Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Who Would Have Guessed!

Well, I called yesterday to see if my pork was ready, and it will be tomorrow morning. While I was chatting with the chap who runs the abbatoir ... I know ... hard to imagine ... ME ... chatting ... hehehe

Anyway ... he told me that the last of my pigs to be 'put through' was the worst he had ever dealt with. The pig was not obviously stressed and upset. Rather, she just decided that she was going to sit in the pen and let NO-ONE in. Apparently, anytime someone went near the pen, she would charge at them and try to BITE them. Once the gate was shut, she would go back to sitting again.

I was embarrassed to hear this, since the pigs were always so well behaved at home! Isn't that always the way with kids!

For a while, it appeared that the pig might just get to stay in her pen, but they managed to get a large stick in her mouth and she bit down on that and walked peacefully with the stick in her mouth. She likely thought it was an arm ... hehehe

Will post pictures of smoked pork chops on the barbecue tomorrow night ... :-)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

They Are Gone

Well ... I thought that I might be hard to say goodbye to my pigs today ... but ... let me tell you ... it was not!

My neighbour, Pete, and I wrestled those suckers into the trailer, one at a time, and with brute force. Gone were the happy go lucky creatures who would follow me anywhere ... hehehe

When we got the Disneyland (AKA Wellington Abbatoir) everyone was aghast that we didn't have a top on the trailer ... or higher walls. We used 34" hog panels, which seemed fine to me. Apparently ... when upset ... pigs can ... and DO jump. Fortunately my girls did NOT jump.
The unloading process was as strenuous as the loading process. They decided to just sit there (literally) and practice passive resistance.

When I got home, I was covered in pig poop, and boy did I stink! I have showered twice ... washed many more times ... and even used Javex on my hands. And STILL all I can smell is pig poop!

They made saying goodbye easy. I appreciate their consideration in making parting with them so easy. I KNOW they did all they did today ... just to make it easier on me.

The picture posted is their baby picture ... so cute then!

I'm headed for Michigan to help my friend Stephen get some stuff done this weekend. I'll be back on Tuesday next week.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Summer Vacation Coming To An End

Well ... it has been a pleasant summer with my four Tamworth Gilts ... but ... it is time. They will 'leave' on Wednesday.

While I was away a short while ago, they decided that the back yard looked good. Poor Gene came home from a HARD day at work ... to not only pigs in the yard ... but two sumning themselves on our deck! They don't listen ti Gene, but sure know that I am the DAD!! It hasn't happened again ... hehehe
I have spoken with them about several of their less appropriate behaviours, and thay have not been repeated. They love me ... and scratches behind their ears ... and even belly scratches. BUT ... they are still NOT staying ... no matter how cute they are when they follow me around the farm.
They have gotten pretty big, and are now at the size that I'd need to confine them with an electric fence if they stayed much longer. So far, they have roamed freely, and grazed on 24 acres. They are looking big enough to me ... and actually, may be starting to get FAT. I have no idea what they weigh ... but since the 'cut and wrap' is by the pound ... I'll find out ... ;-)
They leave in the Pork-mobile that my neighbour and I put together ... on Wednesday morning. They will return as chops, bacon, roast pork, ham, ham steaks, smoked pork chops, a few flavours of sausage, ground pork, and RIBS.

Today, they were in the orchard eating the windfall apples ... hmmm ... can't help but enhance the flavour eh? ... hehehe

Will I miss them? Of course. Will I get more pigs again ... NOT IN THIS LIFE TIME ... hehehe

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Milford Fair

We spent today at the Milford Fair. This is the community that we used to live in when we had the B&B. We still have many wonderful friendships there ... and jumped at the invitation when they asked is we'd bring sheep.

This fair starts at 11 AM following the 12 minute long parade ... and lasts until 4 PM, when everyone gets ready for the beef barbeque and a 'show' that highlights the winners of the 'talent Competition', held in the old town hall.

It may be billed as the 'smallest, fully sanctioned Fall Fair in Ontario', but
let me tell you all ... we had a blast ... and our sheep and display were one of the highlights of the event.

In the photo above, note the spaces in Gene's 'art wall' where artwork that he sold USED to be. Also, you can't see the tags that say 'SOLD'.
I sold a ton of the Goats' Milk Soap that I got from my friend Shauna, in exchange for a lamb. I also sold a fleece or two ... AND ... I have three people coming to talk about starter flocks ... and NO-ONE ever comes to talk about a starter flock without buying one ... ;-).

We also got to hug a LOT of friend who we hadn't seen for a while.

