Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pigs: The New Location

It would seem to me that the pigs have a nicer yard now than I do. I am so jealous!

The men have spent the past 2 weeks setting up the new home for our porcine friends. First they rapidly installed the barbed wire fencing. Then we moved the pigs into the enclosure. Over the days that followed, a gate was installed for easier access, and the bottom of the fencing was electrified.

The breeding pigs are learning the new electrified fence at different rates. Sometimes they try different spots, jumping back as their sensitive noses are zapped. Other times they jump back after touching non-electric parts of the wire, just out of anticipation. Little Miss Farmer(12) finds the process very amusing. It has brought out an evil streak in her. She continually suggests that we smear the electrified line of the fence with peanut butter to encourage the pigs to sniff and lick it. Such a naughty thing!

In other news, it is suspected that Mamas, Destroyer of Worlds, may be expecting. She is showing signs, and we anticipate piglets in mid-October. Hooray!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Animals on the Loose!

Saturday evening we attended a party at a fellow farmer's home a significant distance from our own. Their spacious, multi-acre property is where we will be relocating many of our animals. Some of the chickens are already there. We had a lovely time eating, drinking, and socializing. We got to know the many in-laws and relations and children of this family. We walked the paths and discussed where the pens would be set up for the pigs and where the chicken coop would be constructed so the chickens could start laying in the same place all the time. Then, as the evening cooled and the sun started to come down, there was a call from the neighbor back home: The two piglets that were on layover from their old home to their new had escaped from the dog crates.

It isn't completely clear how they got out. The bottom latch on the crate was a bit worn, so it is possible that they simply pushed it open and slipped out the door below the top latch. Additionally, the bottom of the crate has larger openings than the sides. With minimal digging, they could have lifted the crate and escaped through the bottom. The act of corralling them destroyed any evidence of how they might have escaped, however, so we may never know for sure.

The neighbor was able to get one of the piglets into the chicken run, and another was cornered. Before long, however, the one in the chicken run found a way out. We called our pig partner for assistance, and both pigs were in the other crate before we got home for the evening. This crate was reinforced with rat wire and has a fully functioning latch, so the piggies were secure. A quick, flashlight-guided survey of the realm showed no sign of damage. Aside from various items that had been moved around to try to contain the animals, everything looked completely normal, so we went to bed.

The Little Marauders... Contained Now

Sleepy Mr. Farmer awoke on Sunday morning to find that the chickens were out of the run! Apparently that piglet had left an opening in the run where it escaped. The chickens had been marauding in my garden for a few hours. The whole family was awakened to try to contain the little beasts. I made coffee. Mr. Farmer and Young Master Farmer rounded up chickens. Little Miss Farmer, in spite of her efforts to lure the chickens with worms, was not having success, so she worked on closing up the breech in the chicken fence. In just a few minutes the hens were secure, but the damage had been done.

The chicken's weeding of the garden looked kind of nice at first, then we saw the damage. The mint that I had so painstakingly rescued was completely gone.  I think the root has survived, but not a single leaf remains. All the baby butterfly-bush sprouts that I had transplanted from all over the yard and gardens were scattered to the winds. Several leaves were torn from the rhubarb. The brand new thyme was above ground, as was one cucumber plant. All of the full-grown dill was laying down on the ground.

Early morning gardening does get the blood flowing, I guess. So if there is a silver lining in all of this, that must be it. How often can I say that before 8 am on a Sunday morning I had located and replanted almost a dozen butterfly-bush sprouts, re-planted several herbs, and trimmed and re-mulched a rhubarb? Not many, that's for sure. I certainly earned my morning tea, and my title as Mrs. Farmer.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pocono Tree Rat

Sure, I can hear you saying it, "Aww... look at the cute little 'possum!" In his cage he looks innocent enough- perhaps even fuzzy and cuddly? I think not.

This little guy and his cohorts have been terrorizing my property for the past few days. First the dog started barking like the house was under attack. I went to the window to see a fat skunk waddling away from my herb garden. We warned the neighbor to keep an eye on his dog, who routinely runs without a leash, so that he could avoid disaster. The following evening we hear what sounded like a large rodent in the attic (ok, it's a crawlspace). We couldn't catch it in action, but it sounded much to big to be a mouse. When the sound changed to something that sounded like someone was moving furniture upstairs (we don't have an upstairs!), Mr. Farmer decided to set a live-catch trap in the yard.

