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November 16, 2012

That'll Do Pig

I'd say this pig is just about ready......


And if you want to get all arty you can interpret this picture as my shadow and the pig melding into one... the pig becomes me.... ha! Not really! Get in my belly, pig! I need me some bacon!

I'll have to check with my expert pig-weight-guesser but I suspect this pig is about 230-250lbs. So its about time. Normally we like to grow out pigs closer to 300lbs, and more like 320lbs, for the most glorious amount of bacon. But wow, we are getting crushed by feed prices this year.

You know I've been bellyaching about the drought and how its going to impact food prices overall...thanks in part to ridiculous regulations about how a certain percentage of the harvest will have to go to fuel. Well, friend, if you think that's all a lot of talk then buckle up and prepare for next spring.

To put it in context, normally feed prices drop about this time of year. They haven't. A couple years ago we could expect to pay less than $4 for a 50lbs bag of corn. Today's price is over $9. But that's nothing compared to my shock of when I picked up a bag of feed for the meat chickens... $16!! I nearly fell right over. I remember $8 for chick feed and $12 just doesn't seem that bad right now.

What all this means is that producers are paying a lot more for whatever food is the in pipeline and they will be looking to you as the consumer to pick up the tab.

Its already outrageous. Friend, to put it plainly... we don't understand how regular people make it. I was in the store trying to find a cheap package of meat a couple weeks ago. I needed special one time snacks for the dogs and figured I could find a $3 or $4 package of whatever. The cheapest I could find was not even a pound of "stir fry beef" that was $4.54...and that was a red tagged mark down from over $6!

To be sure I don't frequent the meat counter but wow! We are so glad we don't have to buy many groceries. I stood there wondering how all the regular people could even afford to buy anything. All we normally buy is catfood, chips, and beer. I couldn't imagine having to fill a cart of stuff we make ourselves.

And don't think you are going to get off easy by just not eating meat. What makes you think that fuel, seed, or fertilizer prices are any lower for the vegan options? No sir.  Think that fruity yogurt-like-substance is gonna still be a deal? Not when I'm seeing hay priced at $9 a bale when it should be $4.50 tops. Dairy prices will be hit hard too.

Any body see turkeys on sale for $4 this year? The best we've seen is $0.78/pound and they are doing their best to make it sound like a deal. I can't imagine what it will be like next year. As it is, this year I guarantee you we are having a pork roast for our turkey day, probably smoked like this.

So while we cringe every time we go to the feed store...and frankly we just resolve to do more fencing and have everyone do more free ranging... we can't imagine what grocery prices are going to be like when this expensively raised food hits the stores in the next couple of months.

We are taking action now by sending this little porker to the freezer on our next cold day. This will cut our feed bill and even tho we won't be getting the maximum amount of meat, we'll still do alright. And we will be thanking our lucky stars every time we walk thru the meat section and see all the regular people crying at the beef or pork case. At least we won't have a bacon shortage.

That's the way of it, friends. Today its all about getting the troops out and about to free range as long as we still have the good weather. I suspect we'll be moving the meat chickens into a different yard so they can meat around and free range their own supper. This business about $16 a bag of feed is for the birds!

Happy Friday everyone! Anyone else scheduling a butcher day?