Why do we Keep our Pigs in a Barn?

I get asked often why my Farmer chooses to raise our hogs inside climate, controlled hog barns.  There is plenty of people raising hogs who choose to keep their animals outside.  They say it’s better for the hogs.  While I choose not to debate how anyone wants to raise their livestock, I do educate people on why I raise our hogs in barns.

Last year, Indiana’s winter was one of the worst ones I can remember.  It started snowing in December and didn’t seem to quit until March.  One particular blizzard left our hog barn buried in snow. When I took this picture, there were already 9 inches of snow on the ground.

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During this storm, the actual temperature outside was miserable.

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The house was getting colder by the minute as our own power was out.

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And while the house would eventually get down to 50 degrees before the power came back on, the hog barns were warm.  They run on generators. So while we were literally freezing in the house, the barns were warm.  And the hogs in the barns were warm, out of the elements of the blowing snow and ice.

hog barn thermostat

Temperature controls are just one reason we keep our hogs in barns.  By having them in barns, as opposed to outside on pasture, we can keep them safe from predators like coyotes.  Keeping our sows  (the mom pigs) inside, means we can monitor them as they are giving birth and protect the baby pigs.  We can watch for any pigs that may be sick and give them extra attention.

Keeping our hogs inside warm barns means we can also monitor what they are eating.  Pigs are by nature curious animals.  They’ll eat anything put in front of them.  But feeding them the vitamins, minerals, corn we raise and additional soybean meal means we can assure they are getting proper nutrition.

As a 4th generation hog farmer, I remember raising hogs outside.  We used to keep some of our sows in outside lots.  And I recall the anguish on my Dads face when we would lose a sow due to terrible temperatures.  Or a sow would give birth in the outside lot, before we could get her moved inside to birth.  And then we would deal with the loss of the piglets, as the sow likely laid on them.

I’ll never tell any person who spends generations farming how they should farm.  Just telling you how we choose to farm and why we think it is best for our multi-generational farm.  And on days when the power is out in our house, the snow is howling and the temperatures are dropping, I may be inside freezing but our hogs are in nice warm barns.  It’s hard to convince me they should be outside instead.


The Perfect Wine for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving can be stressful.  Family, lots of food, and football can lead to a very long, noisy day.  If you are in charge of the Thanksgiving meal then you might wonder what is the perfect wine for your meal.

While my philosophy has always been to eat what you like and drink what you like, there are some really great pairings for a turkey or ham dinner.  For me, I prefer a rose’ with ham and turkey.  I recently bought this bottle of Domain Lafone Tavel 2013.  Wow!!  When I opened the bottle, I immediately smelled watermelon.  And the color is outstanding.  I paid about $17 for this bottle.  It won’t make it to Thanksgiving dinner.  Because I’ll have it gone before then!!

As a hog farmer, we normally eat ham for Thanksgiving.  So I normally look for a wine that will match a nice ham.  The spice and berry flavors this wine exhibits will be a great match for your ham.  But it is flavorful enough to pair with a citrus-brined turkey as well.

Here is the description from their website.

Grenache 60%, Cinsault 10%, Syrah 10%, Carigna 5% and with Clairette, Picpoul, Bourboulenc, Mourvèdre.
The LAFOND DOMAINE TAVEL is characterized by a lovely pure tender pink colour. The predominating aromas are complex: red and white fruit associated with floral notes. With time, these fruity aromas will evolve toward more mellow notes with a touch of spice and stone fruits, and the colour will take on amber tints. As of its first year, it disposes of all the necessary aromas to be appreciated, but it also has an exceptional ageing potential.



tavel wine

Even if you think you don’t like rose’ or that your guests will think it’s too girly, I encourage you to try a bottle.  Your guests will be pleased!


Wordless Wednesday: What Might Have Been

On what would have been your 41st birthday.  It still doesn’t seem real.  Happy Birthday Dear Jennie.  You were so greatly loved and are so greatly missed.

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Spaghetti Pie to Feed a Crew

Spaghetti Pie

Every planting and harvest season, I’m responsible for one night of feeding our field help.  That means I cook for 10 guys, 3 kids and my Grandma.  Grandma doesn’t help in the field but I do like to take her a meal so she can take a night off from cooking for herself.  And then […]

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A Grateful Pumpkin


I’ve always wondered what we should do with our pumpkins once Halloween is over.  We don’t usually carve them.  The kids haven’t been old enough to have free reign with sharp objects yet.  And I never process them to make pumpkin because The Farmer doesn’t like pumpkin and won’t eat desserts made from it. So […]

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Wine Review: When I Disagree with the Judges

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I like to see results of wine competitions.  It’s interesting to see what medals the judges award to wines.  And as someone who markets a pretty huge, major, really great wine competition, I find a lot of value in getting the wineries to enter their wines so they can win some awards! But there’s always […]

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How to Get a Wife – According to a 4 Year Old

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If you are a 4 year old boy, girls usually have cooties and are gross.  Unless you are my Little Man.  He thinks girls are awesome.  He has an extreme fondness for one little girl in his daycare. This little girl stopped by one day.  She has a sister the same as as my Monkey […]

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

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I love breakfast.  Biscuits and sausage gravy, grits, scrambled eggs with bacon and fried mush are a few of my favorites.  But none of those foods are helping shrink my waistline.  And I am making an effort to shrink some parts of me.  So I’ve been on a hunt for some quick and easy breakfast […]

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A Missed Preschool Fieldtrip. And Lots of Tears

Little Man

My Little Man has the best preschool teacher.  I know we all think our kids have the best, but honestly, his teacher is better than your kids teacher. Why?  Mrs. Walters has taught all three of my kids for preschool.  She is fun, laughs with them, teachers them better than I ever could, Godly, and […]

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Fitness Friday: Running in the Leaves


It’s been a month since my last run.  Ashamed to say that.  But time to get honest with myself. I got out to my trail this week.  And the run was worth it. My trail.  Full of leaves.  I could feel the stress melting off of me and the crunching of the leaves was so […]

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