I was a little surprised to see the opossum in the trap and not the skunk. After all, I knew the skunk was out there. He probably still is. It makes sense, however, that the noises overhead could be cause by the Pocono Tree Rat. For one, skunks don't climb. Secondly, 'possums are BIG, and they do climb. He was probably never in the house, just having a grand old time on the roof. They are rodents, and have the scratchy nails like mice and rats, so the scratching noises and the bumping noises all make sense.

Of course, that skunk is still out there somewhere....

*bites nails nervously*

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chickens: Boo Boo Chicken

Recent events regarding an injured chicken bring back memories of my very first chicken experience. (Cue Flashback) 

Spring, 1995:
It was back in what we referred to as the Blue House in Colesville, Maryland. Back in those days Mr. Farmer was Mr. Antique Car Repair Go-Fur, and I was Mrs. Pregnant and Big as a House. During that time, our landlady, who ran a string of daycare centers, allowed the children to hatch baby chicks as a project. As is common, however, she didn't think very far ahead about what to do with the chicks after they hatched out. That's where we came in.

Mr. Go-Fur was hired for the job of building the chicken run and coop on the animal-loving landlady's property. Until then, the baby chicks needed a place to brood. Our unused upstairs bathroom seemed like the perfect place. We installed a warmer lamp in the shower stall, and the vinyl flooring was easily cleaned.

I could not do the cleaning of the floor, considering my condition, but I could feed the chicks and change their water. I did so every day. Baby chicks need feed available almost constantly, and water without fail. Within a week or two, the babies started roaming away from the light and all over the bathroom. Once they were mobile and could easily get over the low ledge of the shower stall, they quickly started to run to the door when they heard the knob turning in anticipation of being fed. One day, when I opened the bathroom door, one of the chicks got too close, and her foot got caught under the door!

I felt really bad about maiming the chicken. I closed the door most of the way as gently as I could, and I pulled the chick out from under the door. Her foot was clearly broken, but it was too small to do anything about it. She limped a little, but she had no trouble getting around or getting food, and the other chicks did not bother her. I endured an almost never ending ribbing over the event, and the poor chick got nicknames ranging from Boo Boo Chicken to Gimpy.

All the surviving chicks (we only lost one or two) were moved to their big new pen just a bit later. They gave the landlady years of happiness and amusement. Occasionally she would have to rescue them from her dogs. Once or twice she was unsuccessful. But in the end, it is my understanding that Boo Boo Chicken was the last hen standing, and died of natural causes.

Our Chicks, 2010
Safer Brooder Than the Bathroom

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Gardening: Potatoes

Live Christmas trees are a family tradition for both sides of our family. What does that have to do with potatoes? Stay with me on this one; I'm getting to that. Most years we go cut our own tree, or pick a live one already cut for the living room. Just a few years back, we were convinced by a friend (and our first pig-partner) to purchase a balled tree from a charity he was working with. The price was fair, and since our area was more deciduous forest, we thought a little evergreen nearby would be nice. So we bought the tree, and we bought a wooden barrel that had been cut in half to hold (and hide) the root ball while it was in the house. The effect was very handsome... but what to do with the barrel once Christmas was over?

Ever since then, we have been growing potatoes in wooden barrels. They are attractive and convenient. Each Christmas dinner we put aside a few potatoes or sweet potatoes in paper bags on a shelf in the kitchen. When spring arrives, we remix the soil in the barrels, add the already-sprouted potatoes, and watch them grow all summer. At the end of the season, we just dump out the barrel onto a tarp, pick out the potatoes, and put the dirt back in until the next year.

We don't exactly have huge potato crops each year, but the cost is almost nothing, and potato plants are gorgeous to look at. They have extremely dark green leaves, and when they flower, the flowers are bright yellow. It is a very nice contrast, and the rugged-looking barrels are a great ornament. I would probably grow potatoes even if they didn't result in anything edible!

Aren't They Pretty? And they're not even full grown yet!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Gardening: Save the Mint !!

The act of writing "Save the Mint" is a bit bizarre to me. Mint is practically a weed. It is strong and hardy. It is so prolific that it can easily take over a garden bed if left unchecked. This year, however, my beautiful mint was in trouble.

