Tales from the Animal Whisperer: Barn Swallows & Pigs

This has been a busy week on the new farm. We’ve been here three weeks now. I’ve frozen some sweet corn from the farmer’s market, canned some tomatoes, and made some salsa. I hate that they’re not from my own harvest, but I love helping out my local farmers with my purchases. We’ve also been working on the inside of the house, ripping out the master bedroom carpet and painting, and building shelves in the pantry. We have quite a few projects going. We’re also weed-wacking the crap out of the property, trying to see what we actually have here. The chicken coop seems to be staying far too wet in the recent heavy rains, so we’re considering moving it to the other side of the barn, but right now, that side is waist-high weeds covering tons of trash. If we can get the weeds wacked, we can maybe avoid any snakes/critters/bugs while we try to figure it out.


When we moved in three weeks ago, I noticed a bird’s nest in the corner of the front porch. I mentioned to my farmer-husband that it looked like the bird nest was built on top of a wasp nest, as it looked like mud. Well, this week, I noticed a momma bird repeated flying onto the front porch to the nest and saw quite a few baby mouths open up each time she appeared. I watched for a while and counted five babies. Poor momma. When I saw her fly off, she had a long, forked tail and I thought she looked like a fighter jet, and I realized she’s a barn swallow. They are known for building nests using mud, which explains the part of the nest that looked like a wasp nest.

Barn swallows winter in Central and South America, so these little babies have some growing to do before migration begins in September. About half of barn swallows return to the same nest for years, so I guess I should leave it up after they’re gone. I’m going to have to convince farmer-husband to do that. He’s already counting the days to get rid of it.



I nicknamed him Hammy. He’s a three-hundred-plus pound Yorkshire. I’m not bringing him home. I bought him from someone who will take him to be processed for me, so I don’t have to do anything but pick up the packaged pork.

I did this for a couple reasons. We are considering raising pigs on our farm, but we don’t know how much we’ll actually use. So, do we get two pigs every year? Every other year? Sell one? Keep both? Will it take us one year or three years to get through that much pork? I know the bacon will go fast, but what about the rest? So, we figured we buy our first pig for the freezer before buying any live pigs for the farm.


Even though I’m not raising Hammy myself, I did go out to see him and got to chat with the seller about her process. She been raising pigs for three years and makes it look so easy. Hers are pasture raised and get pig feed, corn, and clabbered milk from her cow. When she poured the milk into the trough, they almost laid down in it and just slurped for five minutes. They we’re so happy! It’s a sloppy process, but they obviously love it.

We really enjoyed our visit and if we don’t get our own pigs to raise, we’ll definitely purchase pork from her again.

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