Category Archives: Alternative Swine Production Unit

Today…I castrated a pig

That’s right. Today, I castrated a piglet all by myself. Not like a bucket list type of achievement but I think it’s a pretty big deal! I’ve come quite a long ways from pushing paper at a desk in the big city.

The new mama gilts had their piglets over at the swine unit late last week and over the weekend. We’ve been back and forth trying to catch them during the process. The babies are just adorable! Here’s some proof in case you had any doubt.


I mean, look at them! This litter just conked out as soon as their bellies got full. Some with the teat still in their mouths!

What an amazing experience. There certainly are ups and downs when it comes to working with livestock, but being around the animals and giving them the best life possible is what it’s all about.

It was a great day actually. This morning, we also attended a workshop about enhancing your land to provide habitats for wildlife and insects. It was fascinating. I even caught myself considering going back to school for entomology! Guess that’s a sign of a good workshop.

Here is Dr. Orr from NCSU showing us the early successional habitat we have at the organic research area on Cherry Research Farm.

And to top it all off, I made dinner with turnips and beets from the farm. SautĂ©ed turnip and beet greens and roasted turnip and beet roots. (Plus sweet potatoes from the farmers market here in Goldsboro.) Just ignore the beer battered frozen fish. I do what I can… 🙂




We like crawling around in the dirt

Mary Claire and I spent most of the day tackling those pesky in row weeds in our beets, turnips and carrots. It’s tough work but there is something satisfying about pulling out all that henbit and nut grass and really making the veggies shine.


We get most of the weeds with a stirrup hoe but we have to hand weed the ones tangled up with the vegetables. I’m looking forward to learning more about weed management for organic growers.

Also, our old blackberry bushes are blooming!

Unfortunately, they have issues with stem borers so we will be taking them out. But we already have replacements planted.

Also, I spent the morning at the swine unit. This is my first real introduction to raising pigs so its very exciting. Truly I am interested in having a very small herd, less than 10, but I do want to see how a larger operation is run. Even the CEFS operation of about 300 is small compared to most conventional farms. They invited me back to help during farrowing (when the pregnant sows give birth to piglets!) in a couple of weeks. Should be pretty interesting!