Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sick as a dog; sorry about no post for a few days.

I'm fine, just laying around sleeping trying to get over it.  I'll be posting later this week.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Andreas pig ride

I purchased my big pig feeder from a fellow who raised ostriches and went broke trying to do that. 

It was a pig feeder, but to feed the ostriches he took the doors that protected the feed from rain and mud.  It still works fine, but every now and then the feed gets wet and cakes up, preventing new feed from flowing down to where the pigs can get at it. 

So the way that you fix it is to go to the bottom of the feeder and use a garden trowel to scoop out the wet feed and then reach up into the feeder to clear as much as you can from the bottom.  Sometimes that's all you need to do, but other times you open up the top lid and use a digging bar to poke a hole through the solidified feed and open it up so that the new feed can flow. 

So I'm on top of the feeder with the bar and Andrea is down below.  Behind Andrea a pig walks up and pauses to look at her -- and then another pig nips at its rear. 

Suddenly andrea is on a pig ride!  It shoots straight between her legs, she sits down on its back with a startled HEY! and we're off to the races!

Now I start to laugh when I see this happen, but after the rodeo rider goes about 20 feet I see that the pig is heading for the deep mud.  Now andrea's yelling "hey!  whoa!  help!" as the pig conveys her off towards the mud pit -- and when the pig makes a sharp turn, sure enough, straight into the mud she goes. 

The picture doesn't show the full extent of sun protection that Andrea had today, or the smell of the pig mud, but you can imagine she was thrilled to have me taking pictures. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Legal stuff: Wetlands and perverse incentives

Right now I'm in the midst of discussions with Ecology about the wood chip case.  They've filed a motion for partial summary judgement, seeking to narrow the issues in the case,  and simultaneous to that I've been in talks with them about settling the land matter.   Yea, farming at its best. 

So I'm sitting there today in this conference room and Ecology makes their point that they're interested in the states water quality, and I make my point that if you take enough land away from a farm that pretty soon the entire farm becomes economically impossible, and we're going back and forth with various issues. 

During this discussion one of the participants in this discussion points out that I've got a relationship with a law firm, and that I might have used them to give me some legal advice on my land prior to purchase, and I looked at this fellow, and it took a while to figure out what I was thinking, so here it is: 

There is no place I can go, as someone interested in buying land, and ask the question "Is this farmland", and in fact, there's no surety at all that I won't be charged with this or many other laws that they've got on the books.  There is literally no provision for farming in the law that they're using here -- even planting seeds could be charged as a violation.   

I can ask for a legal opinion from an attorney, and I can check the zoning, and the land use rules and regulations, and I can look at the practices of the land owners on either side of me, and in fact I did all that. 

What I think they're saying is that I should have consulted with someone else, and that this particular fight was started by me for farming.  That if I had just asked the right question that I should have known all this regulatory crap would happen. 

This is roughly equivalent to walking up to a police officer and asking politely if there's anything that you've done that they might give you a ticket for.  "Officer, let me describe several incidents that I've got questions about, and you can tell me whether they're things you might cite me for".

Who in their right mind would do that? 

So here's the perverse incentive thing.  The basic thrust of the Ecology complaint about my farm is that the land wasn't in "continuous agricultural production", that woody shrubs growing on it is prima facia evidence of that, and because of that it's now a wetland forever more. 

So what I'm going to predict, is that when this becomes widely known, that woody shrubs are bad, that there's going to be a race to the tractors and you're going to see more mowing and weeding and herbicide application (crossbow, anyone?) than you've seen in years in Snohomish county.

A situation where you can lose 75% or more of the value of your farmland is a HUGE incentive to remove all possible causes of regulatory action.  In essense this sort of enforcement action will result in the clearing of thousands of acres of land in the next couple of years. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Odd sheep behavior

This sheep is acting strangely.  The first thing that I noticed is that she wasn't with the flock when I counted them this morning.  She's chosen to get into the hay feeding shack that I've got, and doesn't seem to want to move from it.  I'm pretty sure she's pregnant, and maybe she wants to lamb there.  It's actually a pretty good location.  Dry, sheltered, bedded.  So I'll leave her there tonight and see what happens tommorow morning. 

She is alert, oriented, seems in good shape; backbone not sticking out.  Just doesn't want to move. 

This is the rear view of the other sheep I believe will lamb pretty soon.  She's got a clear mucus that drips from her vagina, and I wonder if that means she'll be lambing soon.  As with the other sheep, I'll wait and see.  this sheep is still with the flock. 

