Something tiny, sweet, and new happened on our homestead last month! We added two orphaned piglets to our little menagerie! Welcome to our late summer garden zone 6B. Keep reading to hear the full story!
Late summer garden zone 6B
The late summer has brought many changes to the garden. High temperatures, pests, and drought conditions have wreaked havoc on the flowers and vegetables. I actually pulled our squash because the squash bugs were so bad. Did you know it’s important to burn any diseased vines? I’m optimistic that more aggressive prevention next spring will spare us from these invasive little shits next summer (yes, they make me THAT mad).
The herbs are ready to be harvested and dried. Hami melons are just beginning to creep and vine while the sunflowers and zinnias are attracting the bees and butterflies. Please excuse the photo dump, but I believe pictures are worth a thousand words when it comes to gardening!
new to our garden this year
Gardening is all about highs and lows. Loosing the zucchini and loofas was a bummer, but now I have a better strategy for next year. One cool thing that IS working well is our hops trellis! We ordered rhizomes from Yakima Valley Hops. The varieties we chose are Cascade, Chinook, and Cashmere. I also grew Thai basil and California Giant zinnias.
late summer tomatoes
While the zinnias and herbs grew abundantly, the tomatoes were more sluggish and behind. I had decent luck with the garden center hybrid varieties while my heirlooms that I started from seed struggled.
Baby Kune Kune piglets!
I experienced a MAJOR lapse in judgement last month and adopted two orphaned piglets. They were advertised on facebook as “sow killed nine babies, two surviving piglets need re-homed immediately.” We have wanted meat pigs for years, and this seemed like a really great deal… the kids and I could ‘mama’ them until they were old enough to live in the pasture.
The boys and I picked them up and I could immediately tell that I’d made a mistake. The piglets weighed just over a pound and still had their umbilical cords on their tummies. I was told I was receiving two healthy, castrated, pan-fed orphans. The babies were not pan fed, not castrated, not healthy.
Did you know most orphaned piglets don’t survive?
Um, no one told me! What I thought would be a bottle-calf like project turned into feeding every two hours while they tried repeatedly to seizure and die. It was an absolute nightmare and I cannot stress this enough: DO NOT ADOPT NEWBORN PIGLETS! The kids were so upset when the first piglet passed away within the first 48 hours. This is harsh, but sometimes nature knows best and we shouldn’t try so hard to change it.
In case you ever need to know, there is a facebook group called JUST MINI PIGS- UNDERAGE PIGLET HELP GROUP. This group was a lifesaver, literally. One of the admins helped me to keep the surviving piglet alive, but it was incredibly stressful and touch-and-go for the first two weeks. The piglet lived in our house under a heat lamp most of the first month.
We made it through seizures, diarrhea, sourcing local goats milk, and I even learned how to give piglet injections. The boys learned how to help me feed him and after a few weeks we settled into a routine. Once the diarrhea stopped, we would wake up each morning to an increasingly chubbier pig! Grabbing the pig now feels like holding an adult’s head: dense, hard, and heavy. He is a solid brick house at six weeks old!
We didn’t name the piglets initially because we didn’t want to get attached. After all, the plan was to eat them next fall! We thought about names like Bacon or Pork chop, but it is quickly becoming apparent that we aren’t going to eat the little guy. The new plan is to add a female and breed meat pigs that we don’t treat as pets… wish us luck!
Now you are all caught up!
That’s what’s been happening around here! Plus lots of baseball games, swimming, and tutoring. I hope you are enjoying these last few weeks of summer as much as we are!
more to love
The kitchen has been bustling with seasonal summer foods! If you need some easy meal inspiration, check out my Cast Iron Skillet Lasagna, perfect for garden fresh tomatoes! I also recommend treating yourself to some Better Than Boxed Brownies for dessert!
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