Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Here are a few pictures of baby Rose not too many days after bringing her home no doubt after her big escape. Her broken leg fused at 9 weeks old she msut of dragged her little self around and on a hip smashed to pieces. And my big girl now..
Last week I received an email including a plea to take in a couple baby farm pigs forced into the entertainment world in Vancouver before they are butchered. Baby animals at the petting zoo soon to be auctioned off. And other peoples pets picked up for a dime and then sold before winter to relive the costs of feeding them. And of course they wouldn't be the cute little babies human nature loves to see by next year they would be adults and why bother when there will be more babies born into the life only to die horrifically after being torn from there family for a dime for entertainment next year.
I cringe at the ads on the radio station and change the channel when i see the racing ducks and racing pigs on TV. And by not going every year and paying the price of admission I boycott these fairs, its all I can do.
While these animals are racing for breakfast looking as cute as can be I wonder how many people even think about what happens to them after?
The girls wanted to save one or two or even a handful of chickens from the auctioneer and wanted to know if i would take some of the pigs here. But cute little farm pigs grow up to be big pigs and I simply don't have enough support here right now , or the room.
So i invited them out to see the pigs here and to heal them from the ordeal they just went threw trying to do the right thing.
This morning Joe and Andrew replaced the front section of Comets fence and it looks really nice and gives him a little more room. Justin, Jamie, Carolyne did the rounds of tidying up the piggy paddocks and fresh waters too. Valerie who dropped off her son visited for the first time and the garden our front got tended too, some of the bush was cut back in the front pasture and the wood neatly stack out back again.
It was an absolutely fantastic day , as we were able to visit while so much got done . Every body was racing around here handing out treats and making sure no one got left out. The horses got groomed by my new Vancouver friends Natalie and Sam. And Carolyn gave out belly rubs at every opportunity.
Friday, August 28, 2009
This week has been a flurry of help thanks to Community services. And along the way the pigs and I have made a few new friends. ( Yes June that is Comet) Friday night and all the piggy paddocks are raked clean and fresh waters to slurp down a tasty dinner.
Once in a while we get a box of apples here and there but this summer we are doing really well. A friend in Port Coquitlam has been here twice loaded down with cases of zucchini from her markets garden. And a few fresh picked bags of apples and pears too. And a team leader for the Brownies has been emailing her friends. She has been out harvesting there fruit trees and pitting the plums so there ready for the pigs. Buckets and buckets of juicy yellow and purple plums ," yum yum " and "slurp slurp" is exactly what the pigs said. Last night a friend and a neighbour brought me a huge bag of left overs from a get together. So the big pigs had roasted mini potatoes in a nice light garlic sauce for breakfast and Roses tail wagged so fast!!
Foster Mom Jean now moved to the island but still helps us all when she can. This time it was all the work involved when applying for a much needed grant. So in her plan for a two night stay on the mainland we were her first stop to work on that. But first it was a quick treat of donut holes to her babies and then i unloaded 300 lbs of fresh picked apples from her truck.
On Monday my realtor and i are going shopping as i have found the courage to move on. If i find something that will work for all of us here i will put in an offer and that will give me what i need to let go of this land. The beauty of what i have built here, the majestic tree's and all my birds i have fed. All my friends who are part of the the earth now.. but for the animals here and who need us out there I must move ahead.
Tonight a friend stopped in on the way camping as the site up the mountain was all filled up. They were going to turn around , leave the camper here and try again in the morning. I'm like no way keep on driving there are other campsites ahead. Any how as she called home after making reservations an hour drives from here at a better spot she was giving her Mom the update and further directions for the care of her pig at home. And then i heard her say "oh well Janice's pigs are all spoiled" and funny thing is that remark only concerned me for the type of care her only one pig got. When do i ever turn this job off?? Gadssssssss its a joke Janice!! Isn't
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Somewhere in Iowa, AND CANADA a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009.
(See TIME's photo-essay "From Farm to Fork.")
Horror stories about the food industry have long been with us — ever since 1906, when Upton Sinclair's landmark novel The Jungle told some ugly truths about how America produces its meat. In the century that followed, things got much better, and in some ways much worse. The U.S. agricultural industry can now produce unlimited quantities of meat and grains at remarkably cheap prices. But it does so at a high cost to the environment, animals and humans. Those hidden prices are the creeping erosion of our fertile farmland, cages for egg-laying chickens so packed that the birds can't even raise their wings and the scary rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among farm animals. Add to the price tag the acceleration of global warming — our energy-intensive food system uses 19% of U.S. fossil fuels, more than any other sector of the economy.
