Peanut Butter Arrival at New Loading Dock


New loading dock’s first use

This spring Ben and I built a new granite unloading dock for the farm. It allows a tractor trailer truck to backup to a stone slab wall out by the gate. Then I can easily unload pallets from the truck bed using the forks on our tractor. This makes a huge difference because when the forks are up high they have a reduced capacity. By raising the tractor up to the bed level of the trailer our tractor can lift over a ton.
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Walter unloading peanut butter from truck

This truck was delivering peanut butter and the reason we built the new loading dock. It was an opportunity not to be missed. Over the course of our pigs’s life about 80% of their diet is pasture as measured by Percent Dry Matter Intake (%DMI – a standard way of measuring diet) for the past decade or more we have also gotten about 7%DMI dairy (mostly whey) from a local dairy, 2%DMI spent barley from a local brew pub, about 1%DMI bread (mostly a training treat and very appetitive). The rest is pumpkins, sunflowers, beets, turnips, radishes, apples, pears, occasional peanut butter[1,2], cottage cheese & regular cheese[1,2] and other good pre-consumer materials that froze or otherwise got rejected. Pigs, and chickens, are wonderful in that they can recycle these types of excellent food products keeping them out of the waste stream. In the immortal words of Karl Hammer, “Waste is a verb.”


Hanno inspecting unloading process

Previously we’ve only gotten small amounts of peanut butter, a ton at a time. This partial truck load of peanut butter is enough that it will likely last a year or more. Based on past experience I’ll keep the feeding level down to about 2%DMI to a max of about 7%DMI in the winter.

Peanut butter is one of those foods that doesn’t go bad, like butter, molasses and honey, all of which we’ve gotten on occasion. In our cold climate peanut butter stores very well so it will keep, even in the summer as it rarely gets to 80°F and 86°F is our record in the last 30 years here on Sugar Mountain. Last winter we lucked into a partial load of cut barley that had become too dated to make flour and some barrels of molasses that had passed their use-by-date. Molasses is another thing that never goes bad and is very good for livestock having both sugars (something very low in pasture & spent barley) plus minerals and iron.

While I’ve raised four groups of pigs solely on pasture, I use the resources I have. Grain isn’t evil, just expensive, which is why I don’t buy commercial hog feed. But nearly free resources like this are not something any pig should turn their nose up at and it makes for delicious pork.

For more details about how we feed and graze our pigs see the Pig Page and follow the links from there to additional articles about managed rotational grazing and supplementing livestock diets.

Kudos to the first person who can figure out the funny photo fact… Leave answers in comments. No fair peeking before you leave your answer!

Outdoors: 59°F/77°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/72°F

Daily Spark: Katya isn’t particularly phased by thunder and lightning but when a storm comes she looks up at me and says “Boom-boom-boom” – her word for thunder immitating it’s rolling sound in her gravelly dog accent.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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14 Responses to Peanut Butter Arrival at New Loading Dock

  1. Edmund says:

    your earmuffs are mismatched?

  2. Someone asked how we find things like this… Scoring finds like this is a matter of being open to opportunity and always ready to receive. When Lady Luck knocks on my door I like to say “Yes!” As you get known for pig farming people who have stuff like this that they need to get rid of contact you. For them and us it is a win-win situation. It is expensive to trash it. Giving it to me, or in some cases my paying the transport, saves them a lot of money.

  3. Farmerbob1 says:

    Funny photo facts? Hmm.

    Pic #1: You have chains on the tractor in the middle of summer?

    Pic #2: You actually wear ear protection while operating the tractor. (Not really funny, but I was surprised.)

    Pic #3: It looks like two guys are pulling pallets to the back of the truck with chains or ropes because the tractor is just a little too big to roll into the truck? Or is that a pallet jack? I can’t see enough detail.

    I’m also a little surprised that you don’t have the backhoe attached for unloading. I would think that the hoe would be excellent for a counterweight against the heavy pallets.

    I’m also surprised that the delivery was made in a trailer of that type. Shipping containers are very heavy for the cargo volume they can carry, and aren’t normally used for short distance loads. Did this product come from overseas, Canada, Mexico, or from Really Far away in the US?

    • 1) *grin* Yes, the chains protect the far more expensive rubber. Chains cost about $400. Tires cost over $1,000. Keeping the chains on adds five to ten years to the life of the tire. And the chains still haven’t worn out after 15 years.

      2) Aye, I like being able to hear. I love music and dancing.

      3) The tractor fits, by 1″, but my chains would do nasty thing to the truck bed. Ben and the trucker are using a pallet jack to pickup the pallets deeper in the truck and move them to the entrance at the back of the truck where I can grab them with the tractor’s forks.

      4) You are every right, I should have had the backhoe on – once I started I realized that but it was up the mountain and would take too long to go get. I succeeded in not doing wheelies on the front tires.

      5) I was surprised too. It just happened to be the trailer the driver had available that day. The peanut butter is actually made reasonably locally.

  4. Marc Simonsen says:

    One of the photos was flipped after it was taken. The semi is pointing in opposite directions in each of the two photos, yet the shown side of the trailer is in the sun. This is just one of many clues that one of the photos was flipped. The last photo is the flipped one, I’m guessing.

  5. Someone else asked what was wrong with the peanut butter. These are the tailings from production. They have the peanut skins mixed in, occasional shells, etc. It’s perfectly good peanut butter, just not sellable because for some reason humans object to picking peanut shells and skins out of their teeth. Pig’s don’t care.

  6. Farmerbob1 says:

    Why is Hanno’s shadow going the wrong way in the third photo? Did it really take that long to unload? Or do you have two loading docks? The shadow of the truck in the first two photos is to the driver’s side of the truck.

    In the last photo, Hanno is on the driver’s side of the truck, but his shadow is pointed the wrong way. This can’t be explained by a flipped image, because I am referencing from the point of view of the truck, not the viewer.

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