Friday, May 31, 2013

pig blue butt + our current livestock watering system

In order to prevent infection on the newly castrated hogs, we got what the locals refer to as "blue lotion", and it is definitely blue, almost purple actually. Its actual description is, "a topical stain to be applied to the hides of animals to provide an identifying mark." But apparently, it's the go-to standard for locals to use on freshly open wounds on livestock . Its contents include: crystal violet, tannic acid, benzyl alcohol, glycerine and isopropyl alcohol. I don't know, but the pigs seem to be faring just fine and are very much back to their rambunctious selves so it must be working whatever it is.

On Sunday, we drove to Saltville, Virginia to pick up two 330 gallon IBC totes to use as water holding tanks for the cows, pigs and chickens. They were originally listed on Craig for $75 per tank, so then Jay offered the lady $125 for both over the phone, and then she counter offered with $50 a piece. We weren't really sure what to make of that math, but we took her up on it. They were lovely people with a beautiful homestead deep in some lush green hills a couple hours away from us. Both tanks fit perfectly in 5-Spot, our little 5'x8' utility trailer.

The tanks' previous contents were salt for a potato chip factory in one and a food defoamer in the other. Interestingly enough, I emailed the company labeled on the latter tank on Monday morning (Memorial Day) asking what the tank's original contents were (the previous owners didn't know, and the film on the inside resembled corn starch), thinking they might get back to within a week or so. My hopes were not high that I would really get any response at all. A few hours later, one of their employees emailed me back with a precise description of what the tank was originally used for. He wrote:

"If that is the label on that tote, that material is a Food Grade, Kosher Certified, processing defoamer complying with F&DA CFR 21 173.340. Specific to Food Processing, secondary direct contact defoamer.

I see no reason dis-allowing you to utilize the tote as a water holding vessel for your stated application.

I suggest you rinse the tote, clean it with a mild soap surfactant and rinse, again.

I hope this satisfies your questions? The processing chemical, defoamer PC 9740 is essentially vegetable based oils and suspended silica."

In short, what a nice guy! If I ever need a food defoamer for whatever reason, I'm calling Process Chemical, Inc.

So, what we have going on here in the above pictures is the two tanks at the top of the pasture, a 2.4 hp gas-powered pump halfway down to the spring at the barn entrance (we tried using a 1/3 hp electric pump and had painful results pumping uphill), and hoses going to and from the pump between the tanks and the spring down by the chestnut tree. This same spring fills my BiL's holding tank to his cabin but is overflowing as long as we've been here (ten months now), so we figure that it should provide plenty of water for the livestock year-round. We figure that the two tanks should keep the livestock in plenty of water for at least two weeks once completely filled, so if we go through a dry spell, we will hopefully have plenty of drinking water for them without having to lug buckets from our own spring.


  1. I keep hoping to see a post. I hope you and yours are well and good.

  2. Just stopping by, hope you guys are having a good summer. I miss your posts, and hope you'll have back at it again when you're ready.

  3. Thanks, Dave! I hope to get back on track again soon, too. :)

  4. Where are you guys? Love reading your blog and it looks like y'all have been out of the loop for a while. Hope you get back on track soon!

  5. Hey - I miss reading your blog and hope you get back to posting really soon! My partner and I live vicariously through you!!

  6. I really wish you would start blogging again. :( You're totally doing what we are in the process of figuring out how the hell to do.

  7. I wish you would start blogging again!! You are doing what we are trying to figure out how the hell to do.