Ahh, these crisp mornings and cool evenings remind me that my favorite time of year is upon us. Hot summer days are behind us for another season and it’s time to clean up the farm in preparation for the cold winter months. While I always enjoy the change in season, this year I have yet another reason to celebrate October.
As some of you may know we have a few animals at the farm, and while most of them are quite enjoyable in their own right some of them are also pigs. By that I don’t mean they are boorish, rude or sloppy but rather quite literally we have some pigs. This spring we decided that the ultimate in recycling would be to fence in some brush land and acquire a few porkers to consume our vegetables that don’t make the cut to go out to the market. After a summer diet of sweet corn, tomatoes and various other goodies they would be fattened up enough to enjoy a overnight stay at a fine local butcher shop. Now this was all sound logic and downright sustainable thinking on our part if I may so myself, but there was a few things we never considered.
Things started innocently enough with Keith showing up one fine spring morning with five of the cutest little piglets you ever did see. Oh what fun they had running around exploring their new home. Why they had a little stream for water and a daily supply of all the fresh picked vegetables they could eat, what could possibly go wrong. Well the summer progressed smoothly enough and the pigs were putting on some seriously delicious looking weight, however they were getting restless with the status quo. You see, they were figuring out that all the food they were getting was growing on plants literally twenty feet from their fence. This realization coincided with another light bulb moment where one troublemaker discovered physics (ie; while an object at rest tends to stay at rest, a 150 lb object with a running start will destroy a well intentioned fence) and so a delightful new morning routine of “find the 5th piggy” was established.
Four of the five piggies were of a more docile nature and chose to live vicariously through number five. He would start his day by busting through the fence and leisurely grazing in the strawberries or sweet corn until being discovered by the picking crew who would sound the alarm signaling the start of the daily rodeo. The accepted herding method was to surround the runaway pork and move him along the fence to the spot were he came out with the faint hope that he would acquiesce and surrender to the safety of his pasture. This usually showed promise until the four in the pen became aware that something was amiss and would start encouraging the defector with a series of squeals and grunts that seemed to be all that Five needed to bust through the makeshift human corral to freedom.
We quickly discovered that surprisingly a motivated pig is not only faster than all our energetic young helpers but also easily outpaces a rather perturbed gangly farmer who admittedly has some misplaced pride in his former athletic prowess. Even our dilapidated golf cart was no match for the sprinting swine.
Eventually Five would weary of the spectacle and at that point would merely head straight for the fence and simply walk right through, satisfied that he had entertained us enough for that morning and knowing that we all understood that this would be continued the following morning. While this was the source of much aggravation and a few unintentionally hilarious moments (have you ever see a high speed chase involving a pig and a golf cart, it really must be seen to fully appreciate) throughout the summer we’ve finally reached October and the date has been set for the pigs final trip.
Was it worth the trouble to have a few pigs around so we can fill our freezers this fall? At this point I’m not ready to say yes, however my opinion may change in a few weeks when Five is gracing us with his presence at our dinner table.
Thanks for all your support this season and don’t forget to stay tuned on Facebook as we update our progress on our winter project, which involves more market space and a spot to enjoy some soft serve ice cream next summer.
- -Farmer Ken