Saturday, April 25, 2015

To Whom it May Concern

Dear Little Ginger Colored Piglets,
You didn't come when I thought you would.   All my laid out plans were for naught as we have now lost our 'window' of opportunity for a long hike.    Oh well.  At least you are cute.  It was exciting being a midwife too.  I could tell Sweet Pea appreciated me being there and calmed down when I rubbed her tummy.  I even had to pull one of you little buggers out.  It isn't easy giving birth, so you better appreciate your mamas.    It's amazing how you pop out all slimy and clumsy and immediately start trying to find a nipple, stumbling and falling all over the place.  You really looked drunk, but of course dragging an umbilical cord around didn't help.  I'm  amazed at how long your lifeline was.  Some of them were 18 inches long.  The book said not to cut it and  it did slowly dry up and fall off, but for an hour or so it followed you in your wobbly travels. I wasn't expecting that. 

Little Piggies,  I promise to take good care of all fifteen of you.  Some of you already have new homes to go to in a couple months and some of you will live your whole life here, running around these hills and playing in our ponds. Be thankful that your weren't born in some big industrial hog farm where you would live on metal and never see the light of day surrounded by 1000's of you all caged up without any room to even move around and act like pigs.   Here, I will always treat you well and you will freely roam these Southern Humboldt hills without cages and at the end of your allotted time I will thank you for the meat you will provide. 

Monday, April 6, 2015


It snowed a bit on top of the ranch last night.  Easter seems to always bring a chill to these hills as this has happened many times in the past.  Easter snow shouldn't be so, but it is, so I just better accept it.  Acceptance is something that has been hard for me to, um, accept.  I am a stubborn woman.   Growing up I learned to make things happen.  I wasn't too coordinated, so I worked extra hard and made the sports teams.  Tenacious, they said.  Headstrong, my mom said.  When we got married, Mark said, "You aren't going to wear the pants in this house."  Later, he accepted that we could both wear the pants and have a good time doing it.  Me, I accepted that he would accept it.

This ranch's seasons, storms, and its animals  don't seem to give a hoot about my schedule.  Right now, we've got a tentative two week backpacking trip planned for the end of the month.  I really want to go.  I crave backpacking like an alcoholic craves booze, but I know we might not get to go because some pregnant pigs aren't following my 'plan'.   I saw them get bred 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days ago and, darnit,  that means they should have had piglets last night. 

This hog farmer is a new hat for me to wear.  Cattle I know, but hogs not so much.   I've been researching online for photos of pigs vulvas and teats before birth.  I know, TMI, but I have been trying to figure out how close my gilts are to giving birth.  I think they are close, then I think they aren't.  Apparently swine have a window of 24 hours to 5 days in which they can get pregnant.  It just depends on the female. I'm hoping mine have a long window because  I want them to give birth this week, as it will still allow us to go hiking at the end of the month.  There is a very real possibility though that they will give birth in 3 weeks as I could be off by one whole heat cycle.  It is possible that they didn't get pregnant when I saw them in the act.  Three weeks later I was off babysitting grandkids, so there could have been more heing and sheing going on and I would have missed the whole darn thing. 

So yeah, I'm trying to learn acceptance, but obviously, not doing to well at it.   I can't make those pigs have babies, I can't stop the snow from falling, I can't make it rain or make the sun to shine. Heck, I can't even make the grass to grow.  I'm just mortal.  I do have faith though that it will all work out.  The sun will come up tomorrow, the pigs will have piglets some time in the future and even if we don't get to hike at the end of the month, we will probably get to hike in the future.  Lord willing and the creek don't rise, that is.

Wild Rose and Sweet Pea