Mint was our first herb garden plant. Aside from being tasty in tea all summer long, its full, bushy shape was the perfect camouflage for the hole under the front porch. That wonderful plant spread like wildfire and even inspired us to add additional plants to what would become our extensive kitchen garden.

2005 - Our Second Year of Growing Mint
See our first herb bed? There was 18 whole inches from the
front of the house to the stone wall!

Every year I pinched that mint back. I gave away sprigs of fresh mint. I gave away cuttings to share the love. I even moved it a few times. But when I moved it behind the privacy fence to keep it out of the main herb garden, it started to fail. The first year was fine, but this spring I found that all the good topsoil had washed away, leaving behind only the base sand that we had put down to make a level base for the generator. There are only two large roots left- one behind the fence and one creeping under the fence and back into the herb garden.

It was time for action. At Mr. Farmer's suggestion, I dumped a few shovelfuls of one and two-year-old manure on top of the struggling root behind the fence. I also took a cutting from the root that was sneaking under the fence and moved it out into the open in the side yard, buried it in good soil, and put a rock on top of the root so it won't wash away if we get strong rain in the next few weeks. Hopefully both of these will become healthy, wild patches of mint so that I can once again wonder what on earth I am going to do with it all. I miss my mint tea!!

That's Just Sad.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pigs: Relocating the Breeders

Finding a location for the pigs was hard. Actually relocating them was harder.

"Mamas - Destroyer of Worlds"

I actually slept through the moving of Mamas. The roof was leaking in the early morning hours, and the dripping sound made it hard to sleep, so when the sun came out and the dripping stopped, I went fast to sleep. I didn't hear any noise outside, so I asked my son how it went. He said, "Mamas didn't want to get in the trailer." That was no surprise of course, but I wondered why I hadn't heard anything. Did she really just walk out of her pen, up the ramp, and into the trailer? It couldn't be. I got showered and dressed as quickly as I could to be sure not to miss the moving of the other two.

"Wilma - The Pig No One Cared Enough to Even Name"

When the truck and trailer returned to pick up Wilma, I grabbed my gloves and went outside. We were armed with eggs and corn to encourage her, but she was disagreeable from the start. Mr. Farmer and his partner put a rope around her neck while Young Master Farmer, the Neighbor Boy, The Partner's Girlfriend and I lined the path between the gate and the back of the trailer, leaning on the ladders that were the temporary guide rails. Wilma really "didn't want to get in the trailer." She screamed like a banshee while Mr. Farmer pushed and his partner pulled and the rest of us body checked her from both sides until she was in the trailer. It was exciting... and it was LOUD!

Within moments of the trailer being closed and locked, Mr. Farmer's phone rang. It was a concerned neighbor who was getting phone calls asking what all the noise was. Mr. Farmer curtly informed him that we were moving the pigs, as instructed, and that they can all deal with the noise since it was what they wanted in the first place. His partner then shouted to any and all who could hear that they should mind their own business. A direct quote of what he shouted would not be appropriate. *Blush*

"Tiffany - Prince of Darkness"

As a general rule, Tiffany is our most agreeable pig. We are surprised by this, since boars are supposed to be - well - boorish, and he has been forced to live alone (which is uncomfortable for most pigs) to avoid any unscheduled pregnancies. As the last to move, he was responding well to being led by food toward the gate. He didn't even scream when we put the rope around his neck... at first.

All was going well until he bolted. He was heading straight for the trailer, so we just braced ourselves behind the ladder-walls and hoped he kept straight. Two steps before the ramp, Tiffany turned and raced back to the pen. The men wrapped the rope around a tree and let him rest a bit, then tried again. This time he bolted for the fence and tore right through- heading for the woods! The men were able to get the rope around a tree with Young Master Farmer's help. I gave Tiffany an egg to help calm him down, moved one of the ladders to change the direction of the chute, and braced for doing this the hard way.

Mr. Farmer pushed, his Partner and Young Master Farmer pulled, and Neighbor Boy steered. Tiffany screamed like a howling wind in a horror film as four men man-handled him toward the trailer. Just before the ramp, the rope slipped off Tiffany's ear. Neighbor Boy threw himself bodily on top of the 400 pound pig. Young Master Farmer put his shoulder into Tiffany's. Mr. Farmer grabbed Tiffany by the back leg and drove him like a wheelbarrow forward as his partner pushed back against him with the rope to get it back over his ear. In these same positions the rest of the transfer was made until the men (except Neighbor Boy) and the pig were in the trailer and the Girlfriend, Neighbor Boy and I closed up the trailer and locked the gate.

