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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Rain, mud and fences

This summer was one of the driest summers in more than two decades.  The ponds at the top of our driveway were almost completely empty.  The farm ran out of water in July – thanks to my grandfather’s foresight we have a back up supply.  The lack of water made the ground pretty hard but we managed to install the piglet’s electric netting fence in the hard, dry ground using a little extra elbow grease and a heavy hammer.

Four weeks ago it started to rain again.  It has rained for two to five days out of each week for the past month.  Our ponds are full again and the ground water is slowly rising to where the farm has a nominal supply of water if we are careful.  While we are thankful to have the rain to replenish the water supply; it makes a pile of mud.  Livestock, especially our pigs and chickens, tend to stir up only the first two to six inches of dirt leaving hard packed earth underneath.  The recent rains have only penetrated the ground so far creating two to six inches of mud.  Pigs also love to root.  Where they have changed the layout of the topsoil, the water has tendency to settle instead of runoff where it traditionally had.

“Mom, I think there is a problem with the pig’s fence.  Cole is in the piglet’s hut.”

All the rain we have had lately and the resulting mud are grounding out our electric netting making it difficult to keep the pigs where they belong.  Changes in the grade of the ground in the pasture caused by pigs doing what pigs do has caused some water issues in their huts as well.

Instead of working on the site work for the new high tunnel this afternoon, my adventures will include going out in the pouring rain, separating piglets from boars and sows, and seeing if their fence can be repaired.  I will also continue working on the drainage around their huts.  This work is done by hand, with a shovel since working on the electrical system of the tractor in the rain probably isn’t the smartest idea.

Here’s hoping my new jacket and my washing machine can stand up to yet another afternoon of pouring rain and slick mud.

I think I will go vote first while I am still dry.

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