I'm relatively new to sheep.  I don't write about them much because, well, they don't take up much time.  I count them every day, and look at their condition to make sure they're getting enough.  I cheat a bit from the pure-grassfed by putting some all-stock feed out now and then, but they're primarily grass fed; I'd guess 90% of their diet is grass, or hay that I put up in the summer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Farms and Vets and economics and reality

The brutal truth of farms is that in order to stay in business, you have to make a profit.  And to make a profit, you have to make hard choices.  One of those choices is whether or not you call the veterinary when something goes wrong. 

Calling the vet has two issues; one, is the treatment likely to result in a good result, and is it cost-effective to do the treatment at all. 

The black and white piglet in the forground has a rectal prolapse.  Part of the rectum is protruding outside the body, and it appears a little swollen and red.   So here's the brutal farm math:   Piglet in good condition, retails for $90, costs probably $45 to produce.  Veterinary visit to the farm is $190.  Office visit is $90. 

Several sources on the internet all agree that this may spontaneously go away -- no treatment -- or that it may become inflamed and eventually scar tissue forms and blocks the anus, or infection sets in.  Several different treatments are mentioned; manually replacing it and then purse-suturing the opening loosely, to prevent the tissue from re-emerging.  In cases where it's inflamed or necrotic (dead tissue) amputation is indicated. 

This is where farming diverges from having pets.  There's just no way you can make a profit on this little fellow if you treat him with a vet.  To keep the other pigs from biting on the exposed flesh you isolate the little pig and hope that it reverts. 

I've called a friend of mine who works for a local university assisting in animal surgery to see if she can reccomend a local anasthetic that I can buy.   Prolapses happen both with the anus and with the vagina, and I'm willing to try a surgical solution to this little pigs problem in the interest of being able to treat sows with prolapsed vaginas in the future.   I'll be practicing a purse suture tonight. 

But what I'd like you, the reader, to understand the next time you hear about a farmer killing a small animal, is that it's not unusual, or cruel, or even something that the farmer wants to do.  It just needs to be done.  As swiftly and kindly as possible. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Interactions with sheep and cows and pigs

The orphan piglet has chosen two larger feeder pigs as her friends.  She follows them around as they forage; here, they're investigating the sheeps feeding trough.  The sheep are disgruntled; observing the pigs from a safe distance. 

She recognizes me and would like to come over, but feels comforted by the presence of the larger pigs, and so sticks pretty close.

  But when the larger pigs come over to me to say hello, she's right there for an ear scratch or a belly rub. 

And so is the cow.  This steer weighs around 500lbs and i'm having to keep him from affectionally nudging me.  He's not really aware he has horns. 

he's curious whats in my hands, and manages to use his big tongue to lick my hand, wrist, and camera.  Satisfied, he wanders off. 

Here the little pig is torn.  She'd like to come over and socialize, but the bigger pigs aren't, and she's clearly part of their herd now. 

And so she goes back to them and has made the transition completely now.  You can click on this photo for a larger version. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Destroy farmland to save the environment

Dean Smith, a regular contributor to his own blog and commentor on mine made several points as a comment on my nanny state post.  
" Bruce, I don't know about the rest of Western Washington, but Snohomish County has gone way overboard in the "protection" of wetlands. Salmon and Orca "protection" has been very expensive and has not been scientifically demonstrated to be very effective...."

I agree with Deans' point here.   The current plan to "restore salmon" is to destroy farmland.  Either by actively flooding it or by passively confiscating it - which i'll write about next week.

John Koster, a Snohomish county county councilman, wrote about this in an editorial on February 18th, 2007, and I quote: 

"...A particularly disturbing trend in our land use policy, however, is the seemingly unstoppable destruction of thousands of acres of valuable farmlands via "wetland conversions." The conversions are being done in the name of conservation for salmon or wildlife habitat, wetland banking and/or other environmental programs unrelated to farming. Projects are planned and carried out by government agencies with your tax dollars via federal, state and local grants, and it's happening under the public radar..."

The solution to any concern about our environment is to destroy farmland.  
Let me say that again, because it's important: 
The destruction of farmland is an important policy for our government.  
This destruction of farmland and its associated regulations are pushing food production farther and farther from our population in western washington.  This doesn't change the type of food produced, or, really, the impact of production, it just moves it out of the way, out of sight, out of mind.

