Tuesday, March 29, 2011
As my faithful stalkers know, every year here at Pine Ridge Farm, we welcome some little pigs. We feed them over the summer, turning them into big pigs. In the fall, we take them to Eickman's, where they are turned into little white packages. I know, I know, it seems cruel. But the pork...Oh, the pork...You cannot understand when I describe the flavor and texture of home-raised pork unless you've had some. If you have, lucky you.
We usually buy our feeder pigs (that's what they're called, folks) from a family we know through church and 4H. Sadly, this year they had a bad farrowing (the process of piglets being born is called farrowing) and had no extra pigs to sell to us. So my friend Mike called around yesterday and found us pigs. He called me last night, and I agreed to go pick them up today.
I tried to leave home by 8:30. Those who know me know that that didn't happen. But I did leave by 8:50; not too shabby for me, especially in the morning hours. My first stop was Mike's house, where I picked up his son, Jason. Then I stopped at Tractor Supply for shavings (I did not want pig...stuff...in the back of my truck without wood shavings; they make it easier to clean.) Then we (myself, Jason and Miss Mary) were off.
Riding along with two teenagers is always interesting. Riding through the country to pick up pigs added another layer of interesting. These two have handled pigs for years before this, and, even for my daughter, there's no "Ick" factor. They surprised me with one comment, though. "Man," Jason said, "These people are out in the middle of nowhere!" I laughed out loud. "Jason," I said, "Firstly, where do you think we would go to get baby pigs? Certainly not suburbia!" He could only agree that such a trip would involve wide open spaces and rural routes. "And secondly," I continued, "it might surprise you both to learn that, for lots of people, WE live in the middle of nowhere!"
"Oh, yeah," they both said, mystified.
Then there was the...fragrance. We noticed it as soon as we returned to the truck after loading the sweeties. Eau de Pig. It was expected, but they both made comments like, "Well, you did make us do all the handling," and "Hey, we can't help it." Jason may also have commented that he saved his morning shower for after the trip. While we stood in Culver's, waiting to order, he did say, "Man, I stink!" I did notice something unexpected when, after we had lunch, I was checking on the pigs. I noticed that the smell in the back of the pickup, where the pigs were, was not as intense as the smell in the cab, where the people were! I guess those wood shavings really did the job! We should have had some in the cab!
Eventually, we made it home, the pigs were delivered to pens at both houses, and Mary cleaned up. I headed out a little bit ago to see how they had settled in. More on that tomorrow.