In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Herding pigs

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Friday, May 7, 2010

Well last weekend we moved our pigs into their new area where they could get fresh grass and more shade from the surrounding trees.  We dug down into the ground where there was already a bit of a ledge to make them a cave-like shelter.  Using only a couple piers, 2x4s, and more of our salvaged metal roofing we attached a roof and called it good.  It was pretty awesome if you ask me.  It took the pigs some time to get used to it but you could tell they loved all the fresh, tall grass in their new enclosure.  We had been using the new electronetting that we got from Premier 1 Supplies that was originally intended to move the goats around our land.  It was looking like it was going to work pretty well, but we all get delusional at times, right?

The electronetting is not a good idea for pigs that can root into the ground.  Pretty much our boys would root away right next to the fence so much that it would get buried enough to short out the energizer.  So multiple times we found Boris or Freddy loose in the yard.  Luckily they never would go far and were easy to get back into their enclosure but it was starting to make me nervous.  We have neighbors and the last thing I want is for one of our animals to do damage to someone's property.

So last night was the last straw.  After eating dinner we went out to check on the goats and the chickens and saw Freddy down by our garden eating away at the clover.  I unplugged the energizer for the fence and we pulled up some of the stakes and corralled them back into their original pasture.  I'm wicked disappointed because we wanted them to tear up the land under those trees and get rid of the pricker bushes.  Also, we had wanted to plant some root vegetables in their old enclosure to feed the pigs later this summer.

We'll stop at Johnson Farm and Garden tonight to pick up some fiberglass posts, insulators, and more electrical fence tape to divide up their pasture so we can hopefully get something planted and growing out there soon.

I can only imagine how long Freddy had been out, though.  On our way back in from the barn we saw some hoofprints on our driveway and they certainly didn't belong to either of the goats!  So it looks like he had a nice little after-dinner stroll.


  1. Donna Mae Says:
  2. oh no, thats too bad but at least you can still use the fencing for the goats. I was wondering about that fencing once I saw them rooting around...darn piggies! :) Glad Freddie had a nice jaunt, he was probably looking for you to give him a scratch on his head!
    Speaking of which I have a photo.....

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. Sounds like our life! I stumbled across your blog, and it sounds like you guys are a lot like us, except we're in the Missouri Ozarks.
    We are also attempting electric fencing for our pigs - they're in a muddy pen right now, but we're trying to pasture them, but can't quite get our old electric fence charger to work right.
    Also, we've looked into Nigerian Dwarfs...how do you like them? Will woven wire (or welded wire) fencing work to keep them in, and how high does it need to be?
    Check out our blog - maybe we can swap learning experiences! :)

  5. Melissa Says:
  6. Hi! Thanks for the comment! It is quite an adventure isn't it? =D The ND goats are great. Really friendly and easy to handle. The welded/woven wire fence is what we use for them. It is 4' high- but the problem with this fencing is they like to rub against it which destroys the fence. So if you use it I'd put either one electric strand right around shoulder height so they can't scratch against it or else use some scrap boards to use as a rubbing rail. The wire will work on its own for about a year but after that you'll run into escaping goats! =D
    Will definitely stop over at your blog and check it out- LOVE swapping stories with like-minded individuals. =D