A Pig Tale

There are not too many stories that start: “So, let me tell you about the time I inserted a thermometer into a pig’s bottom”. This is one of them.

Kunekune piglet

At the time of the events recorded here, Nell was only about this size. Photo by Mira.

It was our family thermometer, the one I use to closely monitor my nearest and dearest when they complain of a headache. Since hearing about Clive Wearing in a psychology lecture I have a morbid fear of encephalitis (thanks for that tertiary education), and the kids got quite good at pre-empting my questions. ‘Yes mum, I can look at a bright light and put my chin  on my chest’*, ‘Go on then take my temperature’.

Anyway, since it’s the only one we have, on this day it was that same thermometer I was sliding into Nell’s rear. Family members will be relieved to know that I popped it into the finger of a latex glove first for purposes of hygiene (so we’re all good yes?).

Nell was really sick. We were in no doubt about this, as she had declined to eat breakfast. It takes a lot to make a pig stop eating, and when they do, things are critical. I’d tried hand feeding her and dripping water into her mouth, to no avail. I was on the phone to the vet. The advice was to take her temperature, so here we were.

The good news? Her temperature was normal (for a pig). The vet’s next hypothesis; could Nell have have eaten something poisonous? Okay, like what? I consulted Dr. Google.

Muddy pig

Nell, recovered, and being a muddy pig.

And was informed that pretty much everything is toxic to pigs. The list was so long it made me wonder how sus scrofa domesticus have made a go of the evolutionary process at all. After a quick scan of the pig pen though, I was able to confirm it was free of any of the named toxins, with the possible exception of a large eucalyptus tree. Could this be the cause of Nell’s sore tummy? The bark around the base of the trunk did look a bit nibbled. Best be on the safe side and move the pigs.

Pig moving at that time involved dismantling and re-erecting a temporary fence consisting of 25 metres of electrified mesh. Relocating Nell was no problem, she was too sick to leave the large dog kennel which was serving as a pig house. Fig, by contrast, once the mesh was down, saw wide open spaces and legged it. If I had known more about how Summer would react to a piglet running loose in the paddock I might have moved the ponies out of the area first. Only I didn’t.

Picture this pony looming over you with a much less benevolent expression, ‘MY paddock young pig’.

Chaos ensued. Fig ran. Summer chased Fig, looking as if she might stomp on her (wild pigs eat wild ponies, and Summer was taking no chances). I tried to place myself between the piglet and the pony, all the while telling Summer ‘no’ whilst trying to scoop up our little escapee. I can tell you right now there’s nothing like a few laps around a paddock to improve your fitness, and to make you wish fervently that you had signed up for a nice straightforward gym circuit programme instead of a farmlet.

To top things off, by the time I managed to catch Fig and get everyone settled again, the puppy inside our house had become so agitated she’d destroyed an armchair (Act of Dog). Nell recovered. The armchair, did not.

So was the culprit the eucalyptus, in the paddock, with the lead pipe toxic bark? I don’t think we’ll ever really know, but all’s well that ends well, as a certain famous playwright once said. And it did. End well. Even for the chair, which, truth to tell had been on my reupholstery list for some years.

So there you have it, a pig tale about the tail end of a pig. And by the way, if you need to check your temperature, you can find the thermometer in the hall cupboard. Don’t all rush at once.

 

* Symptoms of encephalitis for anyone who wants to start worrying are a headache, with some or all of: a stiff neck, photosensitivity, vomiting and a raging temperature. You’re welcome!

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Evening Dress

In which Chrissy B provides, for your entertainment, photographs and description of her Friday evening pony wrangling outfit.

Aussie hat and jewellery

… topped off with a singlet, an oilskin hat and a bit of bling.
Oh, and that’s a random stalk of hay stuck to the hat band.

This is what happens when you come in from work and change into something comfortable; then, forgetting you are still wearing jewellery (having made an effort in your work ensemble), you head out to coax your little fat pony into her overnight ‘low grass’ area.

Fortunately when you live on a fun size snippet of land in a rural area, only your nearest and dearest are subjected to your unusual outfits. I’ve been known to stay in sleepwear all day, even walking the dogs and mowing the lawn in my PJs. I love the sartorial freedom of living on a farmlet.

What’s the weirdest outfit you’ve worn recently?

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Podium

What sheep do when they think no-one’s watching…

Our neighbour’s sheep concentrate hard as they skilfully arrange themselves into a tableau. This particular scene quite clearly depicting a moment from the 1984 Olympic medal ceremony for synchronised swimming.

Sheep on logs

Evidence of sheep antics captured by Stephen of House Kragbol.

Meanwhile our sheep are playing poker in the bottom paddock.

What are you getting up to in your spare time?

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Three of a Kind?

The Forbearing Husband and I have just returned from a few days in the capital. While on the bus travelling to the airport for our return flight, we exchanged these messages with those holding the fort at the farmlet.

Messenger screenshot

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Messenger screenshot

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So there you have it. The adventures of three delinquent Whiltshire ewes, an explanation for the non-appearance of our anticipated final lamb, and a heads-up about a pending post on a thermometer and a piglet’s bottom. The excitement just never ends.

Stay tuned…

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Leg of Lamb

For reasons which will be explained in tomorrow’s post, maternity ward productivity on the farmlet remains at a stand-still. While I leave you to wonder what’s up with that, here is a blog post about this year’s first-born lamb. He had a little adventure all of his own.

Read on for a story about the leg of a lamb. It’s okay — nothing culinary.

Lamb with splint on broken leg

Fluro accessorising for the Discerning Lamb About Town. Or in this case, in the Bottom Paddock.

See, that’s the leg we are talking about. The one with the bandage.

