Saturday, November 24, 2012

Getting Big, Getting Pushy

The pigs are growing how pigs grow: fast and pushy. Lunchbox and Thermos are eating and sleeping machines, ravenous one minute and catatonic the next. But between their bouts of hunger and rest they are social, gregarious, curious and nippy. Lunchbox is much more so, of everything. He comes right up to me for a scratch while Thermos watches from a safe distance, only to waddle up if jealousy and loneliness overcomes his fear. I wonder if how they were raised has anything to do with it? Lunchbox, the large Old Spot cross was born on a small sustainable farm in the pasture. Thermos also came from a small farm, but was born in a cement horse-cum-pig stall in a dark barn with many other litters and siblings around him. Thermos was also on the small side when I bought him and Lunchbox arrived at Antlerstock roaring with personality...

My pig analytical skills are fair at best, and I have no idea how they really feel about their lot here at Cold Antler. But I can assure myself they are comfortable, well fed, and getting plenty of light, stimulation, and the occasional wrestling match. In a few months they'll be harvested to feed myself and five other people. I am keeping 3/4 of one pig and I bartered off the remaining 1 pig and the other in three shares. I did this so I get paid in pork for my time, but other folks can cover the piglets, butchering and feed costs. It's a reality of this lifestyle, you don't reap all you sew. To make it financially viable I can reap a mighty sum of pork, but the lion's share goes to other supporters. The trade off is I get to live with, and get to know these fine animals. I get to be there through their whole lives on this farm and make sure they have a quick and kind death.

The pigs are doing their part and I am doing mine. Being my third winter keeping pigs, they have become part of my evolving notion of the Holidays. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a roast leg of lamb and a bucket of feast scraps for a pair of pigs curled up in the straw in a warm barn lit with soft light in the snow. I now look forward to walking out to that barn with a lantern and hearing their snorts and wuffling while favorite yuletide carols play into the earbuds. Not conventional, I know. But music to my ears all the same.

Rumos of snow tonight. Stay posted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

These guys look fuzzier than the pigs I'm used to seeing at our local farm. Is it their age? Breed? Just curious

November 24, 2012 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

The big ornage one with spots is a Tamworth GOS cross, about 3-3.5 months old? The white/pink one is a yorkshire with some mixbreeding in the past, a little berkshire. He is 3 months.

November 24, 2012 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

the fuzz could just be the bad camera work!

November 24, 2012 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger kaelak said...

Heh - roaring with personality - that's for sure!!

November 24, 2012 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Cannot wait until June for our fresh pork - yumm!!

November 25, 2012 at 6:05 AM  

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