Well folks, I had all intensive plans to tell you all about the fun of butchering chickens and picking apples and all the other fun things that have been going on around here. The mini version of all that is:
Fall has come upon us quite nicely here at Heritage Farm. We’ve got loads and loads of apples that we keep bringing in and slowing down all the other things. We have 5 varieties now available and they are awesome. Pete doesn’t think that they are quite sweet enough yet for his taste, but I love them. We have Liberty, Freedom, Jonafree, Empires and Golden Delicious. YUM! Garden picking is just about concluded; we still have a few things that need gathered. The restaurant stuff like cabbage, kale, parsley, and hot peppers. In addition to that we have sweet potatoes that we need to dig and a few minor other things growing, but on the whole we’re just about done. Pretty soon we’ll do our yearly trip to the Farmer’s Inn. It’s a restaurant in Sigel (Pete took me to dinner there the night he proposed) and its tradition that the entire farm staff go to dinner there to celebrate the season’s conclusion. This year we’ll still have a week or two of turkey processing to do after the dinner but it’s all mostly done.
But let me tell you about yesterday…
We needed to catch a pig. Two pigs actually. We had told the place in Ridgway that we were bringing them today. The usual plan is this: we take the trailer out to the field, put a little feed right in front of the door, and a bigger pile of feed inside the trailer. The pigs usually head into the trailer (they were very hungry for feed) and then we slide the door and ta-da its ready to go. Today it didn’t go exactly as planned. Pete, Manuel and I drove the tractor/trailer out to the gate in the woods where the pigs were hanging out at the gate waiting for us. It was muddy, I mean REALLY muddy. Praise the Lord for Muck boots! I love them ( I could write an entire post about how much I love them) The mud was well over my ankle, thick and gloppy. I had the job of standing at the slider door, ready to slide it shut when the pigs went into the trailer. The pigs were enjoying the little piles that we had been tossing at them, but they didn’t seem to like the SUPER thick, wet mud that was right behind the trailer. After about 15 minutes or so, Pete decided to back the trailer back further so that the he was closer to the pigs and over top of the deeper mud. We also swung open the door of the trailer that doubled the opening for the pigs to go in. We tossed more feed at them and they enjoyed that, but then they wouldn’t come near the trailer where the rest of the food was. By now Pete was getting frustrated. The pigs kept running away and not coming close to the trailer… sometimes one would get close but not go in! Pete and Manuel decided to use one of the gates to kind of build a trap for them to corral them into the trailer. We wanted two in this makeshift corral, but only one would come over and eat. Then he too walked off and went to rummage in the woods some more. Manuel casually said to Pete, “You were so close to them, you should have just grabbed its tail and we could have dragged it into the trailer.” Pete thought a moment, and then said yeah, that might work. So they kind of walked them all back towards the trailer, and got nice and close to them. Pete then reached out and grabbed the tail of a pig near him. Oh my goodness. If you have never heard the ear piercing shrill of a pig, you have much to expierence. They SCREAMED, and screamed and ran and ran into the woods. That is, as fast as a 200lb pig can run. There is one pig that Manuel and Tim have named BBB. BBB stands for Big Brown Butt. The pig is HUGE. He waddles when he walks and in no way can run very fast. The sight of two young men chasing and grabbing for tails of these huge pigs was absolutely hysterical. After two unsuccessful attempts to grab any pig by this manner, both Manuel and Pete we’re getting kinda frustrated. Manuel finally said, “Why don’t we both focus on just getting BBB. He can’t run fast and if we both go after him, we can get him.” So that became the new plan. Both were to focus all energy on catching this pig. By now Tim had arrived and was completely in on the plan to catch a pig by the tail and potentially ride it. Now there was 4 of us going after this pig. We all herded them towards the open area. Then the fun began. We chased him and Manuel had a good handle on him and Pete was on his way, but BBB got away again before Pete could come help. In the process of this attempt some of the wire fence came loose. I went over and started tying it back to where it needed to be. While I was doing that, the boys tried again to get BBB. I came back over to find Pete sitting atop the pig, Tim in front and Manuel had him securely by the tail! We caught him!! He would sometimes try and get up and try to get away, but he was unsuccessful. We sent Tim to go to the barn to get some baling twine to tie his legs together so we couldn’t run and couldn’t really kick. Tim returned and the legs of BBB were tied up securely. It was then decided that I should sit atop the pig so Pete could go get the tractor/trailer over to this side and we could somehow finagle a way to get him into said trailer. I mounted the huge animal and could feel his breathing as he was calming down from his run through the woods. Pete brought the trailer over. There was about 7 feet from where the pig was to the fence and another two feet or so till the trailer. Now, how do we get this huge animal onto the trailer? We tried to roll him. It didn’t work. He untied his front ties, so we used them to reinforce the back ones. We tried to “ooch” him, or slowly slide him. That kind of worked till he would put his front end deep into the dirt so we couldn’t move him. Ugh.. we were at a loss. I then thought of the idea to have Pete be in front of BBB, with his feet beneath either shoulder, then have Manuel and Tim and Tim at the rear holdin his hips and “ooching” him towards the wire fence. This worked very well. We slid BBB to the fence, then lifted the wires and pushed as hard as we could to get him under the fence. Finally we had him over by the Trailer. Pete and Manuel managed to hoist him up onto the trailer. Just as he was getting on, his back legs broke free. Manuel yelled “he legs are free, shut the door!” I hurried to shut the huge door as quickly as I could and lock it in place. Tim let Manuel out the small side door. The mission was accomplished. BBB was caught, tied and put on the trailer! The whole process took over 2 hours, but it was done! What an adventuresome day!