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Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Strange Visitor On a Typical Afternoon

This afternoon, the youngest FindingOurWay and I were home alone. We stepped outside to for a little playtime and then had plans to water the garden. As I started down the back steps, I saw something running away from me out of the corner of my eye. At first, I was wondering how Butterscotch (our dog) got out. Then I realized that Butterscotch was in her pen and it was too furry to be a chicken. Upon closer look, I realized it was pink rather than tan and noticed it had a short little tail and floppy ears. A pig.

We live in an area that is so heavy in commercialized farming that when my husband would mention wanting animals, people would immediately tell him which commercial companies were "building houses." From hearing people talk, this is the way it seems to work at the "houses". The pigs are packed into a shelter with four sides and a roof. Periodically throughout their lives they are loaded onto a truck and moved to another farm that specializes in older pigs. One of the jobs every day that these farmers have is to remove many dead pigs from the houses. My understanding is that the pigs die both from disease and other effects of overcrowding. This is not where my family prefers to get their food…although for now we do buy some pork from the store.

We have seen these pigs, before as we were walking and I remembered MrLivingOurWay telling me how dangerous they were. I called some farmers on our road to asked if the pig was theirs and if it was going to hurt our chickens or us. They told me the pig would leave the chickens alone but they didn't know what kind of diseases the pig might give the chickens. The first farmer told me that if MrLivingOurWay was home, he should shoot it because it would make good meat. I had our four year old at home so I wasn't going to pull out a gun on my own. He gave me the phone number of another farmer who told me that “his boys” would come and it get it if it was still around after a few hours. By “boys”, he meant employees.

The FindingOurWay and I went out to the back porch, sat on the swing and watched the pig run around the yard. It was rooting at everything and seemed to particularly like the wet spot at the edge of the property. The dog growled and the chickens were back in their little fenced in area.

After awhile, the pig left, the dog stopped growling, and the chickens were starting to float back into the yard. Everyone seemed relieved except that the FindingOurWay who is asking when the pig is going to come back. We went about our business of watering the garden. The FindingOurWay put on her swimsuit and I squirted her with the water hose every now and then to keep her entertained.

MrLivingOur way said that I should have found a way to keep the pig penned up until he got home so we could have kept it. Will the pigs come before the goats?

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