Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dirt Hog :: Chapter 2 Book Report

Wow, it has been a long time since I have done a chapter book report on the blog. It isn't that I haven't been reading lately, rather it is just that I have been reading books that I didn't feel the urge to report on after each chapter. But, now I have picked up "Dirt Hog" by Kelly Klober again and I wanted to share some thoughts after each chapter. You might think it weird that I'm starting out with chapter two, but in reality I already did a report for chapter one ... way back on May 14, 2008! You can take the link to check out my thoughts from way back when.

Chapter two is a looooong (70 pages or so) chapter titled, "Housing and Fencing", and probably should be broken down into a couple of reports because there is a lot to think about in this book. One thing that I am finding is that even though I know that I won't be employing every concept this book is making me excited about pigs ... plus, there is the fact that we just took five to the locker so they are on the brain.

The very beginning of this chapter actually doesn't start out with the nuts of bolts of housing and fencing, but rather a short discussion of getting started. One sentence really piqued my interest ... "I am a firm believer in doing all your early farming on paper." I totally get what Mr. Klober is saying here because he goes on to talk about six things that you really need to look at, but one thing that I am continuing to learn is that at sometime you just need to jump.

For quite awhile I farmed on paper. I read books, I talked with people, I did research, and I wrote stuff down. I learned a lot! I studied a lot! And, when the rubber met (and is still meeting) the road I found that there is so much that you can only learn by doing. So, there are my thoughts on that...

Much of the next portion of the chapter deals with farm layout in relation to range hogs. I believe many of the set-ups that this book is talking about are more permanent than I'm going to focus on, but there is a lot of good information on fencing, watering, and feeding. Also, there is a good bit of information on electric fencing.

So, there you go. We'll call that part one of my chapter two book report...

5 comments:

Rich said...

I agree with you when you say that there is so much that you can only learn by doing.

I have been thinking about raising some pigs for a while and have been going through a similar process of reading, thinking, and 'farming on paper'.

I hope you plan on detailing what you have learned 'by doing'. What was the most unexpected problem you encountered?

Mike said...

Interesting thoughts ... I wonder, what expectations did you have after farming on paper that turned out differently once you started learning by doing?

I remember hearing that when the space shuttle was first being engineered, it was expected that the heat shield tiles would be easy to figure out, while designing the shuttle computers was expected to be a nasty process. In practice, the complete opposite turned out to be true. So, to use that analogy, what are your "tiles and computers"?

Steven said...

Can you tell us some of what he said about fencing.

Jena said...

Since you mentioned permanent structures I am wondering if this is a book I should ready right away. Right now I want to focus on our sheep, beef, and expand into pastured poultry. Pigs were something I had in mind for a few years down the line.

Do you think I should read this book now before we add more permanent structures/fencing to our farm? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Ethan Book said...

Rich and Mike - You bring up a couple good questions. Since our first five have gone down the road I think I will take a post this week to answer those things and throw out something for discussion.

Steven - Yeah, I'll get to that ... he had some good things to say about electric fencing (nothing earth shattering, but good). The one thing that bugged me was how much steel has gone up in the short while since this book was written. He talked about getting hog panels for $2 to $5 at auctions ... not anymore!

Jena - I do think this would be a good book to check out, but I think something key to think about is that many of the structures that are used with "range hogs" are portable. But, it is always good to keep future layouts in mind when you are planning. Another book that I have only scanned, but which is often recommended by Walter of Sugar Mountain is "Small-Scale Pig Raising" by Dirk Van Loon. I'm not sure what it says about structures though.

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