Planting trees in the company of pigs

This morning I decided I had to get ‘move the willow starts’ off my to-do list.  Abba and Per were in their pen and sure that I wanted them to join me.  So I gave into their squeals and cries and let them out while I finished the barn chores.  Abba is never more than ten steps behind me – except when a gate prevents her.  She can squeeze under a couple of gates, unfortunately Per can’t do the same.  And when he can’t follow her – wow! Temper, temper.  Poor Per.  He had followed me and Abba over to the site where I am moving the trees to, I had to make another trip back to the barn for my saw, so had stepped over the mesh electric fence – thinking the pigs were so busy rooting around they hadn’t noticed me.  Abba did notice, she circled the electric fence and went under another fence to stick with me.  Per, then noticed she was missing and decided to go through the electric mesh fence to get to us.  He got stuck – and yes the fence was on.  AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!  I was near the charge box – unplugged it and ran to untangle him.

My ears are still ringing from his squealing – I don’t know much about decibels and pitches but he would surely have broken a wineglass with his screaming. (I had always assumed that the saying ‘he screamed like a stuck pig’ referred to some antiquated butchering process – perhaps not.)

Abba was unfazed by all this – in fact nothing fazes her.  

She is quite certain that with some gentle persistence all the animals on the property will be as attached to her as I am.  I have seen her repeatedly approach Bonniebelle.  Tip her head up to make eye contact, tip her nose up to sniff Bonnie’s nose.  Bonnie isn’t sure what to think.  She’ll lean to sniff for a minute and then tip her head down to brandish the full expanse of her crown – a cow’s deadlist weapon.  As if to say , ” I could, I might not, but I could kill you.”  Abba eases back without breaking the tilt of her head.  As if to say, “I know you could and I know you won’t, in fact, I think if you really thought about it you’d kind of like me.”  This interchange has happened at least four times since Sunday.

As has her friendly, fearless advances to Stormy and Dizzy.  Stormy has much the same response as his mother, but done in fast-quick motions.  Despite his abruptness, Abba doesn’t treat him any differently than she treats Bonnie.  

Dizzy is another story.  The second she senses Abba’s approach she turns her backside and begins to feint like a boxer – with her rear feet.  She has not kicked, or given swung a leg into a kick.  She warns.  Interestingly Abba reacts as gently as she does with the cows’ front-side warnings.  She doesn’t run off, she eases back, keeping her head up and her demeanor open.

Per, poor Per.  He has decided that perhaps he should follow Abba’s lead and make friends with his neighbors.  He moves in fast and promptly gets chased.  Bonnie gave him a run for his money this morning.  I can’t imagine all this exercise is good for building up his weight, though perhaps it is adding muscle mass.  Certainly must be healthier meat production than the poor pigs raised in no-move pens.  

I am not sure when we’ll get to the backfield again.  I have to head into Boston tomorrow afternoon for a doctor’s appointment.  I hate having a deadline to my adventures – if I run into some kind of problem I’d rather not have the added stress of meeting a critical deadline.  I have waited for this appointment much too long to be waylaid by a runaway pig. And then we are heading out for the weekend- leaving the farm in the care of my backup farmer.

I almost forgot -the willows –  with an enormous amount of effort I managed to move one willow-start – start my foot- the thing had roots several deep and who knows if it will in fact survive this transplant.  

PS Sorry to have no pics – Sarah ended up losing her smart phone in the Atlantic.  She capsized, got tangled up a bit and somehow the zippered pocket unzipped,  the phone is in a nice expensive water proof case… perhaps it will show up someday, somewhere.  She was so relieved to live through the experience that she was not as upset as I would have thought she’d be.  And oddly enough even after such an experience she suggested that if in fact we parents were contemplating buying her a new phone (she had paid for the phone she lost) she’d rather have us buy her a sailor’s watch.  All this to say – I will have to resort to an old fashion camera and get some pictures posted.