  Similar in the way that Seattle, oh-so-green Seattle, ships all its garbage down to an Oregon landfill hundreds of miles and thousands of gallons of diesel away

Moving it out of sight doesn't make it any cleaner or better in a global sense.  We all eat.  We all drink.  We all deserve a clean environment.  It's time that the chickens came home to roost and we came to grips with the need to allow all sorts of activities without the destruction of any.  There are wetlands that should be preserved.  There are farms that should be, too. 

Back to Dean Smiths comment: 

"...I, for one, would like to see the county give food production, especially in close-in areas like Ebey Island, a lot more emphasis. Food production should be the priority over development, growth and most wetlands protection. We need to take as seriously as the Dutch the need to protect food production (not just houses and factories) with dikes. The county should be supporting you, not fighting you. As an active member of Transition Everett, I intend to argue that to county officials..."

The department of fish and game spent $6 million dollars to buy 800 acres next to my farm, and is now studying breaching the dike and flooding those acres to make more salmon habitat (the study will cost millions, and the breaching of the dike will cost many tens of millions).  Let's look at what just 50 acres does a little south of Seattle.  The Carpinito brothers farm grows great produce and has a thriving farmstand on their property.   That 800 acres that Fisthey are going to destroy (and don't think that their study won't conclude that the destruction of this land is the best use of it) is prime, commercial farmland that was first farmed in the 1920s. 

How much farmland must be destroyed before we realize that it's the population growth and attendant pressures that's causing the impacts.  Farmland doesn't vote, and a farmer is only one vote.  I'd like to see them propose tearing down a shopping mall to make a wetland, or a housing subdivision.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Western Washington: The nanny state

I've written about the legal issues I face, and a comment to the deposition of paul anderson entry got me thinking. 

Seattle, and by extension, western washington, is an odd place to live.  On the one hand it's famous for its liberal views, for its "green at any cost" and for its gold-plated civic projects.   Don't forget that Seattle is where you have to build sports stadiums for hundreds of millions of dollars because its "an emergency"

"...According to him the bill contains an "emergency clause" which makes it effective immediately upon the Governor's signature, and denies the public the right to submit it to a referendum. An emergency clause makes building a new Seahawks stadium a necessity for the "immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety." This was the same clause that was attached to the Mariner's Stadium Act. The Washington Supreme Court, in a 6 to 3 decision, said that the state legislature could essentially call what ever they wanted "an emergency" and there by deny a public vote on the legislation. " 

We don't even get to vote on our stadiums for the most part.  We voted down the mariners stadium twice, only to have the legislature declare a "baseball emergency" and build it anyway.  Quote from here. 

But that's not the only thing that strikes me about Western Washington.  People here really want to get into your life.  No matter how small your personal quirk is, there's someone who wants to make a law or regulation that prevents you from doing it.  Lets take the most recent example, yesterday: 

Board proposes ban on spitting in public parks  Now mind you I'm not a big fan of spitting, I figure it's a little gross, but if I were to trot out a list of stuff that I don't like and propose laws, well, where would it end? 

That's what bothers me.  The pervasive notion that the only way people can live together is by having a body of laws that tells you were your dog can crap, and how often, what you can put into your trash can, and how much, and so on. 

The zoning laws and regulations are just one aspect of a law-crazy environment where the "liberal" majority seems intent on erasing any vestige of freedom. 

Weren't liberals supposed to be those folks who were more...liberal?  Tolerant?  Perhaps a bit permissive? 

The nanny state.  We will craft laws that will protect you and make your life better no matter what.  We know what's better for you -- and we'll tell you what that is. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Legal Stuff: Deposition of Paul Anderson

I deposed Paul Anderson from the Department of Ecology on Monday of this week on the wood chip case.  I've written about it here and here and here.    Ecology is represented by Kelly Wood, of the state attorney generals office, ecology division.  Both Paul and Kelly have looked at this blog on many occasions. 

I took photos of both Paul and Kelly, and normally I'd illustrate this entry with them, but I've been warned by Mr. Wood that neither he nor Paul consent to their use, so I'm going to respect their request.  I did offer to use any picture that they submitted as an alternate. 

I'll be writing up two or three entries about the contents of the deposition next week; look for it on wednesday/thursday/friday. 

I've written before about the fact that all of the complaints that agencies are "investigating" have been initiated by employees of the agencies doing the "investigation", and that this erodes my confidence in fair dealing on the part of those agencies, and in fact, erodes the whole concept of "complaint driven enforcement". 