And perhaps worst of all, our food is increasingly bad for us, even dangerous. A series of recalls involving contaminated foods this year — including an outbreak of salmonella from tainted peanuts that killed at least eight people and sickened 600 — has consumers rightly worried about the safety of their meals. A food system — from seed to 7‑Eleven — that generates cheap, filling food at the literal expense of healthier produce is also a principal cause of America's obesity epidemic. At a time when the nation is close to a civil war over health-care reform, obesity adds $147 billion a year to our doctor bills. "The way we farm now is destructive of the soil, the environment and us," says Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
(See pictures of what the world eats.)
Some Americans are heeding such warnings and working to transform the way the country eats — ranchers and farmers who are raising sustainable food in ways that don't bankrupt the earth. Documentaries like the scathing Food Inc. and the work of investigative journalists like Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan are reprising Sinclair's work, awakening a sleeping public to the uncomfortable realities of how we eat. Change is also coming from the very top. First Lady Michelle Obama's White House garden has so far yielded more than 225 lb. of organic produce — and tons of powerful symbolism. But hers is still a losing battle. Despite increasing public awareness, sustainable agriculture, while the fastest-growing sector of the food industry, remains a tiny enterprise: according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), less than 1% of American cropland is farmed organically. Sustainable food is also pricier than conventional food and harder to find. And while large companies like General Mills have opened organic divisions, purists worry that the very definition of sustainability will be co-opted as a result.
(See pictures of urban farming around the world.)
But we don't have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil — which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills — our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy — demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 — but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs — and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants — and as every farmer knows, if you don't take care of your land, it can't take care of you.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Rosie & Roscoe
This is a You-tell-it story. I'll write a bit, then turn it over for you for some ideas about what happens next...
Online book project draws on children's ideas
Maple Ridge pig sanctuary Hearts on Noses has inspired collaborative creative process.
Published: Tuesday, August 18, 2009
In between scribbling the final manuscript of his next novel, children's author Craig Spence has created a book online - with a little help from his followers.
Taking a bold leap to entice and involve young readers and writers, Spence has created an online story. Rosie and Roscoe Run Away is what he dubs a you-tell-it-story, where he invites readers of all ages - but especially children - to add their thoughts and ideas [www.craigspence.ca/kids.html].
"I'll write a bit, then turn it over for you for some ideas about what happens next," said Spence, an author, as well as communications manager for the local school district.
While he's never seen such a collaborative writing endeavour on the web before, Spence said he wouldn't be surprised to learn similar ideas already existing.
"I want to open up the window for people, encouraging them to open up and participate," Spence told the Langley Advance.
He's launched the new project earlier this week, and is expecting to keyboard a new episode weekly.
"I expect it will take time to get people interested," he said, but remains optimistic it will take off.
So far, the story is unfolding with the introduction of Rosie and Roscoe, two pretty lucky piglets who don't know how good their life is.
They were born in a place called the Hearts on Noses Mini Pig Sanctuary [www. heartsonnoses.com], not far from downtown Maple Ridge.
"Pigs at Hearts on Noses are treated really well. That's because Janice Gillett, who runs the sanctuary, loves pigs," Spence wrote.
"But no matter how lucky we are, the grass always looks a little bit greener on the other side," he added.
"So Rosie and Roscoe would often sit with their noses pressed up to the sanctuary fence wondering, 'What's it like out there?' and thinking 'It must be more interesting than it is in here.'
"Their mom, who knew a thing or two about life on the outside, told her piglets never, ever to set hoof outside the sanctuary. But you know what piglets think when they're told not to do something..."
What will they discover? What kinds of adventures and dangers await?
Visitors to Spence's website can preview the Rosie and Roscoe Run Away album, which contains photographs and YouTube clips of things the piglets experienced during their adventure.
Although the web-based story is brand new, Craig is already impressed with the reaction.
June Tucanu, for instance, wrote in with a suggestion for the storyline:
"How about having the two kids sneak away at night, and overhear a conversation between three persons near the sanctuary fence discussing a barbecue to be held the next evening, and how easy it would be to get over the fence, to bring back a special 'guest' for the party?"
