I worry that I bore people with my endless posts about my animals. But one of my favorite readers requested more pig pictures and information, so here goes! Thanks, Jeff, for asking! In the above picture the piglets were snoozing in their hutch during the heat of the day. I called them and they came rocketing out. I rewarded them each with a few cookies.
And because it was hot out, I gave them a cool shower. They stood quietly looking so happy.
This is Tiller, the boy pig. He is one fine swine!
The pigs are very entertaining to watch. They run and play, flop over in the dirt and roll and kick. They carry sticks, roll rocks, give each other hip checks and grunt in tones that seem awfully conversational. At night they tuck themselves into "bed," and sleep quietly all night.
At feeding time they squabble some. It is a treat to watch them drink milk, they slurp it down with apparent pleasure. They are not so excited about vegetables, unless I cook them and season them up some. It is entirely possible that they are a wee bit spoiled.
In late summer the meadow is often shrouded in mist as the eastern sun slants through the trees. The morning dew and mist coat everything... especially the hundreds of webs artfully woven by the creepy, yet oddly beautiful, orb spiders. I always take a moment to admire the loveliness of the webs. I try not to think about what I know is lurking near each and every one.
These are not tiny spiders... they have huge, bulbous bodies and legs that make me shudder. Some of them span a couple of inches across. I remind myself that they eat lots of bugs. And I walk carefully in hopes I never come into physical contact with one. EW!
On a less leggy note... I found a delightful surprise when I collected eggs last week.
A lovely little blue egg! It looks pretty nestled in with the toasty shades of brown. Soon my new Leghorn's will begin to lay and I'll have white eggs, too. That will make for a pretty carton full of colors.
The animals here have recognizable routines, if one cares to watch for them.
In the morning I am up early. The dogs and I head out, and first I open the coop. The chickens flood out in a feathered stream. Belle the duck heads in to lay her egg. If I am a few moments late she meets me on the deck, slapping her broad feet on the wooden planks and fussing at me in shrill tones.
Next I milk the goats. They know the schedule and meet me at the gate, "baa-ing" in excited anticipation. The warm, sweet-scented milk hits the stainless bucket with a rhythmic hiss. The goats munch on alfalfa pellets and grain, and if I listen even a little bit I can hear their stomachs rumbling in appreciation of the meal.
After the milk is filtered and stowed, all the water buckets are topped off and the pigs and poultry fed. I reluctantly tear myself away so I can shower, dress, pack a lunch and head to work. Before I leave I take a little stroll around to make sure all is well. Most mornings I find Chanel the pony lying in the sun just as shown here. She looks totally content. I head off to work knowing all the animals are fed and cared for and happy. That makes me happy, too.
My friend got a new puppy. She's been thinking about adding a new dog to her farm for some time. She wanted a special sort of dog. One that would protect their property, guard the livestock and be a good companion.
She settled on this guy. He is a breed many have never heard of; a Black Mouth Cur. She named him "Lick." (Lick-Cur... = Liquor. Get it?) I am in love with the little dude. He is all wrinkled forehead and big feet and sweetness. He reminds me a lot of my special Doberman, Loki. There is something about him that is tells me he is going to be one heck of a good dog.
While he grows into his job of guardian and protector, I get to rub his smooth belly and kiss his little furrowed head. He is warm velvet under my lips.
9 years ago we came to Maine from Memphis to look at houses on a cold March day. We saw 14 houses in a day and a half. Our brains were on fire! I liked a few of the houses, but when I saw THIS house I felt at home. And then I saw the porch. The view through the old wavy glass from the many-paned windows was of mud and dirty snow drifts and a glimpse of Sennebec Pond. And I could see the possibilities. In my minds eye there was wicker furniture and old bottles and a place to curl up with a really good book. I told Chris, "We can stop looking, this is our house." He said, "We can't afford it." So we bought it.
At Thanksgiving, when we feed as many people as this old house will hold, the porch stands by as a "cold storage" place where we stack pies and pans of mashed potatoes and other goodies. In the winter the porch becomes a place to stash Christmas decorations and boxes of this and that. It becomes a cluttered catch all that is a chore to clean in the spring. This year I put off cleaning until July. It vexed me. This wonderful space was cluttered with cast off furniture and things that did not belong there. It took an afternoon with the sun slanting in hotly to put things right. But now the porch is ready for a good book, a late candle-lit supper, early morning writing sessions. The windows funnel the calls of loons on the lake and fetch in the view of rye growing in the field across the street, goats, pony and chickens in the side yard. The floor isn't level and it needs to be refinished, but the porch is as comfortable as a pair of old blue jeans.
I work on Saturdays and have Sunday and Monday off. I love Saturday nights... free time stretches before me like a promise. This Saturday after I did my chores I plunked myself down in a lawn chair with a glass of cheap chillable wine on ice in a mason jar. Before I knew it one dog curled up under my chair, another hopped up in my lap, two more wandered about nearby. Taco the buckling came and laid beside me, and Chanel the pony grazed close by. Chris snapped this photo and I am so glad.
Chris joined me with a tall gin and tonic. A warm breeze was blowing and we had some quiet time to chat together. Then Luna goat and Taco decided to investigate what Chris was drinking. They LIKED it. I got to laughing... a good, long, wipe-your-eyes kind of laugh, watching those silly goats drink. Chris, nonplussed, shared then continued drinking, undeterred by a little goat spit. He is a patient, patient man.
We added a new little brown duck to the farm this weekend. She is as yet unnamed. It is a rather long story, but we had three adult ducks, then added another and a lot of fighting and unhappiness broke out. I gave the two trouble maker ducks to a friend, and then the new addition duck vanished. Belle, the remaining duck was a lonely creature. So my friends that I gave ducks to let me have a "pick of the litter" duckling that had hatched this spring. Belle is delighted. She spends all day showing her new friend around the place. It makes me smile to see how happy they look together.
There is a glut on the lobster market right now. Chris brought home 4 lobsters for $20. Not much more than buying a pizza and some bread sticks! We enjoyed a wonderful supper at the picnic table, watching the sun go down.
We had what Chris likes to call, "dinner AND a show!" watching the livestock graze in the high grass, wild birds flitting about, chickens pottering around eating bugs and scratching in the grass. Finally the mosquitoes drove us in, ending a lovely evening to begin our weekend.