Lessons and Observations Part I

We have been into this little adventure now for about 6 weeks or so? Maybe a little more. Time flies when you’re having fun, right! Along the way I have had many lessons (some funny and some annoying) and made some interesting observations. I need to get better at writing these things down as I am sure I will never remember them all, but I figure I will give you 10 at a time…so long as I can remember 10! Here we go:

1. When installing a pig pen, you MUST act as though you are trying to contain Supermanimal. So far they have figured out how to push open a locked gate and dug up all the stakes we put in to keeping the fence down. Harlow (about 2 X the size of London) gets at the bottom and London comes in at the top for an assist. At least they are working together, right?

2. Watching ducks for too long makes my back hurt. They look like a person bent forward at the knees with double D’s. No wonder they waddle.

3. No two pigs have the same oink, squeal, or bark….which brings me to…

4. PIGS BARK!!! As in, just like a dog. It’s got to be the weirdest thing ever…we teach our children all wrong!

5. Cats that hunt will only test their luck on ducks that don’t quack. At least my Santana won’t and he’s pretty badass =) (He took down a partridge, almost the same size as him). But he won’t touch the ducks now…he has access if he really wants it, but once they started quacking, he lost interest. I guess he likes silent victims.

6. Pigs are like fat ballerinas. They are not actually fat though; they are SOLID creatures and quite thick around the middle. However, that massive body is mounted on four skinny legs with the most dainty looking little pink (piggy) toes. Those little toes have some grace in them too. This, however, taught also me another lesson…

7. Do not wear flip-flops while feeding the piggies. Those sweet looking feet are pointy as hell!

8. Ducks are not the brightest bulbs. We lost 3 of the smallest crew within days of each other. We couldn’t figure out what was going on because it didn’t happen with the other 2 batches, then my hubby figured it out. They flip their food dish and were trying to use it to help them jump out of the cage….falling…and breaking their own necks. More proof that inbreeding is a bad idea. Brilliant.

9. There is something on this Earth that will stop Ollie (our psychotic Boston Terrier) in his tracks. Harlow. All she has to do is turn her head in his direction and he sits down? Ridiculous.

10. And finally…pigs are pickier eaters than you would think. They do not appreciate dry food and the sweeter the better, we nearly had a war out there over an angel food cake. So keep your eggplant, oranges, and potatoes to yourself, but they much appreciate deliveries of corn on the cobb, watermelon, and cantelope. Oh, and never give them their actual food without putting milk in it! I wonder if their siblings live this well?

And there you have my lessons and observations thus far. Take them for whatever you will, which I’m sure is for entertainment and not actual advice in your own life because you have to be more sane than I =).

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Animal Totality

OK, so we started with 4 dogs, 3 cats, and 3 kids which most people cringe at….what do we have to add now? Two piggies, Harlow (who you have met) and little London. They met and were instant friends…thank God…could have gone sooooo much worse. Then there is the duck situation…or should I say overpopulation. I introduced to you the first two, Ace & Ginger, who are now pretty much full grown and living out in their pen (with two pools ehhem) full time. And I was waiting for some of the eggs at the barn I work at to hatch…then someone tells me that all the eggs are gone! How dare they. I wanted Muscovies and only Muscovies, so I found a lady one town over that had 5 left, so I went and grabbed them. OK, so now 7, not so bad….right? Four, yeah FOUR, days later when I went back to the barn there were seven, yes SEVEN, new baby ducklings…now…14. Then another came the next (yeah so much for the eggs being gone!). Two of the babies got sick and died =( bring us down to 13….and another duckling born the next day = back up to 14. Did you follow all that? I have to because head counts are becoming very neccessary around here! Lucky for me we can break them into groups of small, medium, and large. Sooooo, 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 pigs, 14 ducks, and 3 kids running around here and someone is always hungry. What I don’t have is intruders, mice, chipminks, moles, grubs, or leftovers =). Could there be more suprises coming?

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Some Daily Goings On

The Bruins won the Stanley Cup and I say it’s all because they had a lucky pig fan =). I think they should have her in the parade! Harlow is adjusting quite well, maybe a little too well since she isn’t in her permanent home yet, but that’s on the docket for tomorrow. The dogs are accepting her and I have to say it is quite hilarious to watch them all chase each other around the yard, although sometimes I don’t know if they know what to think of her…haha. She has decided that its easier to tip her food dish so she can lay down and eat…lazy piggy. Also found out that it’s not a good idea to have a snack while sitting with her…I had a pretzel and the next thing I knew there was a 40lb pig trying to jump in my lap. Perhaps if I hadn’t just put on clean clothes and she hadn’t just finished rooting in the mud it would have been cuter, but funny none the less. The ducks have been spending their days in the dog pen (that is too small for my dogs) outside…they are still too little to roam free, but I think they are enjoying themselves. I have also decided to change the phrase “Happy as a Pig in Shit”  to “Happy as a Beagle Rolling in Pig Shit.” So nasty, but that’s my Roxy! The cats have spotted her a few time and proceeded to book it as fast as possible, no matter who is standing in their way. A neighborhood scrap food collection has started…even my mother (who thinks I’m absolutely crazy for doing any of this) has joined the crusade. I made green beans and corn on the cob the other night and it was so awesome to not have a single ounce of waste and I mean not one little drop! Dare I say this is actually kind fun? Let’s see if I still feel that way when the new piglet arrives in the next couple of weeks AND the new Muscovies hatch in the next couple weeks…Animals out my ears, Oh My!!

