Farrowing House Live


Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Autumn is upon us at Hill Top Farm. We have several new additions, and some subtractions as well.

Calvary, our little bottle calf steer from last summer finished at a healthy 700+ lbs. He and "Buddy" (one of two low line steers) both went to the butcher's on September 26th. The night before, we went out to their corral one last time and said goodbye. We knew this day would come, but we are already missing Calvary. He was just like a big puppy.

Calvary: 2 mo

Calvary: enjoying sweet corn harvest

mmmm alfalfa:

 getting to be a big boy:

Our three cow/calf pairs were sold this summer. One full angus pair (Bonnie and her heifer calf; Maybelle) and two low line pairs Angus (bull calf) and his mom and Pinky Twist (heifer calf) and her mom. We lost the last calf we were expecting from our three covered low line moms. So the remaining low line steer and the calf-less low line heifer are being finished on corn for butcher sometime after the beginning of the year.

Andi with "Pinky Twist" (low line heifer calf):
"Angus" (low line bull calf)

The first of October, our new farm hand, Cody started working at Hill Top. He is easy to have around, a hard worker, and overall a great addition. He has taken up residence at the "Keeper's" house: the little guest house on our farm. We met him during hay season a year ago when Clint needed some hired help. He's involved in handling the hogs, putting up and fixing fence, painting, cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood, and all sorts of other jobs big and small. We really enjoy his company and he has a lot of varied experience to bring to the table. We're so glad to have him.


The pile of wood gets slowly small as people continue to respond the ads on craigslist or the sign by the road for split cords of firewood. The guys still have a long way to go.

After attempting Artificial Insemination (AI) with our three mature female pigs this summer, we produced five piglets on September 5th out of only one sow (Charlotte); two of which survived. Therefore, Clint was on a mission to find a boar for Hill Top Farm. He found a reputable hog farmer in Newton, IA. Then he and Cody drove out over two days and picked up one boar and three gilts. We have named the boar Boris, and he seems to enjoy his job at Hill Top Farm.

brand new piglets out of Charlotte


We also made a trip to Elizabeth, CO to buy a single Berkshire gilt. Andi named her Rosie, and she is the same age as our six gilts out of Dorothy. In the pictures below she is the one with darker black hair.

Rosie meeting the official Hill Top Welcome Committee:

Another project that has taken some significant work; self filling, no-energy waterers. The holes for these were dug ten feet down and are fed from underground with access to the water line. Then concrete pads around the holes. They will eliminate breaking ice when it freezes, and running hoses to barrels for water. There are two points of access on each for the pigs, so we can water four separate pens. They work perfectly! The guys have done a great job.

Shortly after Dorothy's piglets were weaned, she started having trouble with her feet and spent a lot of time walking and standing on her knees. So, when the time came for our barrow to go to butcher, Dorothy went with him. We have been enjoying our first ever pork raised only at Hill Top Farm. DELICIOUS!

freezer filled with pork and sweet corn:

The chickens' egg production goes down in winter, but we are currently getting from 14-20 eggs/day and we have customers enough for much more than that. So, be looking for additional chicken in the future.

The hay crop this year was record setting. With a wet spring and lots of warm days we had a LOT of hay. There are several neighbors with fields where Clint does custom hay also, so all the guys are really busy during hay season. 

He just did out 4th cutting of alfalfa/grass. We aren't expecting more than 100 bales, but it's really nice hay.

Plans have been made for a new pole shed. Clint, Craig, and Cody have worked at digging the footings and getting everything level this week. The holes have been inspected and we are moving forward. The lumbar should arrive this week, and the building will start to go up! We are SUPER excited to have a building for hay and equipment storage. Look for progress on this in my next post!

Site for the pole shed with footing holes:

We have some grass seed planted in the yard where there is bare ground, and we are hoping for just a few more days of warm enough weather to let that take root. As of today: October 21, we have yet to get snow. Last year, our first snow fall was 6' on October 4th. We've had wonderful cold fall mornings with warm days.

Just for fun, here's Sawyer with the dogs this week: Kep is especially proud of the dove he has, Sis was taking turns hauling it around. Enjoy!