The Cycle of Farm Life

Reader Contribution by Alethea Wilcox
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Here at the farm, we are busy setting up fencing for rotational grazing. We will be picking up a litter of pigs in a few weeks. My husband and I go through this every year. We only keep the pigs from spring to fall – ending at butcher time. We work together as a family and care for the pigs until it’s time for them to go.

Our daughter feeding Hammy.

It’s been interesting watching and working with the children through the whole process – pasture to table. They know the pigs are for food and end up in the freezer – our own and customers. I always remind them the purpose of our animals is for food … my children don’t know anything other than the cycle of farm life. Our three children like to name each individual pig … Hammy, Bacon, Oreo and Pork Chop are some of the names. Not only do the children name each pig, they also know which customer goes home with what pig. I don’t think this is strange … it seems to help them understand that food takes work. The bacon or pork chops didn’t just appear on their plate at supper time. 

Pigs in the pasture.

Through the summer we enjoy watching the pigs grow and change. Pigs are smart…they know their names, they run around and play with you…they love having their back scratched. A pig is basically like an oversized dog. Each pig has their own personality…we had one who thought it was funny to bury all her feed pans in the mud hole and wait for my husband to find them. Our piggy thought it was a game of sorts…truth be told, it was funny!

Playing in the pasture.

As fall approaches we arrange a time to take the pigs into the butcher. We review customers’ orders and go over the cut sheets. Eventually the day comes and we load the pigs up and drop them off. We ask the men unloading the pigs to give us a few minutes. As a family we say goodbye to each pig and say thank you. Our animals have had a happy life and were loved. We treated the pigs well and now they will take care of us. We always shed a few tears, but we understand the cycle of farm life and it will begin again in the spring.

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