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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Saturday August 18: Berries!

Monday, we weeded our strawberry patch and harvested “runners” (the tiny plants which mature strawberry plants produce). A mature strawberry plant sends out a long, thin tendril on the end of which grows a new plant, an exact clone of the first.
The young plant can be separated from its parent and planted elsewhere. It will (hopefully) grow into another strawberry plant! We gathered about half a bushel of runners from the edges of our patch, leaving the runners in the center to grow on their own and thicken the patch.
The harvested runners are being stored wrapped in a damp towel and in the fridge.
That day we also maintained our raspberry plants.  Cutting off the old brown stems (called canes) at the base and “tipping” (cutting off the top ½ inch or so) the new young canes so they will put more energy into producing berries and less into growing taller.  We weeded as we went and as usual gave the fresh weeds to the pigs (I never thought pigs ate much salad but apparently they do)!
We are down to 6 pigs from 18 when I first got here!  This number is not including Ballsie, the sows and their piglets.  Now that there are so few pigs in the herd each pig's individual personality is much more visible.  The largest is also the most aggressive, obviously the “boss pig,” but also the most cautious and wary of people.  The two smallest, whom I think of as “The Twins,” have always been the best foragers, first to attack a pile of weeds and last to stop eating.  Where the others run away when a new pile of weeds are thrown in to them The Twins don’t move, even if the pile lands on top of them, they just keep eating!  In general pigs shy away from people and don’t like being touched but there is one who seems to enjoy a scratch between the ears now and then.  If you haven’t been around in a while she will actually come looking for attention!
No matter how hard the day, no matter the weather, no matter how hard we’ve worked, no matter how tired I am, the pigs never fail to make me smile!

One of our geese has taken ill (from a description in a book we suspect botulism).  He (or she) is almost completely paralyzed.  We have separated him from the rest of the flock and are feeding him on egg yoke and water from a syringe, just a little dribbled in the beak every few hours but the outlook is not good.  Botulism is often fatal.

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