TUESDAY TAIL TALE: NATASHA & BORIS

BORIS AND NATASHA 2 2017 BARLEY DARTS

 

Darlings, it’s Natasha again!  Remember, the last time you and I talked, I’d been upset about my profile picture?  And I was so nervous about my arranged marriage, too.  Well, that day came and went and it’s all over now.  Honestly, it was no big deal.  I worried for nothing.  And now I’m thrilled to introduce you to this stud-muffin on the left.  This is Boris.  But, don’t mind him.  He doesn’t say much.  He’s the strong, silent type.  Boris is also a good guy.  We get along fabulously.  Oh, and don’t you just love my new profile picture?  I’m simply radiant!  But, let’s just keep this our little secret for now.  Until next time, X’S & O’s.

FRIDAY FRONTIER: PRINCESS PIG

PIG NATASHA 4 2017 BARLEY DARTS

I’m not a newbie, when it comes to raising animals.  After all, I’m almost fifty-three years-old.  And ever since I can remember, my family raised chickens and beef to fill our freezers.  There was even an odd turkey or two.  And back when I was in high school, there was a brief stint of raising a few hogs, too.

Now for the past eight years or so, Shae and I have raised a few hogs.  It’s not a big production by any means.  It’s just a few for the freezer for ourselves and close family.  And we have advanced beyond purchasing a forty-pound, feeder pig and raising it to slaughter weight.  We now have our own sows and boar.  Some of these pigs have been with us for two or three years and they’re just plain, normal pigs.

Anyway, on Tuesday we decided to put all the breeding pigs in one pen.  Then all the feeder pigs went in another pen.  We went from our four summer pens down to our two winter pens.  It easier for winter chores, but it also ensures more warmth for the pigs.  Afterwards, I realized that I let one of our pigs down and I’m disappointed with myself.

Let me back up and explain.  I have done a fair amount of research on pigs.  And we decided for our needs that we wanted Berkshire pigs.  We located a Berk boar last year and purchased him.  Boris was a beautiful black hog with white markings and almost full grown.  Afterwards, I needed to find a Berk gilt or sow.  This spring, I located a litter of Berkshire piglets.  I was thrilled and off we went to pick out our new pig.  We brought her home and named her, Natasha.

Natasha was the prettiest little pig that you’ve ever seen.  And her personality?  Oh my gosh, she could grunt your ear off.  Well, this pretty, little girl ended up getting her own private pen.  And she got extra attention from me.  She got special treats.  I can’t even guess how many bags of marshmallows she ate.  She was so spoiled that Shae dubbed her, Princess Pig.

Well, as you may have guessed, Princess Natasha is the pig I have let down.  She was spoiled rotten and could do no wrong.  She had her own little world, all to herself.  And she didn’t have to share anything with other pigs.  Princess Natasha had been placed on a pedestal.  That is until Tuesday, when she was placed with older and wiser pigs.  And a boar.

Princess Natasha’s world has been devastated.  She doesn’t have the real-life skills to fit in with the other pigs, yet.  And she’s confused. The only thing she’s got going for her is her beauty.  She’s just a pretty pig; black with a few white markings.  But, in the pig world, that doesn’t count for much.  If she were all white, I’d even be tempted to change her name to, Snowflake.  But, it’s not her fault that she lacks worldly pigness.  It’s mine.

K PIC 1 BARLEY DARTS

FRIDAY FRONTIER: FENCE IS HOT

K PIC 1 BARLEY DARTS

KEITH’S POST

 

The animals around here know about our electric fence.  Not all of them respect it, but they know about it.  Our “hot” wire is set at appropriate heights for each group of critters.  It keeps the animals where they belong.  It’s for their well-being and safety, as well as others’.  The cows, horses, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and even ducks respect the fence.  Or at least, they have a great fear of it.  The goats are another story.

Anyway, keeping our fence hot, gets to be challenging at times.  So, we have two types of indicators that help us maintain it.  The first one is a visual indicator.  It’s a small device that clips to the fence wire.  It has its own little ground rod.  When an intermittent pulse of electricity goes through the wire, it lights up.  A little red light-bulb flashes.  It’s amazing how attached I’ve become to this device.  I can see it from the kitchen window.  Every morning and evening, I check to see if the red light is blinking.

 

FENCE INDICATOR BARLEY DARTS

 

The second indicator is an audio one.  Ours is really loud!  It’s a pig squeal.  A pig’s eyesight isn’t all that great.  And sometimes, they get too close to the wire.  Other animals will squeal, “Ouch” once.  And they simply jump back if they touch an electric fence.  Not so with pigs.  With just one snap, pigs will go through all kinds of acrobatic moves.  And all the while, there’s a prolonged and blood-curdling squeal.  And if one squeals, others may join in; hence, the audio indicator.

If we are within earshot of an audio alert, my wife and I turn to each other and exclaim, “Fence is hot”!  Now I don’t like to see anything get hurt, but nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than knowing our fence is doing its job.

I’m not alone.  I follow a group called, Pastured Pigs.  A few days ago, someone posted the bold question, “Is there anything more satisfying that the sound of someone (pig) hitting the electric fence after its been down (and you’ve been attempting to fix) for days”?  Many commented that it was their favorite sound.  Another said, “You can only know and understand this satisfaction if you’ve been through it”.  I wholeheartedly agree.

As I sit in the kitchen writing tonight, I can see the little, red light blinking.  For the moment, it’s peaceful on our 160-acre homestead.  I’ll go to bed knowing our fence is working.  Every critter will stay in their place, except the goats.  Please hurry Mr. Trump!  I needed that fence for the goats yesterday.  They don’t respect boundaries and go wherever they damn-well please.  It won’t be long before it’s an international crisis.

In all seriousness, we’re allowing our goats to free-range.  They’re enjoying their summer break.   The goats are perfectly content and looking good. Of course, there are risks with that kind of freedom… they killed the herbs.

 

GOATS TRIO BARLEY DARTS