It was a VERY long day ... but one we will do next year ... and every year after that. We'd have considered it a 'success'' just to have spend the day with friends ... but ... to have made some money out of the day as well ... BONUS!
As you can see, the ewe lambs that I took were a hit. I pulled then, at random, from the flock, at feeding time the night before. They cried all night, and hated me for the first part of the day. By noon ... they had decided that nibbles of hand fed hay and cookies ... were pretty much ... OK ... hehehe

I now have four more VERY tame ewe lambs in my flock. Cool!
Gene had a great time ... but ... and don't tell him this ... but ... can you believe how much OLDER than me he looks??? Thank gawd we have no mirrors in the house so that I can truly continue to look as I always have ... at least from my side of these eyes ... hehehe

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Holiday Time ... in New England

Once again ... sorry for not telling you all that I would be away for five days ... but that is what happened ... and why this blog has been so silent.

We went to New England for Gene's nephew's wedding. It was a wondrous event ... filled with good food, good drink, good friends, loving family, and volumes of sentiment. A picture of the bride and groom is at the end of this post. Their radiant smiles tell all about the day.

I also went for a walk on the beach. In the picture above, I am with Gene's sister Sue, and brother-in-law Bill. I like this pictures since Gene didn't have his telephoto lens with him ... so I am far enough away in the picture that you can't tell that I was actually mistaken for a beached whale ... hehehe

While in the MA, where there is no tax on clothes, I did buy a pair of shoes for running. My knees seem to be improving. No stress fractures in a while. And I'd like to do something about the extra 30 or so pounds of ME ... and thus be safe from those New Bedford whaling ships ... so ... I'm going to give running a try again ... ;-)
This is the Mayflower. Can you believe that after almost 8 years of trips to the Cape Cod area, that this is the first time I got to see it? Plymouth Rock itself ... was a bit of a disappointment. I don't know why, but I was expecting something MUCH more ... grand.

Below ... Jeremy and Colleen Kennefeck ... newly weds.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Delivering Starter Flocks

This week has been a busy one, and it looks like it will continue. I have several starter flocks that I am getting to people. The weather is perfect for moving sheep, and everyone's holidays seem to be over, so it is working out well.

Above and below are four lovely ewe lambs headed for Wendy Whelan's farm, near Little Britain, ON.

The grey lamb lying down (she looks brown, but is really grey) is the normally mouthy, opinionated, and curious Granny Smith. As soon as the truck moved and she felt the motion, she collapsed and would NOT get up, even after we arrived at Wendy's. I was a little bit concerned, except that through all of her 'ordeal', she didn't stop eating hay. Once she was out of the truck, though, she was fine ... hehehe
Below is Luffa. You can tell looking at that face that she is a girl used to getting her own way. She did a LOT of foot stomping at me ... and assured me that she would NOT like her new home and that she would be miserable for the rest of her life if I didn't put her back with the rest of the flock. Needless to say ... I did NOT put her back. Their new farm ... and new shepherds ... all marvelous. And this morning I got an email saying that all are well and settling nicely. I expect that by the end of today ... Wendy will have them 'eating out of the palm of her hand' ... especially Luffa ... ;-)

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Poultry Palace has a REAL Roof ... :-)

Check out the very cool looking new roof on my 'Poultry Palace'! I went to Roseneath today to deliver some sheep that I had sold ... and when I got home ... my neighbour had shingled the roof on the poutry palace! VERY cool ... and a truly great neighbour.
And today, my 'girls' ventured out into the manure for most of the day ... the first time. Boy ... will those eggs taste better now ... hehehe

I will have to make sure that my neighbour ... the great roofer of animal homes ... gets some eggs.

What is better than good neighbours, eh?


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hay Storage ... ;-)

Well ... I'm back. Sorry to have let things go unchanged on here for so long. Life goes on ... and there is so much good that makes moving on feel good.

I may have posted these pictures already, but ... here are my new hay storage 'buildings'.

Tuesday morning the first 110 bales of hay and 20 bales of straw arrive. My hope is that the hay and straw will fill the 'barns' to just past half way and that the ewes can go in the front to get away from the wind and rain.

Yesterday we had the remnants of a hurricane pass through (just as we were cleaning up after an early end to our yard sale ... but that is another story ... :-). Many of the girls were settled into these shelters while I got soaked walking around to see that everyone else was able to stay dry.

I have a third 'building' that I am using for my lawn tractor, garden tools, and tractor.

Time to sort sheep in the mud. I have five ewes headed for Roseneath, and four ewe lambs headed for Little Britain. I still have sheep to go to Manitoulin Island and Nova Scotia, but the flock is beginning to get to the point where all that is there is mine.

Breeding groups soon ... followed in five months by lambing ... hehehe