The Pigs, Per, Abba, Odin





Per is living in the barn, much to the chagrin of Dizzy.  For one she lost her pen to him, for two she now has a front seat to his eating auditorium.  Dizzy would happily consume the exact same things, leftover pancakes, coffee grinds, sour milk, celery stubs, cold scrambled eggs.  The other day she worked hard and stole the rind of a roasted pumpkin from him.  Pumpkin, I can understand but really the horse has no discretion in her appetites.  I am no expert when it comes to horses but I think she is really strange.

Dizzy is probably also appalled at the lack of tidiness in her old bedroom.  Horses are nice and neat, they do their business in one corner, they don’t spill their water, they don’t toss their food dishes about.  Per does his business in one corner but his food and water are another story.  My husband spent quite a bit of time last week making this fabulous waterer for Per, heated and everything.  It holds about six gallons of water in a five foot by six inch PVC pipe, a nipple attached near the bottom, a submersible heater inside.  Perfect.

Except two days later there was about four gallons of water soaking Per’s pen.  Am still not sure how he managed this.  I can’t find a leak, can only guess that somehow he jammed the valve mechanism open and it flooded the place.

If Charlotte had to save Per’s life she might not say SOME PIG in her web, unless one put the perfect tone to it it wouldn’t make the point strongly enough.  Crazy, exuberant, energetic, and possibly dangerous all come to mind.  Per is the fourth pig I’ve owned, and he falls into the something else category.  He has this alarming habit of lunging, his pen is about four feet tall, he can lunge up so snout to navel is out of the pen.  His enthusiasm is directly connected to food and affection.  He loves to have his chin and ears rubbed, and he adores food.  The other night he tried to grab the dish out of Sarah’s hand and caught her hand.  She didn’t bleed much but she did bleed.  Not good.  Despite this  incident the kids are all very fond of him, he has so much personality; if alarmed he barks just like Dory, he collapses if you rub his side, he moans if you scratch him just right, and there isn’t a video game that can compete entertainment-wise with the fun of watching  his pure joy when eating.  However…  Am not sure we’ll be able to keep him until his March 3 date with the butcher.


Per, He is hard to capture as he is in perpetual motion. Sorry about the blurry edges!

Abba and Odin are perfect little squealing ones.  They are nice and round and short, they don’t jump or lunge.  Abba loves to have her tummy rubbed, Odin is much more skittish, and man, it will be some time before I let him loose again.  I assumed he’d stick with Abba and return with Abba.  Abba comes when called – better than Dory Dog even, as in I don’t not have to add on “I’ve got a treat for you!” Odin gave us a merry chase for hours before we returned him to his pen.  (Note, we didn’t actually chase him, we bribed him, we tried shoo’ing him, we tried to close in on him from three sides, all to no avail.  Chasing doesn’t work with any animal as far as I can tell, but it is an easy term to use –merry chase – just sounds good doesn’t it!?)

No, Odin has a mind of his own and shows no signs of warming up to the idea of being a well-trained pig.  He is starting to squeal when he sees us, he is starting to stay nearby when we kneel and pet Abba but he is terribly reluctant to be touched.  Hopefully we can make some headway with him because come spring I’d love to have him out grubbing up some gardens for me, but do need to be able to move him from here to there.

Catching up…



It’s been a hectic week!  First I had relatives here for a few days.  So cute to see my little niece petting the pigs and brushing the horse.  My girls are so big they’ve lost that six year old attention span.  And since my girls are so big we spent the weekend packing away dolls and toys and beloved books to the attic.  Great to get their room cleaned out a bit, sad to see this very concrete evidence that my girls are closer to being ladies than girls.

So what happens to my farm animals when life is busy with other things?  Good question.  It is a crazy thing I am trying to do – be soccer mom and be a farmer.  Last night was a great example.  I took William to the fair to meet up with his best buddy.  From 3:30 ’til 5:30 they tilt-a-whirled and roller-coasted.  By 6:00 Bonniebelle needs to be milked.  So we left the fair, came home, sat at the table to eat dinner as a family (I had prepped everything earlier in the day), then I milked the cow while everyone else cleaned up.

Two points here.  I HAD to be home, this meant we might as well eat dinner at home.  Family-time and healthy-food time.  Second point – I HAD to milk the cow, this meant everyone else had to clean up the kitchen.  Then we all went to the fair for the rest of the evening as a family.

This farm centers our family, it keeps our life in balance.  Soccer and sailing and dance are all great, we do them all but the farm is first.  The mix of modern life and old-fashion farm is so funny.  Yesterday I sent Sarah a text “can you go water the pigs?”  I love getting texts from her, “can you make sure the rabbits are in before it rains?”

Mixing crazy-fast-paced life with the rhythms of the farm – everyone should do it.

Stormy, Irish Jersey bull.


On Friday night we had friends over for dinner then we went to a football game so I closed up the barn pretty late.  I don’t use a  light for this process, I love those moments under the stars, little night noises, the soft mmmm from Bonnie when she hears me coming.  Usually I talk to the rabbits and chickens and pigs as I do my final round – so as not to startle them.  On Friday night my thoughts were busy enough to tie up my talking.  I grabbed a few apples to toss in to the pigs’ pen.  Wonderful mushy ones, from my neighbors tree. I went to the pigs’ pen and dropped the apples in.  Absolute silence in there.  They sucked the air in, emptying the pen.  Absolute quiet – mixed with strands of fear.  Then Abba tentatively grunted, “uh?” “uh?” “Oh, Abba, I am sorry, it’s me.”  They scrambled out of their hay nests “UH! UH! UH! It’s uh youuu uh!”   I dropped a couple more apples in and listened to them munch uh munch uh munch uh!

PS: We have not yet oPERated.  Gotta get that done.