Thursday, September 04, 2008

Harris on the Pig: A Partial Book Report

For the past couple of months I have been reading the book, "Harris on the Pig: Practical Hints for the Pig Farmer", by Joseph Harris. I have really enjoyed everything I have read, but the first eleven chapters or so didn't really lend themselves to the chapter reports that I have commonly done with other books. That is partially because they were really just historical perspective/informational chapters and partially because this book was originally published in 1883. Some (I'm not really sure who, but I'm sure they exist) would think that the age of this book disqualifies it as an important book to read for the beginning farmer, but I think the age of the book totally qualifies it and practically makes it a "must read".

One of the things I enjoy most about this book is the real opportunity to learn from the farmers who have come before us and succeeded. Much of the first eleven chapters deals with the historical aspects of where pigs came from, different breeds of the time, and what constituted a nicely formed pig at the time. Of course what consumers desire today is different that over a hundred years ago, but the basic principles still can apply ... and they probably should apply in many cases.

Also, I have really enjoyed reading about the various breeds of the time that Mr. Harris wrote the book and the origins of those breeds. Since he was a contemporary to many of the breeders building up some of the breeds we know today, or he at least was able to contact people that knew other people, he is able to provide an interesting perspective of what was popular and fashionable at the time. It is also really neat to read the words of a man who was very passionate about pigs and their breeding.

Event though the book may seem outdated and the writing style may be different than some are used to I think anyone interested in raising pigs, already raising pigs, or even with an interest in agricultural history should check out this book. Hopefully in the days to come I'll have time to highlight some of the other cool things from what I have read so far ... but, for now I'll just have to leave it at this short introduction.

I hope that I can soon update you on some building progress ... because we have so crazy and pretty cool stuff going on!

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