Here are the Ladies that are for sale

Here are the bred ladies....
Olivia (Prudence/Majestic Bred to Noble Sam). Not a sibling of Maggie.
Swinehilda, Olivia's Sister, Bred to her 1/2 brother a Majestic Boar. Made great piggies last time!

Maggie Rose (Prudence/Majestic bred to a Noble Sam)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time for some change

I've got more big, black piggies than i want to chase around right now. So dalanfarm is reorganizing and cutting the herd from 12 breeders to 7. One bred lady is sold, but three more bred sows remain for sale and a boar (i just don't need 5 boars around here!)

We'll still be selling purebred and cross bred LBH out of multiple lines (including the new defender boar line), so we are not going anywhere!

!!The boar (Fat Albert) for sale is not involved in the breedings of the sows (he's a half brother to one of them) so he could be paired with a bred sow (Either Oliva or Swinehilda) and then used to breed her piglets if desired (eventually...but he can rebreed either 'Hilda or Olivia). Hog farm in a box!!

Here's the link to our sale page....


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Speaking of Cute...

Another customer (Luther) has pigs hitting the ground. I'm not sure what he's doing with them, but with his permission I have a shot of his first litter.

Baby pigs are soooooo cute. Farrowing went well, au-natural in the great outdoors.

A customer looking for customers

Kara Sully (who bought pigs form me last year) has a batch of pigs ready to go. If your looking for a pig or two drop her a line at or check out the website

One of her pigs below...cute as all get out!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's kind of ugly

But it's a stack of hay I didn't have to make by hand :)

The old Harobed works great. Still needs some TLC, but picks the bales up and makes a block so not much to complain about.

Funny fact: Harobed is never spelled Harrow Bed. The guy who invented this machine had a daughter named Deborah (which backwards is 'harobed').


Friday, August 6, 2010

Large Marge

One of the ladies showing of her pregant tummy. Month or so to go!

Farrow dates updates

I have been privy to quite a show the last couple of days, so i can almost guarantee fall/winter litters will farrow on or about December 1st. Puts weaning at Feb 1st, or so.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More pig information

Updated the homepage ( with farrowing dates for 2010 and 2011.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh happy day

The old man has been out visiting for a few days. Got a chance to chat, eat at the Longbranch Saloon (Weston, OR). Even did a little farming. After the complete tear down of the baler, it's finally dialed in and making great bales, no turds (failed bales) and I no longer have to creep along in granny gear. The baler of yore is back! Well for now.

Still have some butcher pigs for sale, and a gilt or two if you're in a pinch for piglets now.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stuff for Sale

Pork coming last week of August, and 2nd week of December. $3.00/# whole, $3.75#/half, both plus cut and wrap (local pickup only). Best pork in the universe, but I am exceptionally biased and base my claims only on the observations of my tongue :)

We also have goat kids for sale, some spotted crosses (Nubian/Boer) and % Boers as well. Most are $50/head. We also have a Red Boer buck (% Boer, "Commercial") who is big, beautiful and has frosted ears.

If any of this strikes your fancy, shoot us an e-mail (check for contact information).


Wrapping up the Hog trip

Here is some random photogrpahy from the Hog pickup to ILL.
Jackalope madness in Wall, SD

Dinosaurs are always a nice excuse to lave the car.
Corn Palace 2010
New is 100% large is not...can you tell?
Nattey: "Poppa, what's that Bear there for?"
Poppa: "Nevermind."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Temple Cemetery

So we went to the Temple Cemetery (temple ND). I think they must have moved it, as it's east of where i remembere it being. Either i forgot, or i never knew, that my Aunt Uni and Uncle Carl (Meyer) had a marker here. It being here caught me off guard. Long story short, once i saw the "I boweled a 200" coffee mug (Uni's I assume) I started sbbing. Still am. I never saw her nearly enough as an adult. My kids would have loved her and she would have loved them right back. I miss you Uni. A lot.

Stinky room

Ok the stinky room wasn't all bad and Minot has a STARBUCKS. Had a sower, fed the critters (human and non-human) and all is well. Next stop? Montanna!

North Dakota

Ahh...2 AM and a smokers hotel room ;p

Hogs are travelling well and afer the longest day of the trip, we're still getting along!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The eagle has landed

In SD. Nat enjoyed the Rushmore a ton. Saw some movies, some really big heads and bought some trinkets. Getting ready for beddy by time stop is IL!

