Are your children underemployed? Do you want to cut back on their screen time? Looking for a wholesome family activity?
You’ve come to the right place.
We’re initiating Operation Acorn, in which we recruit you and your children to help keep our pigs happy and well-fed. As they go into this, their final month (or maybe two) of life, we’re giving them as many acorns as they can eat. Not only does that constitute what I’d call a constructive use of a product that would ordinarily go either to waste or to squirrels (don’t worry, we’ll leave enough for them), it also happens to make pork taste good.
It’s not just a good use of waste and a high-quality feed, it makes the pigs very happy. They love acorns, and will climb over each other to get at them if we put them in the trough. But if we scatter them in straw in the pen, there’s an added benefit. The pigs get to root them out (their preferred mode of finding food) and the search keeps them occupied for quite a while – important, since three bored pigs could spell trouble.
Kevin and I have been collecting the acorns on our property for the past few weeks, and we’ve managed to get a few cups a day. Now, a few cups won’t go far with three pigs that are, together, eating a daily ration of almost fifteen pounds of feed, and we’ve been keeping our eyes open for a better acorn source than the red oaks that grow at our house.
As of yesterday morning, we hadn’t found it. But then Al and Christl came by. With a big box. Full of beautiful, big, white oak acorns.
Acorns from white oaks are large and smooth, and tend to fall off the tree without their caps (convenient, since even pigs don’t eat the caps). Find a loaded white oak, and you can collect pounds and pounds of them. Which is what Al and Christl had done. “We took mostly the green ones,” Al told us. “There are still thousands of the brown ones.”
And where, exactly, was the tree? Behind the Yarmouth post office. Christl drew us a map on the back of an envelope, and we went that afternoon. All told, we ended up with about forty pounds of acorns. Which is a lot, but we need more. Much more.
This is where you come in. Is there a giving tree in your yard? Or at the local park? Planning a hike this weekend? Bring a receptacle, gather some acorns, and then become a FOSTAD – Friend of Spot, Tiny, and Doc. Come on over (drop me a line at tamar AT starvingofftheland DOT com) and endear yourself to our pigs by giving them their afternoon snack, and we’ll put your picture in our FOSTAD gallery.
Could you ask for a more powerful incentive? No, I didn’t think so.