Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Friday, October 12, 2007

In Case You Need To Move A Pig

Pigs are stubborn. They are also very smart. They are, in the perfect irony, very not so smart when you ask them to do the thing they hate the most - CHANGE. Change for a pig is like, well, change for a Cancer. We made a change in computer and printer as ours crashed, burned and refused to resurrect itself two days before our last show (thank you, oh gods of panic and chaos - I really needed the 'shake up'). I hate this change. All my old favorite bookmarks - gone. All those passwords for all those different 'enhancements' - they might be stuck in the iron trap called my brain but I can't seem to summon them either by cookie or baseball bat. If you've emailed me as of late or commented on the blog and I've been so rude as to not reply - now you know- never rude, never too smart, either.

The biggest mistake people make in dealing with a pig is by thinking they are too cute and harmless to hurt anything or being too afraid of their piggy mud squishiness to go near them. I learned this lesson when I was helping my dad with a mean old sow once. At fourteen, I was no lanky child. I reached over to pet her and she grabbed my sleeve, flipped me into the pen and started beating the you-know-what out of me. Dad jumped in and it took the both of us in pointed cowboy boots (his with genuine - and sharp- spurs) to get her back so we could get out. We stood there, shaking, for a moment. I don't have many good memories of this man but this was one of them. After shaking a while, we laughed - till we cried. He reached over, patted my shoulder, and told me to go in and clean myself up. Dressed, showered, and a little calmer, I helped him load said pig onto a trailer and we drove her to the butcher shop without saying a word about it. That is how I learned the strength of a cute pig. With a winding corkscrew neck that carries about 250 to 300 lbs. of muscular power and a tail portion that has a hind quarter the equivalent of a sumo wrestler in human terms - a pig is an animal to respect and be careful with. Not to be feared. A pig is a great homestead animal. They are far better than a chicken tractor to turn over garden soil. They aren't picky like chickens and sheep - they eat everything - even weeds and roots.

I once had a patch of comfrey that was invading my garden - everywhere I looked it was choking out my plants and sending runners through every row. I fenced the pigs into that patch that fall and not a sprig of comfrey came back the next year. I have nothing against comfrey...I just don't need an acre of it and it tastes nothing like tomatoes, carrots and peas. Also, I love having a pig to take care of. Every day, I scrape the leftovers, crumbs, discarded bread crusts of the days meals into a 'pig bucket' and once a week I clean out the cooler and give them a real treat. They are so sweet, with glop all over their snouts looking up to thank me for the treats. Remember the scene in Babe where the farmer's wife is calling him for the slop? The first time we watched it, thing 2 was just a tot and doing what tots do when they watch a movie they like, jumping all over the living room. When that scene came on- he stopped in his tracks, looked at me with total surprise and said, "she feeds her pigs like you do, mama".

So, now you like pigs but you know your limits with them. What you need to know, now, is that we are trying like the dickens to improve our garden soil. We harvested all we wanted or could and, now, like for the last two years, it is time to let the pigs have their fall feast. Green tomatoes, they love em. Old pea vines and bolted broccoli - what, is it their birthday they say? So, you'd think they'd run over there upon invite. Not.so. Pigs hate change. Also, they squeal so loud you think you're killing them. Also, they buck and fight and knock you down in the mud and generally dig their little hooves in and REFUSE TO MOVE. Protesters of the sixties could have learned much from a pig.

dottie gets the green tomatoes firstWhen we first moved to Maine, we asked every farmer everything we could think of. They all seemed to have the same response on how to move a pig. First, the laugh. Then, 'however the hell you can'. A few said the ear and tail. Pigs power are in their ability to corkscrew and kick at the same time. A good pig will not require you to yank ear or tail - but will let you sort of 'steer' them as hubster did with pig 1 (we call her Dottie). She is so smart, unlike her foolass sister. Within minutes and after a few death-rattling squeals in catching her, she was safely and happily in the garden, scoffing up all the tomatoes whilst her sister was causing utter mayhem. madder eludes us with her stubborness I had to put the camera up and be useful. I can't imagine why hubster looked so sour when he came in to say it was time to move the pigs and I laughed and said, "lemme get the camera". Geez~! About 45 minutes later, and after erecting a bunch of 'fence tunnels', covering her with a tarp to calm her down and stop her thrashing our arms off, said hellbitch was also happily strutting around the garden guzzling down the small potatoes and old, tough squashes we left for her. pigs They fought the changes so hard, only to be thrilled by their new apartment. Go figure. And they say we can learn alot about human nature through the eyes of their companion animal. I mean, I'm not nearly that ornery, am I?

Don't answer that question. Instead, I leave you with my latest (and I think greatest) shade of Tia Dalma. My first Tia Dalma was way too dark. I figured that out at the end. tia dalmaA woman with the patience to wait a billionty years to kick some well-deserved butt would want a little more of a pleasing shade of blue. She'd also want some purple so that when said arse kicking time arrived, she could feel emboldened enough to get the job done quick. The second batch had the optimism but lacked the raw power. This palette, I think, has both. Deep, rich color with a little bit of light in there so we look bold and maybe a little scary, but not like we're Ms. Malfoy or anything. I dyed the sock yarn and roving the same. tia dalma Couldn't wait to spin it up and show it to you so here's your Sunday Spinster falling in line on Friday. It isn't stubbornness......it's a genuine inability to conform, that's all.