Farm Life

Clear Morning Moments


Several years ago, an elderberry bush began growing by the walkway to my front porch.

It sprouted under and around an established barberry bush. It did not belong there, but I was intrigued so I left it to grow. Sure enough, it bloomed and bore berries that were quickly consumed by the very birds which I suspect "sowed" it there in the first place.


I let it grow there for two years. That was a mistake. I fully intended to dig it up and transplant it back by the vegetable garden. It grew and flourished and I finally gave permission for it to be dug out because it really too large and overpowering for that location. My husband dug and dug. Eventually, it was gone. Or so we thought.


This year, it came back with a vengeance - bigger and better than ever. It is covered with more blooms than ever before. Assuming we can keep the birds away, I'm going to go ahead and harvest as many berries as I can and make them into juice, cordial, or wine.



At the end of the season, we will try, once again, to dig it out. Before we do, though, I am going to root some cuttings so I can plant a long, elderberry hedgerow alongside the vegetable garden. That spot will receive full sun that should make the plants bloom even better than the half-sun location by the front porch porch. Wherever they are planted, it is clear that elderberries are hardy and hard to kill. I like plants like that!


The National Gardening Association has this to say about growing elderberries:


The prize for growing elderberries is the fragrant, edible flowers and the delicious fruits. The dark purple berries contain vitamins A and B, and more vitamin C than oranges. They are also high in cancer-fighting antioxidants. In fact, elderberry fruits have historically been used to treat many ailments, such as respiratory problems, colds, and flus. Plus, they are tasty when used in juices, jellies, jams, teas, pies, and wine. You can use the umbrella-shaped, elderberry blossoms for making a delicious fritters or even champagne (see recipe in this issue). And if you don't want to eat the berries, the birds certainly will love them.


Will this determined shrub come back strong again next year in this same spot?


I'd put money on it.


With the arrival of the fluctuating, high/low temps of late spring and early summer, we start receiving frantic messages about sick hogs that are down, seemingly lifeless, heavily panting, and showing no interest in food. These are the classic signs of heat stress. Early summer and late fall seasons typically cause more problems for hogs than prolonged summer heatwaves as the hogs have no opportunity to adapt to increases in temperature.

Hogs easily become overheated because the few sweat glands they have are of no use in cooling their bodies. Like dogs, hogs cool themselves by panting. They also instinctively seek shade and a cool wallow when temperatures rise above 75 degrees.


Signs of Heat Stress

  • Reduced Appetite

  • Lethargy

  • Muscle trembling and/or weakness and staggering.

  • Increased Respiration Rate – Heavy, Rapid Panting

  • Body temperature above the normal 101-103֯ range.

How to Cool Down an Overheated Hog

If a pig is overheated,

  1. Get them into the shade.

  2. Cool their feet first by providing them with some water to walk in or by hosing their feet. 

  3. Their bodies can be sprinkled or sponged with tepid water. NOTE: It is not advisable to hose down a hot pig with cold water as this can cause shock. Spraying with a fine mist, however, is fine.

  4. Once their bodies are wet, a fan can provide evaporative cooling.

  5. Make sure they have water available. IMPORTANT: If a hog shows signs of heat stress or dehydration, offer water gradually, in small amounts. Never let an overheated or dehydrated hog gorge themselves on water.



How We Help Our Hogs Stay Cool and Healthy

There are several things we do for our hogs in order to help them stay cool and healthy during hot weather.

  • Provide shade.

  • Provide a wallow area and/or a shallow pool or trough and replenish it with cool water at least twice a day. This is key to keeping hogs cool in hot weather.

  • Keep plenty of cool, drinking water on hand to ensure that the hogs stay well hydrated. Hogs that avoid drinking hot water on warm days may become dehydrated. This can lead to a condition known as salt poisoning.

  • Feed in the early morning and/or late evening. We avoid feeding during the warmest part of the day.

American Guinea hogs are hardy and resilient. With just a little bit of effort, their caretakers can ensure they are kept comfortable and healthy when high temperatures arrive.








Today, as we put together the fall breeding groups, I was reminded of an important reason we choose AGH over other hog breeds - ease of management.


Two gilts needed ear tags. One because she lost her original tag and the other because I had not yet decided whether she would make the breeding line up. She definitely made the grade.


Now it is quite easy to scoop up a tiny piglet and apply an ear tag. There is, however, no "scooping" that can be done with a 130+ lb, yearling gilt. Turns out I need not have worried at all. Those two just stood there and let us tag them. No drama. No noise. What a relief. I could have kissed them.


Litters should arrive sometime in September/October. Here is our fall 2020 breeding line up:


CMG Beatrix Potter x Flint and Steel Sam Adams

CMG Judy Bloom x CMG Charles Dickens

CMG Inga Moore x CMG Charles Dickens (reserved for purchase after breeding)

CMG Laura Ingalls Wilder x CMG Charles Dickens (reserved for purchase after breeding)

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Call us today

Tori Rozanski, Owner

301-643-5284

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (M-F)

 

Located in

Hughesville, Maryland

Member

American Guinea Hog Association

American Livestock Conservancy

North American Shetland Sheep Association

American Dexter Cattle Association