Mystery Photo 20071111

What’s this?
What are the marks?
Leave ideas in comments…

Clue 1

Clue 2


The temperatures below are for the air. The tiny cottage is still unheated, other than solar gain and we’ve just had a long period of cloudiness. Stone and concrete were up to 61°F and down 50°F in the tiny cottage. Up until now we’ve had a large hole in the south wall that was letting out hot air. I sealed that up and sealed up the low hold in the north wall. That should stop the draft that was removing the warm air. It is interesting to see how much warmer the stone gets and stays

Outdoors: 32°F/20°F Sunny
Farm House: 52°F/46°F 1 Round Bale Out (from last year)
Tiny Cottage: 48°F/33°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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7 Responses to Mystery Photo 20071111

  1. debbi says:

    They look like impressions of milk weed seeds. As a city/country wantabee I have been enjoying your blog for a bit now and actually enjoyed some of your pig from Julie at Stoneview’s house.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kita being one of your ultra smart livestock dogs saw the wonderful opportunity to make some nice art work for the tiny cottage. She saw you leave out a small piece of pink foam and set out to collect numerous rocks of the same size and weight after arranging those in a pleasing order she left them to keep part of the foam from changing color. She then went out and got a stick which she used to further the beauty of her art work by adding some puncture marks with the stones. Having decided that she was done she carefully removed all rocks and presented her art to you as a gift of her love to you.

  3. *grin* Kita is smart but I’ve never known her to turn her talents to art before. She is more of the ‘how do I catch that rascally rabbit’ or ‘lets see about baiting those rawkus ravens’ sort of girl. Maybe this is a new phase in her life…

  4. V.M. wrote: We farm in Metchosin, British Columbia, Canada and are experimenting with outdoor farrowing with Berkshire and Old Gloucester Spot sow crosses. I like your shelter design but how do you remove the mortalities safely? Our experience is that despite best efforts (ample room, start out with sawdust etc.), we do have sows overlay on piglets. Some farmers tell me that one just leaves the morts in there. What do you do?

    I almost never remove mortalities – Our livestock guardian dogs do that sort of work. I suppose you could use a crook to pull it out. We get very few moralities. I would suggest hay rather than sawdust. It is fluffier, warmer and edible. Hay rather than sawdust may result in fewer squashed pigs because the sawdust packs down.

  5. V.M. wroteThanks for your speedy reply!

    I just sprained my ankle badly so I’m indoors right now putting it up and after binding it with ice to reduce swelling… :( Bother.

    V.M. wroteI’ve tried both straw and sawdust and tend to start with sawdust and then switch to straw, but maybe we’ll try switching back to straw.

    This year I’m experimenting with using wood chips as the initial bed layer when building up the winter bedding pack. My goal is to save on the cost of hay. Wood chips are free. Hay is about $40 per 800 lb round bale delivered. The advantage of hay is the pigs eat it too. Interestingly, they do pick through the shredded brush and chew on it. Like bush hogging I guess.

    V.M. wroteAs for morts, we don’t get a lot but I guess I’m just uncomfortable leaving them in there to rot!

    I agree, I wouldn’t want them rotting in there. Our dogs are very good about attending births and taking care of this. They also clean up the after birth. Originally I thought that might be an issue (mom being ‘supposed’ to eat it) but never an issue and they all nurse fine, etc.

    Most of our pigs birth out in the pastures from April through November and I don’t actually see the birthings until the sows show up a few days later with piglets in tow.

    In the winter we have open shelters as you’ve noted. Some are dens, some are sheds, some are the greenhouse. I like the greenhouse design but it wasn’t all that durable. I think a long stone den with kalwall or some other translucent paneling on the roof of the first portion might be my final design but I’m not there yet. One step at a time.

    V.M. wroteWe did have one sow this year though who managed to overlay 6/16 piglets over a matter of days. Was the worst we’ve had to date.


    V.M. wroteAnother question for you: I noticed on your blog that you were experimenting with NOT castrating boars. How did your experiment end up and what are you currently doing?

    We haven’t castrated now for a long time unless a customer specifically requests it and pays extra when buying a piglet. We haven’t castrated any market pigs, wholes, halves, retail or wholesale, for over a year now. We’ve never had any boar taint in our herd in all the testing I’ve done up to 22 months of age. At this point we’ve slaughtered a large number of intact boars which have been eaten by hundreds (thousands?) of people. The taint doesn’t seem to be an issue for our herd but you’ll want to verify that for your own pigs’ genetic line. See these posts for some different posts I’ve done about the topic.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So how was the picture made? I cant see the entire answer, or are you trying to hide Kita’s art ability?

  7. Answer: I left a piece of pink foam insulation out in the sun for months. Kita, one of our Livestock Guardian Dogs, walked on the foam leaving her foot prints clearly behind. Where she crushed down the aged foam she revealed the pink for the orange.

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