When the men exited the trailer through the smaller front door, we were all shaking. We checked ourselves and each other for injuries, since there was no way we were feeling anything with the amount of adrenaline we had running through us at that point. Aside from a few scratches from the barbed wire and what will surely be some aches in the morning, no one was injured. No one was kicked, scratched, or bitten. All in all, it was a successful transition.


I am sorry that the pigs are gone. I won't miss the smell or the worry that someone will try to make trouble for us. But the pigs were a great source of joy for Mr. Farmer, and the compromise of raising them elsewhere is hard for him. Using our yard in a more traditional fashion is a nice idea, but it is hard for me to see Mr. Farmer so upset. I really hope that one day we can raise them at home again.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chickens: Mrs. Farmer to the Rescue!

My Farmer Senses were tingling.

Farmer senses aren't very specific, but I knew I needed to go look at the chickens. I was hoping that I would see that they had begun laying eggs again. So I went to the farmyard, picked a bunch of the chickens' favorite weeds as a peace offering, and entered the enclosure. I tossed the weeds aside, and the hens all ran after them. I peeked inside the coop, and there was not a single egg. Not one. Again. I was so disappointed, thinking that my Farmer Senses were off, so I took a quick glance around the enclosure and headed for the door.

One chicken, however, wasn't swarming on the tasty greens I had brought in. She was tucked in the corner, dug into a hole. She wasn't dust bathing - the ground was wet and muddy from a recent rain. She was barely moving. Upon closer inspection, she was stuck. Her wing was stuck behind a fencepost and trapped between the pole and the chicken wire. The hole was dug in her attempts to untangle herself, and she was crammed tight into the corner. I couldn't get her loose.

She was so entangled, and her feathers were so beat up that I was sure she wasn't going to make it, so I did what any good, strong farmer's wife would do - I called Mr. Farmer and begged him to come home and put her down. He was too involved in his project to come and assist me, except to give the advice to either a) cut her throat, b) break her neck, or c) leave her there a while; if I hadn't come out to peek she would have been stuck there until he got home anyway. Something in his tone made me decide that I just had to act. This time I was not just going to let it go.

So I put on my gardening gloves and set out to work. I kicked the stones that were pushed up against the outside of the fence by the pigs away. That did not create as much "give" as I had hoped, and I was no closer to getting her out. So I went to the other side of the fence, and with superhuman (or at least supermom) strength I yanked the fence pole out of the ground. When I got back into the enclosure, the chicken had not moved, and I feared the worst. I was able to pick her up fairly easily at that point, and I carried her away to a waiting dog crate filled with straw. I closed the door and watched to see if she would move.

Within moments she was up and moving. She picked through the straw and even ate some of the grass that was coming through the bottom. She was moving in a normal manner - pecking and scratching and even shaking off the rain. She was dirty and wet and bedraggled, but she was alive and not bleeding.

The hen has been returned to the flock. Her wing is dropped and not moving, and her tail is pointed to one side, but she's eating and moving without any issue, and the other chickens are not bothering her. All because I saved her. Mrs. Farmer to the Rescue!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ducks: Destiny's Final Day

Mr. Farmer and his partner processed the ducks last week (you'll remember that we had decided to call them all "Destiny"). The beautiful Peking White Ducks were full grown and ready to go, right on schedule. They employed the large stainless pot for boiling water outside, and while it heated up, they put down the 8 corn-fed ducks.

Four of the ducks were cleaned, soaked in brine for several days, and frozen whole. The other 4 were left in the special brine a few days longer, then stuffed into the now-traditional knee-high nylon-stocking casing for a day in the smokehouse. They were not cured, so once the smoking was complete, they were also frozen.

Ducks in Stocking-Bags, Prepared for Smoking

 Do you know what the hardest part about smoking ducks is? Finding rolling papers big enough for them.

(Please understand that anytime someone drops by the house while we are processing ANYTHING through the smoker, I am forced to endure this same joke... over and over and over and over... I just HAD to share.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gardening: Corn?

I was resting on the porch the other afternoon when I saw an unfamiliar weed popping up beside the newly planted rosemary. I had never seen it before in my garden, so I reasoned that it must be some kind of tag-along from the rosemary start, which had come from a farm stand we had not used before. I dug it out and, to my surprise, attached to the roots was CORN!

