Food & Drink

Mating game: Will George and Olive consummate?

Dean Mullis
Dean Mullis JEFF SINER -- jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

We got two Tamworth female piglets, weighing about 40 pounds each, last July with the intention of breeding one or both of them to George our Ossabaw boar. We decided to keep only one to breed and process the other one since we are low on pork.

Pickle got to go on a road trip Monday morning. She went across the scales at exactly 400 pounds.

Our trailer is 16 feet long with a divider gate in the middle. We left Olive on the front of the trailer with the gate shut and opened up the back so George could get on the trailer and they could sniff and get to know each other but not be able to fight. Since George is an Ossabaw, he is short, squat and low to the ground, plus he is no spring chicken. We had to build him a platform out of two pallets so he could get up in the trailer.

George did not show much interest. I left Olive on the trailer with feed and water for a couple of days, but on Wednesday I could tell Olive was getting tired of that since she was rooting up the floorboards of the trailer and grunting in my direction. I opened the gate to let her off the trailer into George’s pen.

That sparked George. He jumped on the trailer, said hi, and started sniffing and rubbing up on Olive. She was not amused. She hopped off the trailer and George proceeded to chase her around his pen a few times.

I checked on them a few hours later and it was raining. They were both laying side by side in George’s hut sleeping.

Rain and crazy tomatoes

It has been such a wet winter and early spring, it seems odd to be glad for rain, but our potatoes, onions, beets, turnips and radishes enjoyed what fell.

Friday evening, I finished potting up 460-plus tomato seedlings into 3-inch pots. I overplant to make sure I have enough transplants and we sell or give away the rest.

The majority of our main crop tomatoes are red slicers. Champion II, Celebrity, Wisconsin 55, and Sioux, along with my current favorite heirloom, Cherokee Chocolate ( a stabilized variant of Cherokee Purple).

But check out these crazy tomatoes. I am growing the Indigo Blue Berries, Blue Beauty, Indigo Apple, and Berkeley Tie-Dye.

We will have some of all of these varieties available for sale in a week or two since we are only planting 250-300 tomato plants this year.

Dean Mullis writes from Laughing Owl Farm in Richfield; demullis@vnet.net.

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