The "complaint" about the wood chips in this case was originated by Paul Anderson, an employee of Ecology, while on Ecology time and payroll. 

At least it's been consistent.  100% of the complaints in this case have been initiated by government employees of the agencies involved. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Review of foodsaver v3825

I have no connection with the foodsaver company other than as a satisfied customer and I have recieved no compensation for this review.

I purchased a foodsaver food sealer today, and I've been playing with it a bit.  It allows you to vacuum seal food in your kitchen, either for things like marinades or to make food last longer or retard freezer burn -- longer life in your freezer. 

The unit itself is nice looking; it stands vertical and takes about 6" horizontal, so you can use it on a standard-width counter without too much difficulty.  It's automatic.  You put your food into the bag and  insert the open end of the bag into the unit.  It pumps the air out, and then heat-seals the bag.  You cannot remove the bag while it's doing this.  You can press the "seal" button at any point during the pumping, which turns out to be handy if there's liquid in the bag. 

As it removes the air any liquid goes into this drip tray.  It's not too hard to get to it, but if you're not pressing the button to seal soon enough, you have to open the machine and clear this tray for each bag, which is a bit of a hassle.  If you press the seal buttom as soon as you see the air out, so that not much liquid is pumped, you can avoid this little chore. 

If too much liquid is in the seal area it won't seal well -- best to test each bag as it's sealed to see if the seal happened.  With bags with a little liquid in them this is easy -- i just tipped them upside down over the sink.  Dry bags you might have to look at carefully. 

If you are sealing things that don't have liquid, like pork chops, the drip pan isn't really an issue. 

I don't have a handle on how much it costs per bag yet.  I'll be using it to seal meat when I slaughter, so if it's a penny a package it's not going to bother me much.  When i buy supplies I'll update this entry. 

First day impressions:  With the liquid/drip pan issue being the only minor problem, good. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sous Vide -- cooking in water

I'm always interested in new ways to cook, and sous vide cooking I like because it gives me the ability to produce fairly precise results and to hold food for long periods without worry about overcooking. 

Sous vide refers to cooking foods in precisely temperature controlled water.  The basic tactic I use is to seal the food into plastic bags, with any sauce, marinade or spices that I want, and then put the bags into the unit at a given temperature.  It's basically a high-tech crockpot with better temperature controls. 

In the picture above you can see country style pork ribs sealed in bags, after being dry rubbed, and with a bit of white wine.  I'll put those ribs into the unit at 165 degrees to cook them, for 12 hours, and then finish them on a gas grill -- crisp them up and make them tasty. 

The white-wine sauce I'll drain out of the bags, make a reduction with, and then baste the ribs as they crisp with it.  The sweet sauce carmelizes on the ribs and is pretty tasty. 

My dry-rub recipe is constructed by weight -- I do that because salt and sugar is usually by volume, and the volume of salt and sugar varies.  A cup of powdered sugar is is not the same amount of sugar as a cup of granulated. 

My dry rub recipe is as follows - all measurements by weight: 

4 parts brown sugar
4 parts white sugar
2 parts salt
1 part spice (chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper, etc)

With with this recipe you can make any amount of rub you need, just follow the proportions. 

Liberally coat the ribs with the dry rub and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours -- 12 or 24 is better. 

When you cook the ribs you can do one of two things:  souse vide, or standard.  I'll give the standard instructions first. 

Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil.  Add 1/2 white wine to each rib package, and cook at 400 degrees for 1 to 1.5 hours until fork-tender. 

Sous Vide:  Seal the ribs and wine, and cook for 8 to 12 hours at 165 degrees. 

Drain the liquid into a small sauce pot and reduce about 50% .  Brush ribs with the reduction, and put under a broiler or use a propane torch to carmelize them.  Or you can finish them on a grill for a nice, smoky flavor. 

Sous vide allows you to "hold" the ribs for a long time.  So if I have a dinner party, I might do a large batch of ribs, and they can hold at 165 for hours.  As they're needed, you pull them out, broil them for a minute or two and serve.  Perfect every time.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


One thing that i thought when I started is that the winter would be the slow season.  With animals, there's not really a slow season.  Pigs have litters all year; and everyone needs to be fed.  I can fudge a little -- bigger feeders and automatic waterers means the daily chores are faster, but there's a certain amount of welfare checking I've got to do every day. 

