Tuesday, 24 June 2014

New Pigs

We have two Berkshire pigs.  They were weaned young and, frankly, young Berkshire pigs are ugly. At least these are, though they are getting a bit bigger and are starting to look more like pigs and less like big rats. They were raised from birth on a pasture of about 30 acres and developed a certain wildness and lean, boxy little physiques. The first evening we had them, after having put them in a pen for the afternoon and tossed them some grass, we let them out into the barn's "common area" to give them a proper meal.   Before that, each time either of us approached the pen, they would freeze, even keeping a leg in the air.  They were extremely alert and sensitive to every sound.  As they scampered around the barn they sought only to escape, and quickly pushed the big pagewire door open and started darting around the yard.

Actually, they are quite adorable

We had lined the yard with shipping pallets, forming a tight fence, with the intention of having them out once they had learned that the barn was where they would get food and they would not want to venture far.  But on the first day, they would not have been inclined to return if they got out.  As well sealed as the yard seemed to be, there was one panel that was shorter than the others.  Lazy, well-fed pigs would never try to scale it, but these ones took a run at it and one of the climbed to the top, got its body half way over before struggling for a moment to free herself.  It was by some grace that she struggled to get herself over because it gave me just enough time to grab her hind legs and get her back into the barn.  Imagine a $100 bill floating over the edge of a ship and you grab it just before it is out of reach.

Meanwhile, farmgate sales are coming along - we are gaining customers each day and meeting nice and interesting people. The farmgate concept is not common around here and people take notice when they see one.  I visited a farm called Vicki's Veggies in Prince Edward County last week, where I saw a stunning 16 acres of pristine veggies and then the most exquisite farm store - an old garage that had been converted into a small shop with old windows in rustic wooden frames and a floor of wide wood slabs that were just crooked and creaky enough, without being dilapidated.  There is no way to replicate that.  Ours looks a bit, well, suburban, given that we are opening up our much more modern garage door and selling from the edge of the the garage's shelter (of course when you see the chickens and wild flowers all around you, your don't feel you are in a subdivision).  In any case, we are admittedly less rustic than some and maybe not quite as much the postcard image, but we do have heart just the same.

Tomatoes are getting close now, they are big and green, and in another week or two ready to enjoy.  There is nothing like a freshly picked Brandywine tomato cut up and sprinkled with a little bit of brown sugar.

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