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A Surfeit of Pigs - Yard Pig
A Surfeit of Pigs

A Surfeit of Pigs

Early this spring, I was at a farm in the town next door and couldn’t help but notice the pigs.  Everywhere, all sizes, rooting around.  There were bales of hay strewn about in the snow, and the pigs were digging in.  American Guinea Hogs were popular with homesteaders in the 1800’s for their ability to survive on whatever they could glean from the environment.   Perhaps, I thought, a collection of these pigs could renovate the field in front of our house, a field that in the distant past had served as sheep pasture but in the past couple of decades had been turned into a field of Christmas trees, the remnants of which were now overgrown and dying.  So I forgot about my pig raising prohibition.  I’d set them to work, and everything would be fine.  I have a vague plan of turning these four open acres into a cider orchard, and the pigs, I reasoned, would be one small piece of the puzzle.

Friends and neighbors learned of my pig plan and wanted in, and defying both logic and good sense, I settled on a dozen.  (My past as a baker and an oyster farmer may have subconsciously figured into this.)  Michelle made sensible queries into the wisdom of my dozen, but I could not be dissuaded.  Besides, I needed a distraction from a terminal case of occupational ennui which, if I pause to think about it, is the source of most of the mischief I’ve been able to make over my last two dozen or so years of not knowing what to do with myself. Unlike most of the things I’m forced to care about in the course of earning a living, I have no trouble caring about pigs.  Do they have everything they need?  Are they comfortable?  Are they free to be pigs?  Did the electrician install the two way dimmer switch in exactly the right place?  Is a 1.25″ schedule-40 conduit the right size to run a 1″ flexible propane line?  Why can’t we mount the Direct TV dish on the roof?  All valid questions for someone interested in the answers.

Yes, I have a dozen pigs plus two.  Truffle and Trout, both registered breeding sows are here for the summer to avoid unwanted, unregistered pregnancy.  Since all of my pigs are female, there is no choice here but chastity.

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