We cleared some land this weekend, opening up a large area under an old, probably coppiced oak that was dying. We cleared out the underbrush of pines, black cherry, small oaks and briars, and cleaned up some old trash that had accumulated over the years. Were not sure what we’d like to do with this spot, maybe some combination of extending the garden, terracing the bottom slope, and adding some nice fruit trees and shrubs to stabilize the upper slope while provided a nice treat to enjoy while savoring the view from the oak stump seats.
Whatever we decide to do, the area needs some work first. There is a patch of poison oak nearby, and I don’t know if opening up the area will discourage or encourage its growth. Also, by removing the big oak and letting in all that sun, I’m sure we will see some interesting things popping up this spring/summer. Most likely, if left to it’s devices, this area would success to blackberry, pine, and Bradford Pear seedlings like the big field across Bridey’s Run. By planting productive species early, we should be able to stay 1 step ahead of this pioneer stage, and not have to deal with a tangled up thorny mess.
This brings us back to pigs. Pot bellied pigs to be exact. These little rooters could be a huge asset to the farm by rooting out undesirable species, clearing brush, and adding copious amounts of fertile manure to the land. I can envision sitting a Joel Salatinstyle pig tractor, similar to a chicken tractor, right over our patches of poison oak and ivy and letting them go to town. Then, after a week or so, we can plant fast growing shrubs and trees, or lay down mulch and transplant tomatoes into the freshly prepared soil.
So that’s what I’m thinking right now. About getting a few pot bellied pigs to raise as breeding stock, and eventually bacon, in a movable pasture/woods based forage system. A pig tractor. Details to come on its design, size, and construction.