A few days after this little chap was born we noticed him limping. Puzzled as to what might be ailing someone so very new to the world, we asked Linda-Down-the-Lane if she would mind coming over to have a look. Linda-Down-the-Lane sold us our sheep, and she still kindly helps us out when sheep-wrangling tasks exceed our limited expertise. We are gradually learning the ropes, but this was a situation we thought best handed over to a Real Farmer.

On examination our consulting shepherd diagnosed a broken leg. We’re all at a bit of a loss as to how this happened, but Linda thought Broken Lambie’s mother may have accidentally sat on him. Careless!

Lamb with splint on broken leg

Could this doting mother have been the cause of a broken lambie?

Well, there we were, with Linda holding 15kg+ of lamb, while Daredevil Deborah and I sprinted around looking for leg-mending materials at short notice. The options were fairly limited, but we managed to gather together a couple of sticks and a cohesive bandage with which to improvise a splint.

Linda cuddled our patient, who seemed quite relaxed. He even had a little nap while I played at being vet. One thing about living with a menagerie is that you do get a bit of practice at impromptu animal repair. The last time I stabilised a broken a leg it was with similar materials. That crippled white chicken made a good recovery, so we felt cautiously confident that our makeshift splint would do the trick.

Whiltshire lamb

Splint removed, Mended Lambie sneaks up behind one of the twins to say ‘BOO’.

And it did. We removed the splint last weekend, and little lamb seems quite well-mended. I spotted him this morning bouncing around with the young twins looking for all the world as if we’d replaced his leg with a spring. The wonderful thing about baby lambs is… they heal up fast.

Anyone else been fixing things? Next on my list is a tea towel with a hole.

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Two-fer Two

Nothing much more to say. I’m just here with the promised extra pics of the twins born yesterday.

Whiltshire Twin Lambs

Mother and babies seem to be thriving.

Whiltshire twin lambs

Already they seem bigger.

Whiltshire lambs

It’s still not clear whether one is a girl, but the one closest to us has been positively identified as a boy.

The last hold-out mama remains obstinately pregnant. The Forbearing Husband and I are off tomorrow for a few days in Wellington so perhaps she’ll hold on until we get back. Gestation, like love, cannot be hurried.

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Two-fer

Our super-sized mumma finally gave birth this morning and now we see the reason for that excessively large girth.

Twin Whiltshire lambs

Yup, we have twins!

I grabbed these photos in fading light after I got home from work so they are not fabulous quality. I’ll see if I can get some better shots of our new additions tomorrow morning. I wanted to let you know straight away though, since you have been Humming Hopefully for a while now.

Twin Whiltshire lambs

Looks like we might have a boy and a girl…

Twin Whiltshire lambs

…but it’s pretty hard to be sure just yet.

Until tomorrow then. I’m off now to count sheep!

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A Tiny Day

The Forbearing Husband and I made Tiny into our base camp today while a nice man called Hamish prepped our kitchen floor ready for the new [redacted] to be laid. Not telling yet, I want to keep you in suspense a little while longer!

Tiny house with dogs

Dog tired after moving all that kitchen paraphernalia around.

It’s felt a little like being on holiday. More so after Forbearing Husband ventured into the kitchen to extract the kettle, and our tea making supplies. Because really, what kind of a holiday is it without a nice cup of tea?

If we are out here long enough another raid may have to be staged to obtain the gin and a bottle of tonic. Limes we have aplenty, on a tree just beside our tiny abode. Handy!

Tiny house writer

Tiny house writer.

Book and cup of tea

Tiny house tea drinker.

So, Forbearing Husband has been working at his scribblings*. I have been reading, and futzing with emails. Any minute now it will be time to brush and feed the ponies, and then we are off out for dinner. A wise choice I thought, since the kitchen is largely empty.

Kitchen floor with compound

Floor prepped kitchen, looking towards dining area.

and the living room looks like this:

Messy room

Sigh, we’ll be sorting that out after dinner.
And just when things were almost back to only our normal state of disorder.

Worst of all, there seems to be a fine film of dust on every surface. Oh wait, I think maybe that was already there.

How was your Thursday? Anyone else experiencing a fine film of dust?!

* And most worthy scribbling they are, to be sure.

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What’s cooking?

Apart from those unborn lambs!

Granola

A new batch of AntiGene Muesli. Here’s the recipe.

Visitors to the farmlet have been missing their fix of AntiGene Muesli over the last few months (sorry Little Quail and Nurse Jenny). One way and another I’ve been too busy (or lazy), to get to Bin Inn and stock up on the raw ingredients.

All sorted now though after a bumper shop last week. And we’re cookin’.

Take note, you sheep-mamma’s with lambs in the oven. Your turn next to deliver the goods.

Anyone else getting started on something they’d been putting off?

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Expecting

I was hoping to be able to share cute photos of the rest of our baby lambs today. I’m afraid there has been a small hitch in that plan though — they haven’t been born yet. That’s right, we still have just one mother and baby pair, and two increasingly broad-in-the-beam mums-to-be.

Pregnant Whiltshire ewe

Mother-in-waiting #1. Surely to goodness this must be twins.

Our sheep gestation calculations suggested that we would have lambs at the beginning of September. Our first boy was born on the 5th, so naturally we felt certain there’d be more babies along at any minute. Now, after eight days with zero additional deliveries, I can only guess that Mr Ram — overwhelmed by exhaustion after the first impregnation — had to send out for oysters. Courier service to rural areas can take some time.

Pregnant Whiltshire ewe

Mother-in-waiting #2. This one is a first time mum.

Don’t worry, I’ll let you know as soon as there is a population increase. While we’re waiting perhaps you could hum a little something in a Hopeful Manner? I’ll leave the choice of tune to you.

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