Now there was a mystery: How did the corn get there? There was a perfect bunch, like someone had planted it. Did it come in with the rosemary? Did it fall out of Mr. Farmer's pocket while he planted the rosemary? Did the chickens somehow bring it over during their brief freedom a few days previously? Were the squirrels and chipmunks being industrious in hiding food even though it was spring?

One of the few negatives of making your own soil from manure is that it isn't always easy to tell when it is "ready". Apparently at some point in the process, 2 manure piles became one. So, when I was adding earth to the last section of the herb garden, I must have wandered into the newer part of the pile. A fair amount of undigested, unsprouted corn was in that part of the pile, and it ended up in my herb bed! Mystery solved.

Of course I was tempted to leave the corn grow, but that delusion passed quickly. We do not have the space or proper conditions for corn, and this was feed corn anyway. So I dug it up (in several places!) and fed the plants and seeds back to the pigs.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cooking: Macaroni Salad Shortcut

Here's a common scenario for your consideration.

Telephone rings.

Friend/Neighbor:   Hey! What are you doing for dinner tonight?
Mrs. Farmer:   I dunno; just throwing something on the grill, I think. You?
Friend/Neighbor:  The same. Wanna do it together? At the lake?
Mrs. Farmer:  Sure. I have hot dogs. I don't have buns though.
Friend/Neighbor:  I have buns. I have cheese and crackers!
Mrs. Farmer:  I can make a salad. I have paper plates and Kool-Aid!
Friend/Neighbor:  I have ketchup and mustard. See you in a half hour?
Mrs. Farmer:  You bet!

In recent days it has become clear that this scenario is going to continue to play out again this summer, over and over, just as it has in years past. It is a blessing and a curse, all at the same time. Impromptu barbecues at the lake are a lot of fun. They are a relaxing way to get together with friends. The kids can eat quickly and then run off to enjoy a little fresh air (and NO video games!) with their buddies. There are no dishes to wash, except for the serving pieces. The only downsides are the sunburn, the bugs, and of course the rush to get a nice salad made in under an hour when the cooked pasta needs to chill.

I found a solution to the hot pasta issue that works just perfectly... a stainless steel mixing bowl. When I need a pasta or macaroni salad in a hurry, I cook the noodles, drain them, toss with a little oil, and place in a stainless steel bowl. Then I put the bowl into the freezer for a few minutes. The metal bowl transfers the cold so quickly, that I can usually have ice cold pasta in 15 minutes or so. I have found that I do need to stir/toss the macaroni a few times during the cooling, otherwise a few noodles on top freeze while the ones in the middle remain warm. I just leave the spoon in the bowl for ease.

Happy grilling season, everyone!

I was just barely able to make the bowl fit this time!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chickens: Free Range Experiment

Mr. Farmer made a proposal, and I could not argue. The chickens had already been reported to the local authorities. The neighbors had already decided that they were a nuisance. We are low on cash for feed, and the yard is just full of grass, weeds, and tasty bugs and worms the chickens could eat. So, he let them out.

After tentatively pecking just around the door of the enclosure, the chickens soon made their way to the side of the pen where the old pig yard was. The soft, rich soil was teeming with bugs and worms, and the feeding frenzy was on! Occasionally a chicken would grab a worm and try to run away with it - resulting in a game that we like to call "chicken rugby". The chickens' first adventure into the outside world was very entertaining to watch.

Sadly, what seemed like a good idea took just a few short hours to turn bad. The chickens stayed largely in the fenced area I call The Barnyard (the fence was originally for hot tub privacy) at first. In fact, it was probably more than an hour before even a single chicken wandered out of that grass and bug filled area. After all, there is an aged manure pile back there that attracts many flies and worms, as well as their favorite weed, which I pick for them and throw into the enclosure a few times a week. Eventually, however, they ventured out into the front yard and started picking through my herb garden. Those greedy chickens dug up my new oregano plant, which needed to be replanted, and destroyed a fair amount of my parsley as well. If it weren't for Mr. Farmer's vigilance, who knows how much damage they could have caused?

So, when the chickens went back into the coop for the night, we closed them in for good. Completing that back fence to contain them is not in the budget right now, so I guess the food will have to keep coming to them for now - for the sake of my beautiful gardens.