Lunch at sheridan

Well, we are in WY now. If you are ever near the border of MT and WY, I highly reccomend the info center/rest stop SE of sheridan. RV facilities, historical stuff and picknick shelters. Should be rushmore around supper time. Natty saw pronghorns and a lot of rolling hills today. Still having a plesant time :)

Lunch at sheridan

Well, we are in WY now. If you are ever near the border of MT and WY, I highly reccomend the info center/rest stop SE of sheridan. RV facilities, historical stuff and picknick shelters. Should be rushmore around supper time. Natty saw pronghorns and a lot of rolling hills today. Still having a plesant time :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 1 done

Well we are here in Bozeman. Whew, one down and several to go ;)

Tomorrow is mount rushmore. Natty is excited and we should have plenty of time. Then (Thursday) we'll land in IL. Friday we meet our new boy....sweet!

Hog trip 2010

Well here i go again, as Bo Seger would say, down the road after pigs. Natty and I aee one leg 1 of the trip. Right now we're eating at a DQ in Missoula. It's been uneventful so far. Tomorrow we'll check out rushmore, and Wall SD. WOHOO!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

So long old lady

One of our lady goats went to the big pasture in the Sky last night. She's been winding down for a couple of days now, and last night was all she could take. Surrounded by here kids (not quite weaned, but taking a bottle well) and my kids. Will miss old Frosty. She was a great goat, made great babies and was a favorite of several of my kids. We've explained and discussed the circle of life, but for some of my kids it's still pretty hard to see the cycle at this stage. It still touches me just how gentle a soul some of my children have.

I hope they can keep a soul that grieves easily as long as they live.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Universe is coming back into alingment

So the Mrs and my eldest return from the mission to Guatemala tonight. Wohoo! My sitter and the kids have been awesome, but I'm dying for a little normalcy. The baler is fixed, i'm going to stop living like a single parent of 5 with two jobs (and good thing, cause that's nuts). BTW my hat is off to all the single parents out there, I know it's hard and you have my sympathy.

All my fussing aside, I really have it pretty easy. I am thankful, and the last two weeks have been a stellar opportunity to focus in on just how fortunate we are to have a whole family, good friends and a community that stands with us.

Truly blessed we are...


Sunday, June 20, 2010

So hay madness...

Turned into maddening hay. First the weather around here has been really goofy, cold and wet. But I had a window to get all the neighbors hay cut. So I went for it. Swather worked for a while, then I "tinkered" and broke the starter solenoid, so I had to break out the 5' disc cutter. No biggie, new solenoid is on order and the disc cutter is as fast as the swather.

One step down.

Next is the raking, which went really well. The 50 year old Massey Ferguson 25 I bought raked like a beast, just like earlier in the season. Man I am on a roll.

Two steps down.

To bad I stopped rolling down the hill by hitting a wall at the bottom :)

Then I fired up the baler this weekend to get some of those green cubes made and stack. This did not work so well. Despite a pile of new parts and a fair amount of adjusting, my baler makes 3 bales then two blobs, 2 more bales, 3 blobs, a bale, 2 blobs, 3 bales, etc. Not a recipe for success. So I make a panicked call to my farming buddy down the road, check the weather (looks like rain) and hope maybe after fathers day I can borrow a baler and get this cutting over with.

Well first, no rain came. All weekend it blew to the East AND West of me. 3/4" in an hour less than 3 miles to my west. Torrential downpour 7 miles to West. Radar looked like a giant hand was parting the ran as it moved up from the south. Make of it what you will, but with rain predicted at 60%, I'm still dry as are my neighbors who's hay is on the ground.

Figure I'll call the Newholland dealer and see if a mechanic can get my beast working, if not they have two units in stock that will do the job. It's just money right? In a way it is just money, with a "real" job 6 kids and my spouse I don't want to spend my life monkeying around with equipment I don't fully understand.

Tractors? Easy.
Cars? Child's play.
Rakes? Hydraulics? Elementary.

