Departing cows, arriving pigs, part 3

We’d already made tentative arrangements with a farmer near Rocky Mount to come by and see his pigs. He had Tamworth and Duroc cross pigs, which is a cross of something I like. He also said he had plenty of pigs on the ground which was great because I needed someone who was serious about the business and didn’t have a few piglets here or there. This is mainly because I don’t want a repeat of the medical crisis we’ve just emerged from that was caused by our last pig purchase.

I talked to Frankie and his wife Tracy and as promised they were available to meet us on our way home from Little Washington. We drove to Bethel, which was almost exactly on our way home and thanks to the Waze app on my phone we found it quickly. Have I mentioned how much I love Waze?  If you don’t have it yet, stop what you are doing and get it now. Free and awesome.

Anyway, we pulled into the farm and were met with dogs coming from every direction to say hello. However we didn’t see any two legged critters to meet us so Spork and I wandered over to a barn where I heard a bandsaw mill running. Well, I walked over. Spork was immediately enamored with all the dogs and was making friends quickly.

After getting the sawmill operators attention, I was fortunate to meet Frankie and then shortly his wife Tracy. They were absolutely lovely people and people after my own heart. They were homesteading about 250 acres and had:

Draft horses
Jersey milk cows
All varieties of dogs

And I know at least 10 other things I’ve forgotten. Frankie was apologizing for the shape of his farm, complaining that the rain had made everything a mess. Heck, my place looked like Brunswick Stew, I certainly wasn’t going to say a word. After a tour and some conversation on pigs, we decided to take 8 gilts that had “gone to the prom” with a boar who got loose accidentally. Some are bred, some are not. We’ll figure it out shortly which is which.

Frankie said if I’d back up my trailer into this tight little space, he’d load the pigs. The space was tight because his backhoe had run out of fuel, then out of battery and couldn’t be started. We worked around some sweet potatoes and tried to maneuver the trailer into the right spot. Unfortunately the ground was soupy and I got stuck, a recurring theme.

After getting pulled out, we set up barriers and an awesome mechanical portable pig scale (I was most jealous). Frankie said the pigs would hop on the trailer, we’d weigh them on the trailer, then move them into the locked portion of the trailer. Having already dealt recently with Houdini, I thought, “Yeah right!” However to my amazement the first pig that Frankie let out of the pen hopped right into the trailer and right onto the scales. Folks, Frankie loaded 8 pigs onto my trailer, the smallest of which weighed 175 pounds and the largest was 305. Only one balked at hopping in with no ramp. The rest jumped in like we were going to go get ice cream. I see what pig wrangling is supposed to look like!

After more pleasantries, and a large check written off the farm account, Spork and I headed home. We arrived about 5:15 and went through the process of unloading the pigs. Miguel looked like he was ready for anything as I told him the story of how these pigs just hopped onto the trailer and how laid back they were. He looked on, thinking “Gringos don’t know pigs!” I could just tell. I opened the door and the first pig hopped down daintily, took one look around, and walked straight into the stall we had waiting for her. The rest shortly followed and we had all the pigs in the hospital barn for quarantine. We are going to give them a couple of days and then turn them into their own paddock. A couple are already showing signs of dropping a litter so we are hopeful for piglets shortly here at the farm. Of course we’ll have pics of the little cuties once they are born.

After unloading the pigs, Cotton came over to see me. It’s not unusual that Cotton comes to see me, however this time I was surprised to find she was practically wearing the same pants as me. I couldn’t get away from her. It was then that I remembered all the other dogs we’d seen. Cotton looked at me like I’d been cheating on her. I tried to explain that I’d barely petted those other dogs, and besides they weren’t nearly the dog that Cotton was. I received the cold shoulder from her the rest of the night. Women!

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