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KW-39 Chicken feed and winter veg
Have we finally farmed the filling of the pigs?
Today is a big day at the barracks. For one, the granddaughter is coming to visit for the first time. For the first time outside of her mother’s belly, that is. She was here before she hatched (twice!), but I don’t suppose she remembers that.
But also, today is the day when we find out if we are self sufficient in pig food.
(I dislike the internet bidding of “let that sink in”, but it might be appropriate here.)
The porcine pals arrived here in July 2020. Three and one fifth years ago. For the first few days, I fed them on nettles and grass clippings, both of which have remained firm favourites since then, but mostly, they have had a buckets of rather expensive horse food every 12 hours for the last one thousand, one hundred and seventy days.
The purpose of this newsletter is to try to give a glimpse behind the scenes of all that goes into the barracks, the work needed to be self sufficient, the performance art project of “is any of this possible? / what is collapse?”. The reason for there being a paid option is to allow you to contribute to the pig food. It’s that simple.
We never quite equalised the subscriptions = costs equation, but we got close. About two thirds.
And now, after all this time of breaking new ground, adding compost and charcoal and leaf mould and sand and brick dust and blood, sweat and tears; of growing, tending and harvesting pig food, we may have successfully grown enough for their bellies.
The hope was always that the garden shredder (the Häcksler) would be able to deal with sweetcorn, to chop it up sufficiently so that I can dry a few thousand sweetcorn plants, bag it up, and feed them all winter. They, the pigs, are perfectly happy to eat the cellulose-rich stems and the tough, but juicy leaves. The cobs and the corns themselves, though, are about their favourite food. I hoped that häcksling them complete would give a good chewy mash of something filling, nutritious and delicious.
Well, it worked an absolute treat (something worked as hoped for at the barracks!), and they got their first bucket full last night. They also got a bucket of regular food, just in case. It’s now 7am. I am going to go and feed them after sending this newsletter. Please hope with me that they ate it.
If they did, then we can move on to phase two in the Ginger Petting Zoo (in which the pirate rescues ginger farm animals) and your subs to this newsletter will be put towards the chickens.
Next year, the plan is to rescue 60 laying chickens. They are at the end of their laying life, and will be killed and turned into cheap nuggets. Or, they can come and live out their last months and years with the grass under their feet and the blue sky above them. Palliative care for elderly, abused chickens.
All contributions to the barracks newsletter are spent on rescue animals. Now and forever.
This week in the garden we will be taking care of the over-wintering vegetables. That is:
Sow mangold, onion sets and garlic.
Clear the potatoes and dig in preparation for winter wheat.
Clear up a bit, and top dress carrots, parsnips and leeks (all of which will stay in the ground until I want to eat them)
Try sowing some winter lettuce
Bring the bananas inside, and propagate
(Last week, I transplanted the spinach)
Also, this week, I am turning the internet off for winter. The newsletter will continue and asynchronous video messages to the usual messaging clients would be very welcome
Much piratey love
Your Pirate Ben
bought in a junk shop for 10 cents, but the image contains an affiliate link to Amazon!