Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top 3 reasons why we raise our pigs in barns

I've talked about it before but is one of those questions I get asked a lot as a pig farmer. So here are the top 3 reasons why we raise our pigs in barns.

1.  Climate control
By raising our pigs in barns, we are able to control their climate and most importantly the temperature of the barn. This is critical during the winter especially ones like we've had this year and last year in Indiana.  On Friday, our kids were on a 2 hour delay due to the temperatures and wind chills.  Thankfully our pigs were living it up in their 70 degree barns.  This 70 degree temperature is also important during the summer months when we approach 3 digit temperatures in Indiana.

2.  Protection from the elements
By raising our pigs in barns, we are able to protect them from the elements such as rain, sleet, ice, snow, and hail.  Just since Sunday, we've had about 7 inches of snow followed by some rain today.  Our pigs didn't have to get wet or cold once thanks to our barns.

3.  Protection from predators
Pigs are a prey species and are often preyed upon by coyotes which seem to be more and more prevalent in our area.  By raising our pigs in barns, we are able to keep them away from the predators.

Every day, every decision we make on our farm is about providing the best care possible to our pigs.  Our pigs are our top priority.  We truly feel blessed to be able to raise our pigs in barns as our families used to raise pigs outdoors and it wasn't always fun... especially this time of year.  My Papa passed away almost 25 years ago.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of how excited he would be to see us raising pigs in climate controlled barns.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Best Part of being a Farmer

I'm quite often asked "What is the best part of being a farmer?"  For me, this is a very easy question to answer.  You see to me it is all about my kids getting to see and work with their parents and grandparents each and every day.  Now I don't mean to imply that every day is easy, but with family by your side, it is always better.

This past weekend our family held an open house for our newly built pig barn for our neighbors and local officials.  I was so proud to see my kids so excited to talk about our family farm with all that attended.  Big Sissy even did the official welcome and introductions.  I may have had to nudge her to do it, but she wrote her own remarks.

Over the weekend, Little Sissy had a homework assignment where she had to write about who and how she could help someone.  The first thing that came to her mind was helping her dad on the farm. As a farmer, it really doesn't get much better than that.

And with the Super Bowl last night, Bubby reminded us that he didn't know if his NFL career would work with farming and that he might have to pass on the NFL.  We assured him that if the NFL called, we would be glad to manage the farm for him.

To me, there is nothing better that having our kids be so involved with the farm.  Their love of the farm is genuine and one that will hopefully continue to be passed down for generations to come.

This is the best part of being a farmer.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Is Pork a part of your New Year's Resolutions?

As a pig farmer, we eat a lot of pork around our house and I'm often asked many questions regarding pork.  One question I seem to get a lot is about the nutritional content of pork.  "Pork.  The Other White Meat." really did a lot to get people thinking about pork in their diets.

Although pork really isn't a white meat, a recent analysis by the United States Department of Agriculture found that pork tenderloin contains the same amount of fat and slightly less calories than the same serving of skinless chicken breast.

Thanks to Pork.  Be Inspired for the graphic

That to me is exciting news because pork can be an integral part of the New Year's resolutions that so many of us made.  And as a pig farmer having people eat pork is what it is all about.  So be sure to check out the pork section the next time you are at the grocery store and see how you can incorporate some yummy, nutritious pork into your meal plans.

P.S.  Pork tenderloin is the innermost part of the pork loin and pork chops come from the pork loin.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Dear Heather


Well last week's Farmer Fridays didn't happen quite as planned with the passing of my Gramma, but we survived the events of last week and as I said then, I find much comfort in the fact that she is no longer suffering.

That being said, almost every day I get asked some sort of question about our farm, our crops, our pigs, etc...  Many of those questions I have answered over the years with past Farmer Fridays so I thought I'd get them organized all in one spot for you as part of this "Dear Heather" post.  I hope this answers some of your questions, but if you still have some, I'd love for you to contact me or leave a comment and I will answer them in future Farmer Fridays.

