|Spock, looking into the yard.|
I turned 50 last October. In 50 years I have done a lot of things. I have owned probably 30 dogs, maybe 20 horses, llamas, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, goats, one sheep, parakeets, conjures, doves, a quaker, one ferret, and multiple tiny rodents. I am an animal lover and I have enjoyed most evey type of pet and farm animal that I have ever been around. What I had never done before; however, is to own a pig. This year, my 15 and 16 year olds are raising market swine for 4-H for the very first time and we are raising a 3rd pig for our own use. Wow! I was not prepared for this.
|Spock, Olivia, and Ariadne wanting in the yard.|
I have always been told that pigs are smart. I had to experience that one to understand it too. It has been amazing to see my 16 year old son train these swine to obey voice commands. They aren't doing tricks or anything, but they have learned "NO!" and other commands that make them easier to handle. I am certain that if we took the time, they would do anything a dog can be trained to do and more.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about being a swine owner is how often idioms with the word pig in them come to mind. Whenever I watch them eat, play, wallow or just exist, I am amazed at how "piggish" they are. When they are being pushy and getting pig snot on my clothes I think they are pig headed. They eat "like a pig". They "pig out". They are rapidly becoming "fat as a pig". I know now that buying a "pig in a poke" would be a foolish thing indeed, that a silk purse is indeed much different from a pig's ear. I understand what "squealing like a stuck pig" means or at least what squealing like an inconvenienced pig sounds like. My dad's old idiom, "happy as a dead pig in the sunshine" makes more sense to me, though my pigs thankfully are alive when they are stretched out basking.
|Ariadne learns a new trick.|
My pigs are pastured and therefore there is no pig odor and no icky wallowing, so some of those idioms thankfully are just left to the imagination. Our pigs get dusty, and sometimes get their food all over their faces while "pigging out" but are all in all, clean, intelligent and very interesting. Our pigs are not as affectionate as our goats were, but I think they will also be a little easier to send to market. As the cute factor begins to be replaced by the massive hog look, it gets easier and easier to imagine them looking like the butcher diagram in my cook book. I am thankful for the new experience and the learning and entertainment we have gotten from them. I will also enjoy the aroma of bacon and ham this fall. This pig raising experiment hasn't been "easy as stealing from a blind pig", but certainly something I think I would try again. Would I "kiss a pig?" Not "in a pig's eye"!
|Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!|