Marshfield Farm


That is not our farm.
That is not our barn.
That is not our tree.
Lovely as it may be.

I took this photo along Rt-2 coming back from Cabot Creamer to pickup cheese trim for our pigs. It is a lovely farm house and barn near the covered bridge to nowhere that I wrote about in January. I love the roiling clouds in the background of this photo.

On the tiny cottage we’ve been working at parging experiments. I’m not happy with how the parging of the arches is working. Very difficult. I may go with brick or stone arches instead as that may be easier and come out looking better.

Today we weaned piglets from five sows. It went amazingly smoothly. Last week we had moved the piglets and the sows into a paddock in front of the house that was subdivided into sections. Then today we gently shifted the sows back into the south field area and closed off two gates between them and the piglets. Easy and smooth. We’ve used this technique a couple of times now and it is my favorite method. No picking up of ticklish, screaming piglets. No upsetness by sows or piglets. Easier for us and less dangerous. I’ll write more about it later and make up some diagrams to show the layout and little tricks we’ve figured out.

Saturday Outdoors: 85°F/63°F Sunny
Farm House: 77°F/70°F Weaned piglets
Tiny Cottage: 75°F/65°F Windows and door open

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Friday Outdoors: 86°F/63°F Sunny, Brief intense thunder storm, 2″ Rain
Farm House: 81°F/72°F
Tiny Cottage: 77°F/67°F Windows and door open, parge experimenting

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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8 Responses to Marshfield Farm

  1. EllaJac says:

    Is that an August picture? It doesn’t look like our August, but maybe it is for Vermont…?

  2. *grin* No, I took that photo a while ago. :)

  3. Paige says:

    How did it get to be 45 in the cottage?

  4. crystal says:

    this is going to sound really stupid but i honestly want to know. why do you have to wean baby animals from their mothers? wouldn’t the mom’s do it eventually? thanks :)

  5. Actually, no, the mother’s don’t naturally wean the piglets. Instead the piglets will nurse for a year if we let them. I tried that once. I’ve also let them nurse as long as eight and 12 weeks trying to find the right balance. The sows get very ‘peakid’ which is to say they lose their body reserves and it harms their health. We were surprised.

    Imagine if you had 12 babies to nurse and by age eight weeks weighed 50 lbs and all still pestered you for milk.

    Another problem is the piglets jaws get stronger and their teeth can damage the sow’s teets.

    We’ve found the best balance between regard for the piglet and regard for the sow’s health is to wean the piglets at about four to six weeks. Occasionally we’ll end up with some going longer but that isn’t ideal. By then the sows are pretty tired of the piglet’s demands and want them to stop but can’t get away from them even out on pasture like we keep them. The solution is the sows go into the herd and the piglets go into a weaning field. By then they’ve already long been eating grass, whey and such – they don’t need mothers’ milk anymore.

  6. Alyson says:

    Beautiful picture of a farm, even if it doesn’t belong to you. Great poem to go along with it as well. I thought you guys might be interested in Eat Well Guided Tour of America as the group Sustainable Table is taking a cross-country trip to visit many other local restaurants and farms. Sounds pretty fun. Link: http://www.sustainabletable.org/roadtrip/home.php

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