Hauling Hogs? Bring a Paddle
Loading hogs yesterday went better than I’d expected. I’d measured them the day before to get weight estimates. They’ve been handled and scratched enough that they don’t mind having a thin tape measure wrapped around them or across their backs. I marked the eight biggest ones with a paint stick so I could sort them quickly in the corral.
Once they were in the corral yesterday morning, the eight largest hogs were the first ones to enter the chute each time I opened the gate (self-selecting—they were probably the first ones to the feeder). In the loading area, two Berks hesitated to walk up the trailer ramp, but I still spent only five minutes coxing them in. When we arrived at Country Meat Cutters, they sat in the trailer, totally relaxed while I went inside to do paperwork. When I dropped the ramp, all but one followed me into their the holding pen. Calling them to me felt misleading, but it was also an important final step in my “good for the animal—good for the eater” philosophy. Good for the animals because they were humanely handled by a familiar face until the end. Good for the eater because their low stress should show in the meat quality.
Then I went canoeing. After an entire summer and an early fall full of rain and gray days, we’ve had a great stretch of relatively warm, sunny weather. I’ve spent all of those sunny days working outside, trying to catch up. For the past three falls, I’ve planned on doing some fall paddling but never seem to get to it. Since one of Wisconsin’s many Mud Lakes sits only a mile from Country Meat Cutters, I tacked on a little mid-day me-time to my hog hauling trip.
After swapping Carhartts for wool (dress to get wet—even though it’s unlikely), I pushed off from the bank and spent an hour slipping along Cottonwood-lined banks and reed islands, relishing the gentle glide and efficiency of a traditionally shaped paddle.
I went back to work an hour later, but the satisfaction of a good last trip for the hogs, topped off with a nice paddle, stayed with me for the rest of the day.
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Former Marine Infantry Officer. Iraq Vet. Interested in Regenerative Agriculture at any scale.
Odyssey Farm, LLC.
The Odyssey Farm Journal
Odyssey Farm, LLC
Dane County 2022 Climate Champion
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