Yup, that’s me carrying a pig.
The girls are now in charge of two young pigs as part of yet another 4-H project. The pig-delivery day was last Monday. That’s one of the reasons Chareva wanted us to buy a trailer sooner rather than later. She was convinced moving two frightened pigs in the back of her van wouldn’t turn out well for anyone involved, including the pigs.
The pigs were due to be delivered to a gang of 4-H kids at 5:00 PM. So we drove to the county ag center, trailer in tow, and waited. And waited some more. We were told the pig bus was running late, which normally wouldn’t be much of a concern, but the forecast was for high winds, thunderstorms, and tornado conditions — all moving in around 6:00 PM. I didn’t relish the idea of being on the road, pulling a trailer with live animals in it, when a tornado swept through.
The pig bus finally arrived around 5:45 PM. Unlike with the goats, there was no pick-your-pig queue. The kids all drew numbers, which corresponded to numbers on the pigs.
Some of the older kids carried their own pigs off the bus, but the pigs were squealing like crazy and fighting to get away, so I was nominated to carry the squirming loads for our girls.
Before we could put them in the trailer and drive home, the pigs had to be weighed. I’m guessing they found this a bit unpleasant.
The winds and the heavy rains hit when we were about halfway home. You know that slow-moving farm vehicle on the two-lane highway that drives you nuts because there’s no good stretch of road where you can safely pass? That was me during this trip … that is, if you can label a Toyota van pulling a trailer as a farm vehicle.
Chareva wanted us to move the pigs to their pen when we got home. I thought about that … let’s see, it’s raining, it’s dark, the winds are howling, we’re out in the sticks surrounded by miles of fields and forest, the pigs will be wet, they’ve already demonstrated that they’ll fight and squirm to get away.
I explained that I was having visions of me chasing two panicked piglets across our property in the dark with a tornado approaching, and it wasn’t a happy vision. All we needed to complete the picture was a little dog named Toto. She agreed that perhaps we’d best just leave the pigs in the trailer overnight. She put pig feed and water in the trailer, then we went inside to wait out the tornado that never came. The thunder and lightning were certainly impressive, however.
Among Bill Cosby’s many fabulous routines about growing up is one that goes something like this:
Every time my mom walked into my room, she became an expert on pigsties. “This room looks just like a pigsty! Just like a pigsty!”
Unlike Bill Cosby’s mom, my girls’ mom may actually be an expert on pigsties. Before the pig-delivery date, she spent some time converting the pen that previously held goats. She reinforced the fence so they can’t dig under it, and added straw and an extra tarp to the hoop-house. She also built her own trough.
I’ve read that pigs are as social as dogs. Well, maybe, but these two seem to have an anti-social streak. They spend rather a lot of time chasing each other around and biting each other’s ears. If that’s considered social behavior, I’m glad I’m the type who doesn’t enjoy parties.
The girls will show the pigs at a 4-H event in January. They’re supposed to demonstrate that they control the pigs by walking beside them with a stick. That should be interesting. Sara had to chase down and tackle one of her goats at the previous event. The pigs will weigh well over 200 pounds by January, so tackling one would be a bit of challenge.
After the event, we can either auction them off or keep them and send them to the slaughterhouse when we think they’re fat enough. The plan now is to keep at least one for bacon, ham, ribs, etc. It’ll depend on how much pig meat we can store in our deep-freezer. We’ll certainly be eating home-grown pork by spring.
I like pork, of course. But this bumper-sticker on a vehicle at the ag center rather nicely captures my feelings about another meat.
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