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First 24 with Harlow

I suppose I will start at the beginning of my adventure…with no kids so anything would be a good break. At 8am I set of to Brattleboro, VT in the pouring rain. Met up with my mother-in-law for breakfast in the center (she lives in Bethel), then her and I set off to Cherry Rail Farm. You know, there aren’t many mother-in-laws that will go with you to pick out a piglet! Winding driveway in and there are the mommy pigs, so I pull in a little further, right into a mud puddle. But I have 4 wheel drive, so no problem, right? Too bad I was in my husband’s truck and he failed to mention there was an extra step in getting it to kick on. So when the owner told me to pull up in front of where the piglets where hanging out, I was stuck. He had to pull me out is a truck half the size of the one I was in! Oh boy.

Down the hill we go and there they are…about 20 of them…squealing and running and jumping over each other. So cute! We pick out what we think is the best looking of the crew and the owner carries her back up the hill by her hind legs (that’s how your supposed to do it apparently). Into the crate she goes and the owner is impressed it’s new…he says most of her cousins and siblings left in old worn out ones. So I promised her a fate better than what theirs most likely is…dinner.

Home again. We get her nestled into the porch with her own personal space heater…you know, to take the chill out from the ride home, and I leave the back door open so she can explore the fenced in portion of the yard. Of course, I walked by the windows every ten minutes to check on her. Then…I go out to the porch and she isn’t there….out to the yard…empty. Uh oh.

So here we are, me in a bathrobe and my husband in shorts and hunting boots running around the yard calling the name of someone who doesn’t even know her name. Suddenly she comes out of the woods…I think we “cornered her” at least 20 times and each time she slipped right through us. We are yelling at each other too of course! On one cornering, I was on one side of a bush and he was on the other…”Here she comes!” he yells. I jump on top of her and she wriggles right out leaving me careening for the stone wall’s edge. Luckily (or not) my elbow stopped the fall. Back across the street and my husband makes the leap this time, in his leather jacket no less and there she goes into the woods and can no longer be seen or heard.

I’m devastated, my husband is pissed, and I figure I just bought the coyotes the most expensive meal they have ever eaten. We stayed for a while, checked often, but she was gone. I slept on the couch with the back porch light on just in case she came back, but who are we kidding, the coyotes are everywhere and she only spent a few hours here, so she doesn’t know where home is.

7:30am rolls around and my husband comes down the stairs, “Ummm, the pig is right there!” “What?!?” I yell….and there she was. Clearly, chasing her again wasn’t going to work, so we open up the fence and I set up a trail of carrots leading to the porch. She has to be hungry, right? 30 seconds later, there she goes! Right into the backyard and up on to the porch!!! Soaked to the bone and starving, lets just say she hasn’t tried any escapes again =) And that was our first day with Miss Harlow.

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Entering into the “Green Acre” Zone

 

When my husband and I bought our home almost two years ago, having a farm was the last thing on my mind. At our front door was a wooden pig…I laughed uncontrollably…maybe I should have held back since there is now a real live pig living on my back porch (temporarily).  We had two children (and have since added one of those), three dogs (add one more of those for current counting), and one cat (add two more to that for updated head counts)….and…I am from the CITY and used to the “country club” being my version of country living. I had been laid off for over a year, but the job market was on the mend…or was it? The only job I could find since then was on a horse farm. Mind you I didn’t grow up around horses, but it seemed like fun…until I saw how big they are! Anyways, 6 months later and I still work there, but the horses now seem to be overgrown dogs to me. I suppose we will blame them for this bright new idea I have been embarking on.

A few weeks ago I brought home two Pekin ducks (Ace & Ginger) and currently await the hatching of some local Muscovies. Then came the choice…pigs or goats? Pigs it is! We currently have a 9 week old piglet (Harlow) and are awaiting the arrival of a second which should be here in a couple of weeks (yet to be named). The goal…when they reach eight months old we start breeding! The piglets will be sold for….whatever the buyer wants (thankfully I have time to get used to the idea that someone will eat them at some point). BUT, mine will not be eaten…end of story. So thats where I stand right now….when I have a moment later I will have to share the story of Miss Harlow’s first night with us (which was less than 48 hours ago)…great fun in that story…at least for the 3rd party reading it =)

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