Balers? Designed by Satan himself. Pure genius in design, fairly simple in construction and infuriating to learn to adjust, tweak, tune and maintain. I may have finally met a machine I simply don't have the time or inclination to master maintaining on my own. Part of it is the simple frustration that to test it, I have to have crop to bale. By then it's a little late to figure out it's not working and I cannot figure out how to fix it.

So I'm bringing in the the bale mechanic or sales man. Visa, take me away.

I figured maybe I can get those bales up in a week or so. Sigh.

But then....tonight the phone rings. My buddy who I called in a panic. Long and the short of it is, he's going to try raking my hay in one field, tedding hay (fluffing) in the others and then baling and stacking the whole shebang. Did I mention that the hydraulic pump on my ancient harrow bed (bale collector/stacker) is trying to die on me too? I don't mind picking up bales by hand, but power tools are sure nice.

On top of all of this weeks drama, I've been waffling between cursing my busted implements and blaming anyone who I could think of and thanking God for an opportunity to work on my patience. Without help and time, there is simply nothing I can do. I cannot magic my baler into working. I cannot stop the hay from getting rained on. In the midst of what is probably the longest two weeks I have had in recent memory (more than just the hay...all kind of stuff is going south, hitting at the same time) here is a friend calling to help me out.

He has every reason in the world to take some time off now that his hay is caught up. He's been seriously ill (and no doubt exhausted), and is constantly overworked. He can probably come up with something better to do than bail out (pun intended) his newbie farming buddy down the road. But there he is. Even when he could have a 1000 reasons (not just excuses) blow me off, here he comes anyway.

Thanks Robin.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hay season madness

So the first cuttin was pretty much a total loss. Poop happens I suppose. Now I am on to my sharecropping (I split the harvest, and I do the work) with some of my neighbors. Sun is shining, weather is nice. Man I love this time of the year. I'll be completing some overdue chores like replacing the regulator and starter solenoid on the old Swather, fixing some irrigation (one of my buddies calls it "irritation") equipment and maybe getting some more water down. Hard to imagine that after the wettest may I can recall in some time I'm already watering again, but it's time.

Summer is upon us.

Oh yeah. I was awoken last night by another chicken being attacked. Last year we lost several to a big Raccon. Several turkeys as well. This time I caught him in the act and in a location where he could not escape.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Baler rides again...

Well the upside to our swampy spring is that I've had lots of time to ressurect the baler after the untimely demise last year. Replaced lots of bits (hay dog springs, twine finger bar...last on in the world it seems...twine fingers, arms, etc.) And assorted nuts, bolts cams and washers. Welded the bale chamber shield and tinkered other things.

Today, i made some green if it will only dry out :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

BP Oil Spill

If this is ever developed inot a solution, just remember you heard it here first. Unfortunately someone has probably already suggested it and it won't work...but here's my $0.02 anyway :)

So I was reading the news about suggestions for stopping the BP leak in the gulf. Instantly I thought of an angioplasty baloon. Why not make a giant angioplasty baloon, insert it into the well and then inflate it?

Here's what I was thinking...take a couple hundred feed of steel tubing (say 1/3 the diameter of the open hole in the blowout) and perforate the lower portion and seal the "bottom." In the perforations put collapsed round balloons made of something like Kevlar (which has a strength of 3600 MPa or about 500,000 PSI). Inflate the baloons to seal the bore.

By having a series of small balloons (rather rthan a few long verticle ones) we would prevent the failure of any one balloon from causing the seal to fail. A smaller diameter pipe inside the external pipe carries something like concrete/bentonite (drillers mud), etc. to inflate the baloons and seal the well. Comething that hardens would be idea. Once the well is blocked, both the interior shaft and the void space (if there is any) between the exterior shaft and interior shaft could be filled with concrete as well.

Assuming you can pum the "filler" at sufficient pressure to inflate the balloons, it should be relatively trivial to get this kind of contraption in place (just shove it in the bore) and put it to use. Should be cheap to build as well.

I have uploaded and astoundingly poor diagram of what it would look like in two dimensions. The little shaft to the upper right shows the balloon inverted in the "feeder shaft" that connectes the balloon to the inner core where fluid can be pumped. Getting the balloon sealed to the feeder shaft in a manner that would resist the astounding pressures could be really hard.

There. I came up with an idea. Tell the Shrimp boat captains I tried. God help them folks, 'casue I don't think anyone else can.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Into each life...

