We have problems here on the farm. And when it comes time to remedy those problems, our land ethic guides us in the direction of biological and low input mechanical solutions. You could call us hippies, Luddites or just old-timey curmudgeons, and you wouldn’t be too far off. So when spring rolled around and we saw our bumper crop of creeping buttercup and stinging nettle choking out all other life in most of our pastures, we decided it was time to act.
Enter the hogs. Chulo (note the teardrop tattoo), Ned (as in Ned Nederlander… as in the Three Amigos), and Oscar (as in Meyer), make up our trio of buttercup destroying swine. If you’ve never been around pigs, and we fell into this category a mere two weeks ago, you may not know that their raison d’être is to dig up every bit of life from the top 12 inches of soil that they can get their grubby little snouts beneath. And when every bit of life in your pasture consists of buttercup, this can be an advantageous situation.
Our plan is to allow them to till small areas until all the soil is turned, then move them to the next patch of weeds so we can plant the upturned earth with more valuable crops, either hay for the goats or food for us. Nevermind the fact that they are meanwhile transforming soil and roots and bugs into bacon, in what might be considered the universe’s most brilliant alchemy known to man.
They have been with us but a fortnight now, and these tiny piglets have already plowed under nearly 500 square feet of weeds. We can only imagine in five months, when they each weigh over 200 pounds, the beautiful destruction that they will inflict, these little bacon flavored rototillers of ours.