Ton of Peanut Butter

Kavi Tasting a Ton of Peanut Butter

Kavi dog is taste testing the peanut butter to give his official approval before we unload it for his pigs. Peanut butter you ask? For pigs??? Yes, in fact, one full ton of peanut butter. Four 500 lb barrels of smooth peanut butter to be exact. Another great find! Filled with calories (great for cold winter days) and protein. Those calories are greatly appreciated by the pigs as we’ve got another two months of cold weather ahead of us.

So why in the world would we get a 2,000 pounds of peanut butter? Apparently Ben & Jerry’s had a little oops. These barrels went out of date, they passed their expiration. Things like that happen. A ton of peanut butter may sound like a huge quantity but when you think about the total volume of ice cream they make it was probably only a little oops, a little left over from a very large batch. Fortunately they are willing to work on keeping good organic materials like this out of the landfill. Organics can put in a manure lagoon. Better is for it to be composted. Best of all is feeding it to pigs which puts the food at the highest point on the food gradient meaning the least amount of wasted energy. That’s green gold and a win-win for everyone.

Pulling Peanut Butter Barrels

Five hundred pound barrels are heavy. The whole pallet was loaded into the van all in one shot by a very talented fork lift operator named Lefty. It just barely fit – more on that below. In the cramped space of the van it is a bit trick getting them back out. We used the tractor and a chain to pull them back. That worked slickly.

Unloading 500 lb Barrel of Peanut Butter

Once the barrels were back hanging off the back of the van we tipped them into the bucket of the tractor and strapped them on using a chain to the bale hooks. I positioned the barrels in convient places by each of the winter pig areas. Since it is still so cold we’ll just store them in our gigantic outdoor refrigerator/freezer for the next couple of months while we use them up. In a Texas July this might be a bit of an issue. I’m not sure how peanut butter keeps in hot places like that. Around here we store it all summer just out on the counter since it never gets all that hot.

Fine print: Of course, any modifications you make to your equipment are your responsibility, things can go wrong, don’t get hooked on it, work safely and all that stuff. I don’t take responsibility for your actions, this is not engineering advice, merely my experience, etc, etc.

Notice how the doors of the van open flat against the van? There’s a little latch you can undo to make this happen. Very, very handy when loading or unloading a ton of peanut butter.

Below is a photo of our E-250 van with the peanut butter still in the back just after we got home. It is a good thing we have the extra springs but the van still does not appreciate having the weight too far back past the rear axle like that. The result is the front end is lifted up. It looks even more dramatic in person than I was able to capture in this photo.

Hot Rod Van

It looked worse when we left Ben & Jerry’s warehouse. Unfortunately because of the pig hauling space in the back of the van the pallet of barrels was not able to go further forward which put too much weight, 2,000 lbs of weight, all behind the rear axle. We actually lifted the front wheels of the ground at one point. Not good.

To fix that we moved 500 lbs of concrete blocks from the back to the front of the van up between Holly and I. We carry those blocks in the van because when unloaded it slips around. It is fine when we have the weight of a load of pigs alive or in boxes – about 500 to 1,500 lbs. Shifting the blocks forward lowered the nose so we wouldn’t lift off when driving down the highway of life, er, I-89. Holly also drove slowly, the minimum speed limit of 45 mph posted on the highway. I had pointed out to her that there was no need to go fast – we were in a race and you win if you get home in one piece.

We’ve carried greater weights, whole vans full of portland cement, bricks and cheese, but the load was better balanced in those cases. By the next time we pickup I’ll have rebuilt the pig area a bit so that we can slide barrels in farther putting their weight centered just in front of the rear axle.

I’ve read of peanut butter being fed to pigs. Kavi demonstrated he’s not allergic but he’s a dog. The question is, are pig’s allergic to peanut butter and specifically, are our pigs. So I picked two smaller finishers to be taste testers for the herd. The were both dubious about the new taste and played with the small globs I gave them. Then down the hatch they went. One of the pigs made the peanut butter face afterwards – you know, “Heh! It’s stuck to the roof of my mouth, how do I get it off!?!” Then they both wanted more. They were fine hours later so no anaphylactic shock or obvious allergie issues. Good to know. I’ve still got some reading to do before I settle on how to work this new source of protein and fat into their diet.

Ben & Hope with Ben & Jerry’s

Many thanks to Billie, Sharon, Lefty and everyone else at Ben & Jerries plant! This evening we enjoyed a treat of ice cream doing a taste test of three different kinds. The kids were very excited!

Outdoors: 24°F/4°F Sunny Skies
Farm House: 52°F/42°F
Tiny Cottage: 61°F/51°F