Thursday, February 1

The Joys of Pigs

When we were Hoteliers, & living in the inner city hotel, we had very good friends who lived on a farm, out near a beach.
We would often got out to farm for the day, & sometimes stay the night.
The husband & wife who lived on the farm, had only recently got married.
The wife, F, had grown up on a farm, & it was her brother's farm they now lived on.
The husband D, was a city boy through & through, & had always lived the city life, & in fact still managed a city Printing business.

F's brother ran his farm, so, D & F were just the live-on tennants, & didnt have to do any of the actual farming. D had a dog called Andros, who was a Golden Labrador, & he was a purebred dog. Somewhere in his genetic makeup, he must have got all the 'dumb' genes. He was an 'idiot' dog, & no matter how they tried they couldnt seem to get him to obey them. He loved our children, & would drive them mad wanting to play with them.

A section of the farm, close to the beach side, was sectioned off, & some archeological digging was taking place there. I am not sure if they found anything of note, but the rumour was they were seeking out evidence of dinasaur bones or perhaps Moa bones. There could also have been Maori middens there. The diggers never seemed to be there at the weekend, so our children would go to look, but were aware they were not to set foot on the marked out areas.

Our son had always been fascinated with dinasaurs, & he came home with some bones - from outside the pegged off area- he was convinced were dinasaur bones. We were staying the night, & he got very upset when Andros sneaked his bones during the night, & took them off to chew in delight! I dont think he ever quite forgave Andros for that!

D got the idea that we should get some pigs- there was a perfectly good set of yards, & F's brother was quite happy if we kept some pigs there. So we jointly bought a nice sow, & named her Florrie. D & F were to organise her mating to a local boar, & we would raise piglets.

Poor old Florrie fell off the trailer, when they were taking her to meet her lover. She hurt her foot, but they still made her attend the mating. I felt so sorry for her, & she limped for the remainder of her days.

In due course she was ready to give birth to the piglets. D & F had never had any experience with pigs giving birth before, & unfortunately were unaware that Florrie might dig a hole, & give birth in the hole. She did so, & rolled on the little piglets & D only managed to save 3 of them.

The little piglets were duly fed up, & taken off to market & sold. Not really any profit.

Next time Florrie had piglets, D had prepared an area with hay bales, & we got a call in the evening to say she was about to have the piglets. We jumped into our car & off we went to watch proud Florrie have her little piglets.

I cant remember exactly how many she had- 8 I think. They were so beautiful when they were born, they just looked like little pink rosebuds. Florrie was a good mother to them, & they grew healthy & well.

The time came for neutering the males, so D asked if we would help. He also had one of his staff, M, offer to come & help.

When we arrived at the farm, D had the piglets baled up, & the idea was, one of us would hold the piglets while D did the magic deed, with his scalpel.
GOM became very agitated, & declared he just couldnt do it, & M, who stood 6ft 3" & seemed keen & willing, became all white, & almost passed out! F wanted nothing to do with blood, she would faint. So that left me.

So here was me, holding poor little piglets, & D slashing away. To my horror he threw the testicles over the fence to Florrie! She was delighted & quickly polished them off!

I vowed never to do that little chore again, once it was all over. The little piglets didnt seem to suffer in the long run, & grew strong & fat.
The next chore was to take them to market, to sell them.

D became determined that we would do it ourselves. He organised a truck, & a race to herd the pigs up onto the back of the truck. It was a fearfully cold evening, & sleet began to fall in flurries.

It took us hours to eventually get the few pigs onto that truck. You have no idea how slushy & muddy it was, & we were not helped by Idiot Andros, who kept thinking he was the one who needed to run up the race onto the truck. All in all it was farcical, & would have made a great little movie clip- How Not to Become a Pig Farmer!

Our children were in the thick of it, diving & flying after the pigs. Inevitably landing in you-know-what! There is nothing quite like the smell of pig shit---& warm, damp, pig shit is even worse!!

In the car, on the way home, we almost died from the fumes. I made the children strip at the bottom of the stairs, & we also shed as much clothing as we could, & I bundled it all up for the wash immediately.

Perhaps consolation was, we did get a good price for the weeners. But we decided we had really had enough of the pig farmer life, & Florrie got sold too.

D had bought books about how to keep pigs, & our son used to read them, when we went out to visit, & stay. He was very intrigued by the idea of Black Pudding, & how it was made.

Our daughter cut her foot very badly on a glass, & blood was spouting out & SB said nervously, "We had better get a bowl, we could make black pudding!"

DJ was not amused, nor was I! I was horror stricken, & grabbed a towel to tie her foot off, & rushed her over to the hospital, where they proceeded to stitch the foot- without xrays. She had 2 lots of glass removed after 2 years, then she had to have an operation, after a further 2 years, to have the rest of the glass removed, after we moved over here to live.

Soon after that our friends moved off the farm, so they quit the life too. Andros vanished without trace, so we never found out what happened to him. (No he didnt accidentally go to market with the piglets!)

As a footnote, my DJ collects pigs of all sorts, soft toys, ceramic, china etc.

And my mother had a pet pig when she was a young girl, & she said he was the lovliest pet she ever had, & very faithful, & clean!


joyce said...

THat was a funny pig story. My BIL had pigs when my nephew was just starting to talk. His first words were "pigs out" and he just loved all the comotion those words would cause.

DubiQuilts - Debbi said...

Great story! I will stay away from raising pigs it is way to much work for this city gal.

Molly said...

Reminds me of Charlotte's Web.Wasn't there a pig called Wilbur in that story? Hilarious tales Meggie....

Henri said...

Meggie , Hiram was the name of the pet pig I think , ( A wild orphan " Captain Cooker " brought home as as piglet by our wonderful uncle G. after a hunting trip ) and whilst M. loved him to bits her mother, our grandmother , was very much less besotted as Hiram used to constantly get into the family Vegetable garden and root up all the precious vegetables ! Hiram was smart enough to open the garden gate so M. told me. Alas , I believe he was despatched when he grew too big and wilful & uncontrollable . -- In those days of waste not want not I wonder what became of him afterwards ?

Shelina said...

Thanks for sharing the story about the pigs Meggie. I am a city girl, and would have no idea how to raise any animals. I don't even have a cat or a dog.
That's so sad that they stitched your daughter's foot without checking for glass. I had a needle that got stuck in my foot, and even though it was clear to me it was just one straight needle, they did an xray to be sure.

Finn said...

Hi Meggie, what a great pig story. WE too kept a few pigs while doing the "back to the land" thing in the mid 1970's. I was quite glad to see it end! Chickens I do like tho.
Love your stories and what a neat quilt you have just finished. All your stars looks just great!! Good job picking in the stash! Hugs, Finn

Finn said...

Hi Meggie, what great pig stories. Love the new star did sooo well with working from stash! Keep up the great work. Hugs, Finn