So here's some of the past "Dear Heather" questions I've been asked and answered:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Gramma

This Thanksgiving is going to be a little different than in years past.  Earlier this week my Gramma was called home after a long battle with Alzheimer's.  On Saturday, we will say our final good byes for now, but I find much peace and comfort in knowing that she is no longer suffering and in remembering and sharing the life lessons and loves she taught and gave me.

My Gramma taught my mom to sew and bake and together they taught me.  Although the Alzheimer's prevented my Gramma from teaching the next generation, together my mom and I with the help of an amazing mother-in-law are teaching my kids to do both.

My Gramma introduced me to soap operas, the CBS soaps to be exact, as we would watch them together on sick and snow days when my parents had to go to work.  As she got older she was more protective of what she let my siblings watch, but I have fond memories of watching them with her and using many of the names for my dolls and such.

My Gramma also used to make me eggnog from scratch.  I can't seem to find a recipe just like hers and of course it was in head not written down so I don't make it from scratch myself, but I always buy a half gallon as soon as it is available in the grocery stores each year.  My kids don't seem to have the same love for it, but I can't drink a glass of it without thinking of her.

My Gramma could play the piano by ear.  Till this day, I can still hear her playing The Battle Hymn of the Republic like the best of them without a piece of music in front of her.  I can only wish that she had passed this talent down to me.

My Gramma was a competitive and fierce card player.  She had her poker club and I can still remember her playing Euchre with everyone at my high school graduation party.

My Gramma was very devout in her faith and thankfully passed this down to the generation after her.
My Gramma was an amazing lady that loved the Lord and her family more than anything else.  She was so talented and I can only hope that I can share a small part of what she taught me and my siblings with my children and future generations.

Until we meet again, Gramma.  I love you!



Friday, November 21, 2014

7 Reasons Farming is like childbirth


Well it's official, I just survived my 15th harvest as The Farmer's wife.  Normally we would have a small little celebration of sorts, but I think this year everyone is just looking for a good night's sleep as this has been one of the longest harvest seasons I can remember.  This got me thinking... farming really is a lot like childbirth and here are my top 7 reasons why.

1.  It can be short.

Whether we are talking about planting or harvest season, it is all dependent on Mother Nature so it can be a short season or defer to #2.

2.  It can be long, as in never ending like this year.

3.  It can be a false alarm.

 Just like some women experience early contractions only to be sent home from the hospital, planting and harvest can often have a false alarm thanks to Mother Nature.  You know where you get everything ready to go to the fields and then it rains and rains and rains for days.

4.  It can be painful.

As a farmer there is not much worse than a broken piece of equipment, tractor, or combine during the planting or harvest season.

5.  It might require medication.

There might be a few nights during a long and painful planting or harvest season that some adult beverages are needed after many hours in the tractor or combine.

6.  It is all about family.

One of the best parts of being a farmer is getting to share our love and life with our kids each day.

7.  You can't wait to share the news.

At 6:32pm tonight I got the text from The Farmer that Harvest 2014 was finally done and I couldn't wait to tell all of you.

You see farming is a lot like childbirth because in the end we don't remember the bad parts of planting or harvest season.  We just remember the good, our love for the land, and doing our small part to make sure our family and all of yours have food to eat.  Just like my experiences with labor and delivery with these 3 amazing children.

So here's to the end of Harvest 2014 and looking towards Planting 2015.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My baby's growing up...

So many words and thoughts have ran through my head with plans of writing a blog post the last several months, but finding the time or getting the words to flow when I have time in front of a computer has been harder said then done.  But leave it to my baby AKA Little Sissy to get me back to blogging.  You see today our little girl turned 5.

It is such a bittersweet moment with each child as they grow older, meet new milestones, and achieve new accomplishments.  But I must admit it is even just a little bit harder with the baby.

When Big Sissy was born over 11 years ago, we didn't even own a digital camera.  Flash forward to when Little Sissy was born, 5 years ago today and essentially her entire life has been documented by some form of social media...

From the announcement of her arrival on Facebook

to the sippy cup wars,

her first swim lesson,

her first day of preschool on Instagram,

and her assistance at Farm Girls Freeze.

It is all there which makes access to quick reminders of the memories a little bit easier.

So here's to Little Sissy turning 5 and my hopeful return to blogging to help document the memories!

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