Well, as predicted, it rained on my hay. For those not familiar with the masochistic process of growing and storing hay, this is generally a bad thing. In my case not so bad, as I don't sell it and it's still in nice windrows (loose pile in lines out in the field). It'll dry out and I'll get it put up. I rolled the dice and "crapped out" as they say.

But more farm "news" abounds! I was buying parts for the somewhat tempermental baler and found parts that I thought we're no longer available. SWEET. Turns out a tractor supply store in Colorado had the part in question in stock...and now it's mine!!! I know...who gets excited about parts ofr 30 year old farm equipment? Well...I do :)

On the piggie front: there has been some considerable frustration getting my three pigs across the border to Grant in Canada. First the vet papers were not going to make it in time. Then they were going to make it...but the wrong kind of bloodwrk was Grant got to take a ferry ride to Vancouver for nothing. But all is not a total loss...we had the proper tests run (there was enough serum to rerun the needed tests) and not all the paperwork is in order and in the mail back to Walla Walla. It'll work out in the end. Always does.

That's it for now...


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mya says it is time

To cut that hay. Soon we'll test out the antique swather and see how she does ;)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Images of spring...Turkeys, Hogs, Dogs...

Hogs eating grass (see I told ya they did...), the Mrs. conducts a chior of babies. Maybe a hog alter call?Momma turkey is hiding a couple of her 13 chicks. Well 14 if you count the Bantam chick that was snuck into her nest as well. And our big (110#) white dog (an akbash), Thor.  

Sunday, May 2, 2010


The kids discovered one of the lady turkeys is indeed setting on a clutch of eggs. Wohoo!! Both of the female turkeys have dissapeared from time to time this spring and we were hopeful. Momma turkey actually has a chick right now as well. It's a chicken :) Some hen (one of our wandering Buffs) hid an egg in the turkey nest, no doubt. So there is the cutest little chick hanging out with momma turkey.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oh Canada...forgive me I could not resist.

As another Wine (wino?) weekend descends upon the local community, a local pig nut prepares to share his beloved critters with folks around the world. That would be me... and the world is Canada. I have the remaining appointments arranged to get Grant at Ravenstone Farms his piggies. International affairs. Wohoo! I'm so cosmopolitan.

My old swather is about ready for hay season (did I mention I drove 9 hours to get a $300 swather built in the 1960's?) Its a Massey Ferguson 36 SP and came witht he conditioner. It runs like a clock, and I have fixed all of the minor things wrong with it and have just to complete the replacement of the sickle sections (cutting teeth) to get it 100% field ready.

Also came across a ground driven manure spreader. Great price (free) and works perfectly.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

springtime on the farm

We've been putting up the last of the pasture fencing, 700' left to go. We'll get the critters out there and then get the hotwire installed. The fence is real sturdy, but hogs and highways just don't mix! Then we clean the breeding pens out, milk that dang cow, kid a few more goats (7 kids so far this spring) and get ready to hay.

On top of all that I am working with the good folks at raven stone farm in BC (yep, Canada) to feshen up the Canadian hers with some new blood. My vet is working with the USDA to make sure our side is good to go and Grant @ raven stone has his ducks lined up on his side of the border.

Should be exciting!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Forgot to update on Olivia

She actually farrowed 12 babies, and all of them are doing great.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pop goes Olivia...

The big lady is dropping ppiglets today. Good thing I moved her 2 days ago. She's doing great and so are the baies. 4 so far, I'll bet she's got 8 or 9 total, maybe more.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More news

Pigs are going to their new homes, cows are settling in and goats are starting to kid. Lily had triplets again. Two little red girls with frosty ears and one girl who looks just like her daddy, redbeard.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Picutres as promised

Had a great family reunion yesterday. And managed to get some pictures (of critters, not the reunion). Just some random snaps of Swinehildas babies, Bigmomma coming to check me out, Blossom and Raisin (Dexter Cattle) and some of our truly free ranging pigs (piglets regular journey into completely unfenced hay field.

Enjoy :--)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pop! Goes the piggie

Swinehilda finally dropped her littler. 8 beautiful, big babies. I wnet down, shuflfled them under the heat lamp (they were dry and sleeping...cleaned and fed) instead of cuddling under momma.