Chickens Outside of the Enclosure

Friday, June 3, 2011

Unwelcome Visitor

Last month, while Mr. Farmer and I toiled away at making scrapple, there was an unexpected knock at the door. I peeked out the kitchen window and saw an unfamiliar white pickup truck with a vaguely familiar green tree painted on the door. I described it to Mr. Farmer, who is good at recognizing people by the vehicles that they drive, and he lowered his voice and said, "It's the township." I immediately remembered what the tree logo was, and I knew instantly why this person was making this not-so-social call. It was a time for quick thinking.

Johnny Law was persistant, unfortunately, and knocked a second time. It was louder this time, and with our tiny cabin, there was no way we could claim we hadn't heard, short of being passed-out drunk at 1 in the afternoon on a weekday (which has never happened).  I decided to greet him (I am calmer than Mr. Farmer, even if I am not as fast a thinker under stress), try to read him, and chose whether to play dumb or be very compliant.

Johnny sounded like he was a combination of being a little annoyed that he had to take time out of his busy day to see me with just a pinch of man I hope this crazy hillbilly chick doesn't pull a shotgun on me on the side, so I chose the compliant approach. When he told me in a well-rehearsed, matter-of-fact tone that the animals must go, I replied that we weren't looking to upset anyone; we are just trying to feed ourselves. "They must go, just the same," he said, so I replied (with as little evil glint in my eye and as much wide-eyed, mountain-girl innocence as I could muster), "Well, we raise them to eat, so I know how to get rid of them." The look on his face when I said that let me know in an instant that I had handled him properly. He did NOT want any details on how they would be disposed of. I think his crisp, white, oxford shirt became suddenly crisper.

At that point, part of me was wishing I hadn't removed my apron to answer the door. That would have solidified the issue in his mind, I'm sure, just from the look of me. At any rate, after an intense call from the home office that made him seem even more annoyed to be dealing a trifling matter like li'l old me, he took my information and said he would send me something in the mail.

More than a month passed and neither official recognition of the visit, nor threatening letter, nor pamphlet, nor printout of the zoning code has arrived in my mailbox. Maybe I read him right, and he really didn't care about what we were doing. Maybe our small farm was super-low on his list of priorities. Maybe he assumed that when I said, "I know how to get rid of them," that I surely would, without further influence from his office. Like I told Johnny Law, we are prepared at any time to dispose of our animals, and not to waste them.

Our relief was short-lived, however, as another official has since approached the property. Young Master Farmer greeted him since neither of us were home. Apparently "They" mean business. So, we are in the process of relocating the animals to a farm that is, sadly, an inconvenient distance away. The landowner is willing to take meat in barter for use of his land, so long as we pay all the expenses of building the fences, bringing in the feed, etc. It is going to be an almost epic move, but the alternative of putting down all the animals and abandoning our hopes of trying to breed the pigs is just too painful to consider. Wish us luck!

Apparently, THIS didn't work.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pigs: Scooter

It's the heat of the day and the pigs are resting lazily in the relative cool of their shelters. However, a certain runty, black and white piglet we like to call "Scooter" has already performed his favorite trick: escaping from (and returning to) the pig enclosure. Scooter is proving to be a handful.

A few weeks ago when Mr. Farmer went to collect the two breeder piglets he had bartered for and purchase a couple more for resale, he ended up with one more than expected. Scooter weighs less than 10 pounds and is learning to walk on a harness designed for a small dog. He is also learning to harass his litter mates by slipping out through a gap in the fence, having a little snack on the accidentally spilled food out there, then returning smugly to the safety of the enclosure. The little guy actually looks like he is proud of himself!

Scooter is so small and so quick that it is almost impossible to photograph him. Like most pigs, however, he is very social and does not like to be alone. So, on the few occasions when we have taken him around to show him off, we usually take our partner's new puppy, Ivory, along for company. They are becoming fast friends, and when they rest together I can snap a quick picture.

Ivory and Scooter in the Van

We spent the better part of a week closing up all the places in the fence where little Scooter can slip out. We will continue to board him until our buyer's new pen is constructed and he moves on to his new home. It is somewhat of a relief that we are selling him. We have had a lot of fun with him, and it would be a little difficult for me to have to be involved in his ultimate destiny. After all, runts don't get to breed- that just wouldn't make sense. So, until he's ready to move on, we are going to have many more adventures with him. I'm sure of that.