Thursday, February 19, 2015
The Price of Bacon - Part 1
Up at my brother's place, we are keeping 10 little piggies. Well, for now they are little piggies. The plan is to butcher two, keep 4 to breed and sell the rest. Raising our own meat is a project we have really just begun. So far, it isn't really cheaper, but the end product has been so much better than what we find in the grocery store. Plus, it is really good to know that the animals we are eating were raised in an environment that cares and respects them as a living being. It is also wonderful that we can teach our children about where our food really comes from. Hopefully, when it is time for them to provide for their own families, they will have the skills to do more than pick something up at a drive thru.
My brother has built a lovely little pig pen complete with a large feeder, a feed trough, water pan, a three-sided wooden shelter and a warm little hay shed to keep them warm. The fence and gate are new, as is the trough and water pan. The rest are things that he has either found used or already had on hand. Scavenging items that are not brand new have really helped to keep the start up cost down.
The most expensive part of this little operation, our labor. Of course, if we had a little more experience this wouldn't be so costly.
So far, the ice and snow has caused the most amount of labor.
Riding out in the bitter cold, wading through the snow and dumping the ice out of the water pan is work!
Getting a call that one of the little girls is sick, then heading over in the dark to sort her out, bring her to the barn and administer the medication, after setting up the heat lamp and straw to keep her warm, well that's work too.
Chasing 6 little pigs, so that they can be loaded up in the trailer and be taken to the vet to be castrated, is work! Especially when you do it the hard way, by literally chasing them around the pen, diving, jumping and getting your hat stolen by one of the little stinkers.
Then pulling that trailer too close to the gate, so that it is easier to unload the poor little castrated piggies, and then getting stuck in the slick mud, in your dad's truck, well that is a whole lotta work! Work that involves pigs escaping the pen, running around and around the pen, keeping the pigs in the pen while the brother goes to get the tractor, and then pulling the truck out and then the trailer out so that the gate can finally be shut. Next time we just need to use the tractor to begin with! I can promise we burned off lots of bacon calories that day!
So far, the bacon has cost a little bit of money and a whole lot of work. Work that is pretty fun, except for the running part, and the cold part. But hey, that's the price of bacon. And bacon is good. Totally worth it!