Not  a bad way to start the day :)


NOTE: She tricked me. One more piglet arrived between my early AM check and chores.

Total is 9 :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!!!

"Hilda has still not yet sprayed forth piglets. But her milk is in (it's expressible...yes we squeeze Hog boobies). Should be any time now.

And there is this big, loud black thing in my pasture. It's name is Blossom and it came with a small black thing we named Raisin. They are our new Dexter cattle (miniature cows). Full grown a steer is 800-900lbs and about 50% dressed, so about 400# of beef a shot. Momma is beautiful and was dehorned as a young one (makes me much more comfortable playing with her) and is slowly learning that we are her source of food. Heather will be working on halter training her and convincing us to let us milk her. Dexters are supposed to produce around 1-3 gallons a day, so plenty manageable for us.

I'll post pictures as soon as I have them :)


Friday, February 26, 2010

Now my wife has done it...

With some gentle, nudging encouragment from me (something like..."Oh just buy the damn things before they're gone and you miss out...") my wife has confirmed our purchase of a bred Dexter cow with a calf. She was worried about if we had enough ground  and if we had enough loafing shed space. We do, and they'll fit in fine. Or I'll put them in the freezer. Ahh, farm logic, quick and easy :)

Anyhow, we'll pickup the new critters soon and I'll post pictures as soon as I get them.

I finished about 4 acres of seeding with the no-till box this week between rain storms. Timing worked out well, and so did the drill. Way over the needed eed rate, but seed is about half of what it was last time I bought it, so the extra seed is no biggie.

If I had to do it again I would have bought the 8' drill and not the 30", but at the time I didn't have the $$. Someday...

Next year (after I spread manure this fall) I'll overseed the lower 6 acres of hay ground. Mostly to keep the stands nice and thick and get a few legumes (Alfalfa) mixed in. We filled the barn last year, so if the plantings take off, I will have to sell hay as I won't have any place to put it.

Oh, and 'Hilda hasn't popped her piglets yet. Someday....


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And the watch continues...

Swinehilda continues to look like a big, black football held up with toothpicks. Looks like she will explode. I would realistically guess she'd easily in the 10-12 piglet range with this litter. She farrowed prematurely last time (doesn't look like an issue this time) and had 8 I think. But alas, her milk did not come in and we lost the whole lot. It was he first time, the feed was not as good as what we have now. I have high hopes for her that the issues were environmental and not sow-related.

With our nutrition change, our birth numbers are up significantly, and no stillborns at all. The largest live litter we had last time was 8, and this time that's the smallest, our largest being 11 this time. I cannot wait to see how 'Hilda does.

I'm on pins and needles!!


Monday, February 22, 2010

If you've been trying to e-mail me and I have not replied...

Please resend your note. My ISP has been having some mail filter/deliver issues and I suspect some of my out bound and in bound messages have not made it from point A to point B.

And it's OK to hassle me if you think I have not repliaed soon enough. Squeaky wheel you know...


Saturday, February 20, 2010

How to build a hog hut and other random things

The question came up about my hog huts. The improved design (I use that term loosely) has turned out to work quite well. I'm still groveling for my uncle to build more wood huts, but the tarp ones work really well until he has time or can be suitably bribed. If uncle Kenny wasn't around here hassling me to get stuff done (and doing the lions share of the work on most of "our" projects) I'd be farrowing pigs huts made from twigs with burn barrels for heat. Thank God for Kenny. about them huts? There wicked simple. For a hut (big enough for 2-3 pigs to use, one to farrow in) you'll need the following items...
#1 -- 3 16'x50" (48" or 50" I don't recall, either works) cattle panels (not Hog panels). You only need two if you have a 6' chunk of scrap panel laying about, and we always do.
#2 -- Tarpaulin (thanks Bear Grylls) that is at least 18' in one direction, and over 100" (8' or 96" will do). One tip is to buy one large tarp that can be cut to make two the proper size, or one the proper side and a back...see below.

#3 -- Tarp that is large enough for the back of the hut...depending on how you build the hut, the width will vary, but the height will generally be between 6' and 7'

#4 -- Seven 5' T posts, and a tool to pound them in. No, a hammer will not do. Cheapest solution it as "post pounder" and some ear plugs/safety glasses. Yeas I do actually use both :)

#5 -- Some means of cutting the fence when needed. A "saws all" with a metal blade works, but I use a cutoff tool (really use those safety glasses...molten metal in your eye will really take the fun out of this project...) that is something like this one..

