End of Summer Update

End of Summer Update

My pigs had a decent summer enjoying the deep shade of tall, majestic red oaks.  Even though it was on the hot and dry side for a summer on the Maine coast, they didn’t spend nearly as much time wallowing as they did last summer.  They did, however, shed their thick winter coats, and spent the rest of the summer sporting military style brush cuts.  Their hair is back, though, just in time for morning frosts and the deep snow right around the corner.  Much to my disappointment, the oak trees chose this summer to go light on the acorns.  It’s part of their own strategy for survival, and I can’t blame them for that, but it’s not doing my pigs any good.  I know I’ve read this somewhere, but I believe it goes something like this:  If nut bearing trees such as oaks produced a steady, healthy crop of nuts every year, it would allow for larger populations of the animals such as squirrels who rely on acorns to make it through the winter.  After all, if there were always enough squirrels to clean the forest floor of what could become the next generation of oak trees, the oaks would, over time, suffer.  So the trees throw the nut eaters a curve ball every once and a while in the interest of long term self preservation.  Two summers ago there were so many acorns on the ground in October that it made for hazardous walking conditions, (Michelle, out for a run in the woods, wiped out going around a corner and twisted her ankle.) and last year saw a decent crop.  So it’s no surprise that there are a lot of squirrels around, and, as a result, more squirrel road kill.  Click on the link for a Maine Public story about the topic.    All of this is to say that it would have been nice for my pigs to forage hundreds of pounds of acorns, but this year it’s not going to happen.

Earlier this summer I sent Peace Ridge Sanctuary an email giving them an update and asking for their thoughts on the issue of my pigs.  I did not receive a response.  Peace Ridge has specific dates during the summer and fall when they’re open to the public, and I thought I’d attend the one this weekend, check the place out, talk to someone face to face.  But a visitor this summer inadvertently introduced some sort of equine virus to the farm, and they’ve cancelled scheduled open houses until further notice.  So it looks like my pigs and I will be spending another winter together.


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