Monday, June 29, 2009
These Little Piggies Came Home
Now the number of livestock is complete, for two little gilts arrived this weekend. It wasn't necessarily our intent to pick girls, it just happened that way. At first, I chose a long sleek bodied pig of undisclosed gender and climbed into the small nursery pen with the owner, Nancy. - There are several reasons you put small pigs in a little enclosure, one is they feel more secure, and another is they are like greased bullets to catch. - She positioned herself on one side of the pen and I the other so we could work the piglets back and forth between us and close in on the one of our choice. My husband took a ring side seat to watch. I'm sure it must have been quite a sight as two nearly fifty year old women dove, snatched, and scrambled, to catch eight week old pigs. Most of the time, we only caught the breeze left by the pigs as they escaped our grasps. Well, not every time, for there was the time I snatched pig poo. Nancy began to profusely apologize as she saw my smeared hand. I stopped her by holding up my right hand which had several drops of dried blood on it. I had forgotten to wash my hands in the rush to leave for her place. Kirk had changed the gender of our calf, Pedro, from bull to steer while I helped hold him still. That was right before we left.
"Oh, well, then this is no problem.", Nancy said with a smile after hearing my explanation, and we proceeded to nab the first little pig. Then she handed her over the fence to Kirk, who placed her in the horse trailer.
The second one was another story as he alluded us time after time. He had this little kick that he did when he felt your hands closing around him. It was quite effective as it sprung him out of our grasp.
After I missed a half dozen times, I tried landing in front of him on my knees to block his path as I lurched for him. He just used my arms and legs for a springboard and sailed off. When Nancy finally nabbed him and up ended him, she turned him our way showing us his umbilical cord hernia and told us to choose another pig.
I eyed the decreasing choices and pointed to the next longest piglet while grinning at her little pop belly. After a few rounds around the pen, and a few misses by us both, I caught hold of her legs. Then handed her over to my husband and climbed over the fence. I studied his face wondering at the fact that he didn't have a grin on it. We must of presented some pretty good entertainment for him as he hasn't teasingly called me Grace for nothing all these years. But, to Kirk's credit, he never said a word or even let loose a snicker, after all he hasn't reached fifty-two without learning something - like it could have been him.
As we left the barnyard, we were trying to figure out why Nancy's great grandma would plant corn in clusters of three or four plants. For we had been visititing with Nancy's mom when we first arrived at the ranch. I had questioned her about why she planted her corn in clusters and not rows and asked if it was to help them withstand the winds? She said,"No", leaned against her hoe, gazed out at her garden, and then back at me. "My mom just did it that way."
Nancy's mom is in her late seventies and spry. In fact, she said she had been working in the hay fields that morning. Kirk and I commented as we journeyed home on how good she looked and how agile she moved for a women of her age. Then I laughed and said, "Ranch women are some tu..ff birds." They live a challenging life and it seems to keep them young. Whether its the hard work, open air, or the fresh food, I don't know. I do figure that there must be a good reason Great Grandma planted the corn that way and next year, I'm going to put some of my patch in the same way, just in case they know something I don't.
In this windy country where the season is short, and the elevation is over five thousand feet, with clay soil that packs hard, one can use all the help they can get gardening. Then again, who knows, Great Grandma might of planted her corn in clusters because her mother always did it that way.
P.S. I named the kitten Percy, it's a boy. You know Purr... see?