#6 -- All weather zip tie (black ones), get'll need more someday anyway. These are used to connect the two fence sections and anchor tarps ad the bottom and rear of the hut. You'll need to anchor the tarp in front as well.

#7 -- Something to form a 3-4' hard back to the hut. This can be a pallet. Another option is to build the hut up against the fence line and use 36" chicken wire. The goal is to prevent the babies from pushing out the rear of the hut (and moving the tarp/opening it to drafts) and other curious pigs from nosing their way in...same result.
Basicall the construction process is this...

1. Wire two fence panles together the long way with zip ties.
2. Sink one T-post
3. With help, manuver the two panels so that one of the short sides is centered on the t-post.
4. Drive a t-post at the opposite ends (short side, your first t-post is in the middle) of the two panels.
5. Bow the panels by walking one short end towards the other. Set three t-posts to hold this side. Make sure you have a faily semmetrical dome. To tall is a pain to tarp, to falt will collapse if you get 12" or more snow on it.
6. Cut short panel and attach it inside the hut leaving roughly 3/4's of the hut on one side of the "creep" wall and 1/4 on the other.
7. Put the back on the 1/4 side, leaving the big side for momma and the little side for the little ones.
8. Tarp that bad boy.

As you may have gathered this is as much an artistic venture as architectural. Here are some pictures of our hoop huts, the wood huts (with silver tarp roofs...rooves?...roofses?) and a small wood hut that lives in a Boar pen.

Also included are random baby pig pictures...'cause who doesn't think they're cute???


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Well how about that...

The Dexters were very cool. has information on the breed. We'll still have to sort out if we're ready to be come mini-cattle people, but they were really neat looking critters. Nice folks raising them too.

We got the first spring pigs needled and notched. It was fun, there was a crew of us working together and I think we have a smoother process. Babies were annoyed, but none the worse for the wear, and the notches came out real clean. I did mismark one (kind of sleeping at the wheel) but that one will be destined for the fridge, so no bigge :)

Built another hut (another of the Mark III designs) for one of my two pregnant ladies to move into, which she should do this week. Almost all setup to farrow, now that I've been doing this over a year...sigh, no hurry right?

Grass is growing tall, almost 3 inches tall. I also got a barnburner of a deal on some first cut alfalfa from a guy down the road. Not that it matters much to me, but it does look like hay prices are on the way down. Since I buy from time to time and I don't sell'll be hard for me to complain.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I think we may pull the trigger...

On a couple of Dexter mini cattle. Cow calf pair. What's a farm without a cow, right? 1-3 gallons of milk a day, gentle temperment and offspring that will make just enough beef for our mob of 8 people.

Grass fed beef on tap and milk for the family and the pigs sounds pretty good to me :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Strange days...

It has been oddly warm all winter, though plenty wet. We had a spell of 60 degree days in January. I know in places there are folks buried in snow who wonder if I will have the gall to complain about hot days in January...well I won't :)

As far as I can tell it'll be plenty moist this spring, so the temps aren't going to hurt at all.

So what has been going on here on the Dalan Farm? Well, as noted earlier, the spring pigs are starting to arrive. I continue to work on figuring out what we have to sell and to whom. I'm also working on getting some new pig bloodlines for 2010, including two new Boar lines...the Defender and Big Buck. Working on a couple of sow lines, but for now I am not as certain about being able to get them as I am the Boars. We'll see how the "Black Hog Road Trip 2010" works out. Should be interesting.

We have alady Turkey who seems to be disappearing during the day and onlycoming back at night. We suspect she is fabricaitng anest's hoping. Chickens are producing eggs at an astounding rate (we have a liht on a timer in the hen house that allows thier internal clocks to stay on summer time...all the time).

Goats are bred and should have some new kids around the farm soon. I know, like the Dalan's need more Kids! (excuse the pun). We're also on the hunt for a dairy cow (Dexter mini actually) and we may have one in our sights...stay tuned!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Piglets are hitting the ground. New farrowing setup is improving piglet survival significantly!!

Check the hompage for a tenative update on whate we will have available this spring.