I think that the flood season has passed for this year, and I'm pretty glad.  I have to stick pretty close to the farm november-december-january because I have to be prepared to evacuate animals in a flood event. 

That said, today I spent doing maintenance on various trailers.  The pigs chewed the wiring off this one, so I'm working on the tail lights and inspecting the tires, wheels and axles to make sure everything is in working order.  For this axle i ended up repacking a bearing that was leaking. 

I do love my tractor. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Killer whale pigs

My sow that I've named "pasture pal" has produced some interesting colors in her batch of piglets.  They're black and white, and are reminiscent of killer whales.  Since various goverment agencies have decided that my farm is killer whale habitat, I'm just going to go with the flow and start raising killer whale pigs. 

The white forehead is from the berkshire i think, as are the white feet.

Chickens co-exist with the piglets pretty well.  It gives you an idea of scale. 

One of the piglets is all pink.  When sows are in heat they can mate with several boars, and I've got a mostly-pink boar that might have fathered this one, or maybe it's just mendalian variation

They are pretty cute. 

All done posing, now it's dinnertime!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm a virtual farmer - farmville

Farmville, an online game where you "grow" crops and "manage" a farm is turning out to be hugely popular, with an estimated 70 million users.   I'm guessing that it sort-of taps into the urge that a lot of people have to get back to the farm.   It requires attention, so there's millions of man hours being spent watching soybeans grow (in two days) and so on.  I have enough chores, thanks. 

Having had my hands in the dirt (and blood) for the last few years, I think that blogs offer people the same sort of experience that farmville does.  a feel for the life and the work.  A farm serial drama, of sorts. 

Farmville, the facebook application, showed up both in the capital press and in various stories, one of which you'll find here. 

I'd like them to offer a level of difficulty that is comparable with real farming.  Lets talk about some of the variations: 

Pandemic disease (swine flu):   prices paid for your crop go down 50%
Tariff war -- exports drop 50%
Biofuel:  Feed and input costs rise 50%
Regulatory burden:  20% of your gross goes to the government
Middleman Snack:  Prices paid for your crop go down, but prices paid by consumers stay the same
Predators:  Loss of 10% of your herd
Weather:  Drought.  production per acre drops 20%
Weather:  Flood.  Have to replant a portion of your crop/late to market
Equipment failure:  Loss of harvest due to mechanical difficulties. 
Injury or death:   Health insurance?  what?

Can you think of other variations?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Look what the game camera found

As I wrote previously, I've been wondering what's been partially eating my chickens. Here's suspect #1: A hawk. Well, looking a little further.... (double click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Two Hawks!  look at the left edge of this next photo.  Maybe a mated pair.  Looks like I might have a permanent problem.  I do remove coyotes that prey on livestock, but I don't kill hawks or eagles.  Looks like we might have to go on lockdown. 

Right after this photo the camera was knocked over -- which I suspect was done by one of these hawks trying to perch on it.   What to do.

Monday, January 4, 2010

On the menu today: 10lb salmon chubs

[Hi Natures Harmony Readers. If you'd like to see my comments and the background for this fight, click here after you're done reading. The laws on what is legal to feed to pigs vary from state to state; Whey, a byproduct of cheese production, is a prohibited feed in Missouri, for instance. Tim feeds whey to his pigs. I feed fish to mine. Both are legal feeds in our respective states. Not sure what his point is. Fish is found in many animal feeds. Fish meal, fish cake, fish oil, or just plain fish. ]

These are tubes of ground salmon that apparently were supposed to go to make salmon patties.  They weigh about 10lbs each, and they're boneless.  Pretty handy, actually.  These I've been feeding to the chickens and turkeys, who seem to really like them.  It's easy for the birds to eat the course-ground salmon. 

Many poultry feeds have a fish meal component to them.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Spying on the wildlife

Noticed a partially-eaten chicken breast in the pasture today; which is odd.  If a coyote takes a chicken, the whole thing is gone.  I don't know what killed this particular bird, but I'm a bit curious.  So I set up a game camera to watch the area, and we'll see what shows up.

Game cameras start at about $150, and allow you to have a record, either still photo or video, of anything that triggers then.  I use a tripod for mine so that I don't have to fuss too much about placement, but you can use a fence or tree or post. 
  On the outside of this particular camera there's a display that shows the number of photos taken so you can determine if a particular camera has been triggered, but this particular model doesn't have any way to view the photos -- I take it home and hook it up to the computer with a usb cable to view the contents. 

