Making Hay
Week of May 12th, 2002 | The weather was stormy all week.

Shredded paper bedding for the hogs.

Shredded paper bedding for the hogs.

Hello everyone! We had a stormy week. Winds, rain, hail, and even tornadoes in some places in the area!

Sunday, we went to Jolene's last vocal concert. This is called Coffee House. The decorations are still up from prom, tables are set with cookies and bars and refreshments, the seniors present a rose to their parents, and the senior vocal awards are also given out. It was a very special time for the graduating seniors in choir. The program included the high school Mixed Choir, Swing Choir, a song performed by the senior members, and solos by some of the seniors. It was really good. Jolene received Most Valuable Pianist Award, Musicianship Award, and a small trophy for Outstanding Achievement Award for Swing Choir. We were really proud of her. She also was one of the soloists.

Tuesday, I went to the eye doctor after school because my eye was bothering me. He found a piece of sand particle in my eye. This probably happened Saturday while planting trees. The eye doctor took it right out and I felt much better.

Wednesday, Dad went to a pork pool meeting in St. Ansgar, Iowa. The meeting was held there so the members could see the place and meet the people who make most of the feed for the organic hogs the pool members' produce. The owner of the mill gave a presentation about pig rations after the tour of the facilities. When he got home, Dad cut a large hole in a feed building, or a granary, so we can move more feed pallets in with the loader. We will put a door in place of the hole. Wednesday evening, we had a sudden hail and rainstorm. It hailed so much that the ground was white with balls of ice! After the storm passed, I went outside to look for any damage. The ditch and driveway were flooded with water from the inch rain we had in a very short time! No other damage, but I saw some clouds forming together. It was a tornado funnel cloud! We were lucky that the funnel didn't hit the ground. That was a scary evening.

Dad replanted 12 Norway spruce trees on Thursday. These trees are near the farm border and our pond. I watered them Thursday night after supper.

I came home after school Friday and saw Dad pulling in the yard with the truck and livestock trailer. The trailer was tight full of shredded paper from the hospital in New Hampton. They gave it to us. This was only half the pile of paper the hospital accumulates in a few months! That is A LOT of paper! We use this paper for hog bedding.

Dad also came home with a new tool for the shop! We have been wanting a new band saw that will be very helpful for building things. Well, Dad bought a new band saw! A band saw is a special saw that can cut diagonal, circles, corners, etc. It has a small blade that runs on a track between two pulleys. Some saw blades run up and down, but this one runs one direction. I started cutting scrap wood with the new band saw right away! It is nice! I look forward to learning about cutting wood with a band saw in high school in shop class! I bought it from Dad on Saturday because he wanted me to own it instead. Dad has enough tools in the shop anyway! I guess this is kind of my early birthday gift to myself!! (My birthday is in June).

It was a cold and rainy day Saturday. After I went to our monthly 4-H meeting in Alta Vista, Dad and I moved all of the sow huts out of the North-farrowing barn. Then, we cleaned it. Since we don't have a small tractor with a loader on it, we cleaned it with a shovel and pitchfork. It is a lot of work, but Dad and I discussed about building a small scraper on the lawnmower. The scraper could be used in the wintertime or when we are cleaning out the farrowing barns. This is just an idea. Saturday night, Mom, Dad, and I went to a friend's graduation party. We have more to go to the rest of the month. It's going to be a busy month with graduations and everything else, including trying to get the fieldwork done whenever it decides to quit raining and warm up outside.

Farm Fact: There are five freedoms of a hog. These five freedoms are hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain and injury, behavior, and fear. Our hogs live on self-feed and water systems every day. When they are in the pasture, we feed and check them every day. Hogs on our farm live in soft bedding or grass. This makes the hogs happy because they are comfortable. Hogs in farrowing crates are confined to a small area and sleep on a cold floor. This is very discomforting. Our hogs have plenty of room to live. They don't seem to fight with each other because they have lots of space. Sows in farrowing crates bite on the bars because they are so confined and are not happy. They cause injury to themselves. The cold cement floors also cause abrasions to their legs. Happy hogs behave better and are easier to handle and move, especially when it is time to sell them. Hogs that are confined indoors all the time and that are outdoors may behave very poorly when trying to move them. Since we treat our hogs with respect, they do not have fear toward us.

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