Battened in

Any guesses as to how much of my list got done yesterday? Ha. Yet somehow, I am so sore and exhausted that I can barely move. There’s just (always) too much to do, darn it. We really should have started this whole farming gig earlier in life, and then had loads of kids to use as slave labor, the traditional plan! Oh well. Ever onward. (as she rubs Arnica gel all over her hands and wrists, the sorest bits)

Sue, checking out the girls Everything was going along nicely when I was ready to leave, except that the boys got out when I moved the trailer. Of course. George and Miguel went straight for the grain, while Sue went straight to the girls. That’s my boy! They were all very interested in him, as well, but I lured him away with the Red Scoop of Joy, just as he had two feet over the top of the gate, and the third leg off the ground. They were pretty easy to get back, luckily, except for Leon, who is now in with the girls. He’s a wether, so that’s okay, and he’s feeling quite proud of himself.

Ginevra I got to East Hill Farm at 4 yesterday to pick up the pigs, just as the snow started. I was amused to find that one of our pigs had gotten out of the holding pen they had them in. Evidently, she jumped over the chest-high gate. So it’s not only on our farm where critters get out. They even do it when they go visiting. What is it about us and escape artists? Do they teach each other or something? At one point, there were 11 people trying to catch her, and I finally suggested we just wheelbarrow her in, which worked. It took two grown men, but it worked. She wasn’t even that upset by it, until just at the trailer, where she let out an ear piercing scream. We then moved the other pig the same way, and she absolutely hated it and screeched the entire walk in.

Bjarki, Ginevra, Hermione The drive home in the snow and freezing rain was less than fun. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it up Bingham Hill in Gilsum, but I just took it really slow, and tried not to think about what I would do if I got stranded alone with the pigs. It was pitch dark by the time I made it home, but I managed to back the trailer up pretty close to the gate to the Pig Palace, go me. They walked in pretty easily, got checked out thoroughly by the pup and the horses, and then promptly got out of the pen. In the dark and snow. Oy. The pup was a great help in getting them back. He found each one for me, and I used dry dog food to lure them back, while Frank figured out how they got out and patched it.

Then I had to back the trailer up to where the boys were, since that was the only shelter from the storm they would have. They’ve been living there for about six weeks now, and definitely needed shelter from this blizzard. Backing the trailer up there was harder, and I didn’t do quite so well, close but no cigar sort of thing. We tried to make it work, with a couple of short cattle panel bits and twine. Then we called it a night. That’s the thing with farming that is very different from the high tech sales career that I left. Here, when it’s dark and the critters are in, and there is a blizzard raging, you eventually just give up and go inside. There’s nothing left that you can do outside, so in you go. There’s just no ability to pull an all-nighter here, really, unless conditions allow and the need is extreme.

When Valerie came home a couple of hours later, she said that George was out. Damn it. Frank went out to get him back, said it was impossible, and just made sure that he couldn’t get into the hay house where the grain is stored. (Another cattle panel bit used. Minx and Misty broke the zipper on one side earlier this summer.) We called it a night and went to bed, and I dreamt all night of rams fighting and getting into the grain and all dying and ick. Not particularly restful.)

The girlies and the piggies Nothing was as bad as I’d feared this morning, though. George went right in with the boys to eat breakfast — I opened the door to the trailer, and he jumped right in. Yay, Red Scoop of Joy. All the fences surrounding the girls held — he’d made tracks circumnavigating the girls all night, it looked like. The pigs were still in their pen. No one’s roof blew off. Only the girlies and Keikur came out of the chicken coop. Several of the little chicks rushed to the hatch door, saw the snow, and went right back inside.

There was no sign of Misty, though. I think she took one look at the pigs last night, and stomped off in disgust. She so hates the pigs, and here we went and brought them back, and put them in a pen right next to where she hangs out. We also closed her access to the hay house, where she’s been hanging out. We had to, but still. She could have jumped or climbed back into a fenced area, like she continually gets out, but she was no where to be found. The pup couldn’t find her, but Frank thought he saw her footprints up Mack Hill road, though the snow was coming down so hard he couldn’t be sure. It is hard to distinguish hers from George’s, and his were everywhere.

Misty spots the pigs She showed up about an hour after we were done with the chores. She was snow covered and hungry, so I took her out some grain and hay, and reopened the hay house for her, since George is now contained. She keeps giving her alarm call, and pointing at the pigs. (I know, sweetie. Pigs. It’s okay. She’s not convinced.) The pup was giddy at having her back. They are best buds. There was much nuzzling with him, in between telling me about the pigs and eating as fast as she could.

Blizzard So we are taking a day off, from outside chores at least. All the critters are contained. God, I love them all best when they are behind a fence. (Okay, everyone except Misty, but that’s okay. She’s home.) There’s a winter storm warning in effect until 2 pm today. We’ve got about eight inches on the ground now, and they are predicting a foot for our region. As the storm pulls away, some wind gusts are expected to be as high as 35 mph. Let’s hope the roofs hold.

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