It's got an infrared flash and this particular one has a range of about 50'.  They're simple and easy to use.  If you have a remote area that you'd like to have some records on you can place them on gates and take pictures of people entering your property.  I'm curious to see what the predator is.  I'm thinking something smaller than a coyote.  Maybe a weasel. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Orphan piglet update

I wrote about a piglet that I was bottle feeding at home -- you'll find that entry here.    Today is the day she gets re-introduced to the herd at the farm. 

Here's patch looking out the door of her shelter at the dog.  She's not at all afraid of the dogs after having been in the house for the last few weeks. 

  Pigs prefer to sleep in piles and groups.  Given the choice between a nice shelter that's bedded with dry wood chips and the cold ground they choose...

to sleep on the cold ground.  I cannot figure that out.  If it's raining they'll move into the shelters, but they'll lay out in the open in a light rain, too.  Here they're jostling a little for best position.  You can see patch on the left bottom, facing us. 

Underneath this little pig is stripe, her mom.  Stripe is very patient with the piglets and has proven to be a capable mother.  Patch likes stripe and will probably end up adopted by her. 

Patch is still pretty fond of me though.  When she sees me she gives the piglet-greeting -- high-pitched rapid oinking.  Piglets are the only ones who make that particular sound -- it seems to mean that they're happy to see you, or that they recognize you, or "I want ot be friends".  They make it when they approach a larger pig, but never maket it when they're greeing piglets their own size.

Kinda sad to see you rejoin the herd, but you'll be happy here for the next few years. 

Friday, January 1, 2010

The farm gun

I ran across a farmer who was talking about buying a gun for use on the farm, and I wrote a reply to him.  Here it is: 

I'd suggest two guns for your farm use. A .22 rifle, either bolt action or semi-auto, and a larger gun for shooting at a distance.

I use a .22 semi-auto for slaughter on my farm because I like the ability to have a second shot instantly available. I don't like it because it's a loaded weapon in the often-chaotic slaughter scene. A bolt action rifle fed off a clip or tube requires positive action before it can be fired again ,which means that you can set it down (or drop it) without too much concern. Semi-autos are harder to clean than bolt-action, and this also figures into it.  I spent most of a summer working as a rifle instructor one year, and I've shot tens of thousands of rounds, so I'll choose the less-safe semi-auto, but I did think about it.

For coyotes and other varmits, I'd suggest a rifle in one of the following calibres: .223, .22-250, .243, .25-06, .260 or .270. All of these rounds are very high velocity (read: flat trajectory) low-recoil rounds that will allow you to make accurate, lethal shots. A .22 long rifle cartridge is not big enough to ensure a quick, humane end to coyotes unless you are a very good shot and although I've shot my distinguished expert rating, I'm not that good. 

On the 2nd rifle, a 6x to 10x telescopic sight is what I'd suggest. You can get more magnification, but when you're actually using it in the field it's like trying to read a book through a straw. A lower magnification will allow a wider field of view, and less "hunting" with the scope for the target.

While you are considering a larger rifle, consider that military rifles are designed for the kind of life that a farm gun lives -- in a dirty environment, with a need for reliability. That said, an ak-47 type gun (sometimes sold as AKM) or an SKS clip-fed rifle may be a relatively cheap and good choice for a pickup truck gun if you can get over the way it looks.

If you plan on hunting deer or other big game (moose? elk?) you might want to consider your local game regulations when choosing your 2nd rifle calibre. There is often a minimum calibre allowed for deer hunting, for instance. Check your local game regulations. My 2nd rifle is a .308 calibre with a 10x scope for this reason.  It's a legal calibre to take big game with, and the .308 round is a common, available ammunition. You can see a picture of my rifle in this blog entry.

Finally, practice with your rifles. Buy 500 rounds of .22 and set up a 50' range with a target and a safe backstop for the bullets, and make sure you can put several shots into a circle the size of a half-dollar. Talk to your local gun shop about classes. With the larger calibre rifle you will typically have one shot at a varmit, and if you miss, you might have to wait weeks for a second shot. It's worth spending $100 on extra rounds and practicing until you are reasonably proficient.

Practicing at a distance means that your closer shots will be more accurate, and shot placement, especially when putting an animal down, is very important.   with your larger rifle, measure out a 600 foot range and practice on that.  200 yards is a good working range for a typical farm varmit shot for me.  Longer than that and I aim a little higher.  Shorter, a little lower.