Formerly,Bar None Ranch, of Berlin, NY, we are now Climbing Tree Farm, of New Lebanon. We raise PASTURED POULTRY, LAMB, GRASS-FED BEEF, and WOODLAND/PASTURE-RAISED, MILK-FED PORK. We keep our animals true to their instincts- letting our pigs dig, our chickens range, our sheep graze. We feed rotationally graze on pasture and silvo-pasture (in the woods). We work with a local dairy to feed our pigs Jersey milk. We are conscientious stewards of the land, and our animals.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fertilized Oak

Guess which acorn grew on a tree that was fertilized by pig manure last year?

The giant acorn fell from a tiny Red Oak tree in a spot that the pigs grazed in last year.
The average sized acorn fell from a mature Red Oak that was not fertilized.

Never doubt the power of poo (and animal impact)!

P.S. - This is not an isolated incident- all of the Oaks that the pigs foraged around
 last year gave abnormally large acorns.

Monday, October 6, 2014

It's Nut Season!

Hickory nuts

This is a fabulous nut year. Have you noticed? We've been slipping on them there are so many! This is great news for the pigs, who LOVE to eat nuts. Have you tried acorns or other fresh nuts? Yuck- they must be an acquired taste! The pigs effortlessly crack through the tough shells, and gorge on the bitter meats of hickory, acorns, walnuts, butternuts, and beech nuts. At this time of year they turn their noses up at grain, and focus their attention on vacuuming nuts off the ground. A nut-rich diet helps to give our pigs their unique flavor and fine marbling.

Milk-fed Piglets

Well, hello there!

This year we began farrowing our own piglets in earnest.
 Last year we dabbled, this year we've jumped in.
 From here on out our herd will likely remain "closed."
This will help us to preserve our favorite genetics,
 and to reduce the chance of bringing illness
 in from another farm via piglets.
Piglets are one of the very best parts of our job!

We interfere with sows and their babies as little as possible-
 believing that bonding is important and that the mama pigs
 know how to raise their babies better than we could do it ourselves.
Unfortunately, our hands off approach means that we don't
 get to snuggle the piglets as much as we would like.
(It's really hard to keep our hands off the little guys!)

Piglets are usually shy, and skittish, which is why we don't have many
pictures of them.

This litter is unusually friendly-
 I took advantage and spent some time with them today,
 soaking up some cuteness.


Never too young to forage.

Those dangly things are "wattles-" which are found only in Red Wattle hogs.
Red Wattle is a rare, heritage breed with a mysterious origin-
more on Wattles another time.
Margaret (lying down)- nursing her sister's (standing) babies.
Margaret and her sister were separated for a couple of months because
their babies were born at different times. They were reunited yesterday
and Margaret very quickly installed herself as wet nurse.
Her own piglets are big, and strong,
 and are nearby playing with the big kid piglets.