Spence responded: "I like your idea! I think I'll have them overhear this conversation on their way back to the sanctuary, after they have discovered how confusing and downright mean the world can be to pigs. Their goal then becomes to warn Janice and the others about the pending raid. What do you think?"
He's not sure where the story is going to go, and admitted Tucanu's suggestion has already changed the direction of the story.
"I want to play with it and have some fun with it," Spence said. "I really like the notion of a collaborative work" and encourages people to participate in the imaginative process.
"For children who want to see how a story develops, or anyone who wants to join in, the You-Write-It format offers a fun, educational experience," he said.
To help stimulate those creative juices, he's augmented the storyline with YouTube footage from the pig sanctuary on the north side of the Fraser River.
Hearts on Noses is a registered non-profit society in Maple Ridge, that rescues, rehabilitates and cares for unwanted, injured, orphaned, abused, neglected and abandoned mini-pigs.
As well, Spence has incorporated a series of paintings by his artist wife Diana Durrand, from her recent exhibit Where are the pigs? Where are they?
And, of course, Spence is no stranger to the local literary world.
Three years ago, he published his first children's novel, Josh and the Magic Vial, which was shortlisted for the BC Book Prize in children's literature.
His next book, Einstein Dog, also a juvenile fiction piece, will be released this fall.
In fact, Spence will be reading excerpts from Einstein Dog in the children's tent during The Word on the Street 15th literary event in Vancouver Sept. 27 at Library Square in downtown Vancouver.
See how the story unfolds at http://www.craigspence.ca/
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Finally it rained and rained and rained!
And with the rain the pigs stayed snug in there beds after breakfast and I took this as a day off from working outside. And it felt good to say i am going to stay in the house today until i realized the day was gone and it was time to feed the kids dinner again.
The day was spent doing nothing but returning calls and emails. Some of which i had been saving from Feb to reply. I thought i would spend the day in the house getting caught up on paper work and putting things back in order from the fair fundraiser but i never did get into my office.
This morning i needed to deal with the carport such as putting the other tent some where until required , finding a place for some wagons i got and tending to Carport Penny. Who by the way kept me company all morning although it might of been the bread delivery that got her up and atom.
Tortilla my vintage guy was cruising around the back yard so how i normally run the herds changed today. So Penny kept me company while i stacked, moved stuff and then swept .
I was out there for a few hours and the entire time i listened to the pathetic high pitched wee's of a few certain babies out front. My calling out to then to knock it off, that doesn't work with me and you guys were the last herd out before it rained fell on deaf stubborn spoiled brat ears. Ladies and Gentlemen lets have a nice round of applause for The Super Wee's!!!!!!!
I went up to the store early this morning and thought stop at the mail
box. I never go on Mondays as there never seems to be any mail
so why bother going on a Tuesday so early. But try as I do to not go against my gut instinct I went up there. Grabbed my mail and then went to lock the door on the community box and the whole door swung open. Every one's mail including mine could of been stolen and when i arrived home I called the post office right away. But i was tempted to load every one's mail in my truck for safe keeping but thought with my luck a cop will drive by and anyhow Thank goodness I went!!!
When a mail box does get broken into there is no way for the charity to know what was taken. It could of been a cheque and unless the person checks his account he might think i was not grateful as they would never get a receipt or a thank you card . Gift cards and coupons never acknowledged because we never knew.. .
I sent this picture to Jean this morning of Soda in the living room for the very first time. Jean commented on how trim our Soda is from running the acreage here now. I really laughed when jean wrote again to share an email she had got. Here it is for you to read too.
Sent: August 11, 2009 10:07 AM
To: Foster Mom
Subject: Foster Mama, Help!!!!
I am bein' STARVED here. You shud see how skinny I is!! And I knows there is lots of food in the howse but the Piggy Lady won't let me live inside where I can helps myself. I just gets to visit there sumtimes.
Bring Apples. Bring marshmallows. Send Licorise. Donuts. cookies. Popcorn.
I is STARVIN'.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The heat wave was brutal on everyone!! Including the horses , the cats , the guinea, the pigs, the dog and me! I even had a guinea pig pool for Sundance. Carolyn, my new bunny loving friend tells me she will freeze a water bottle and then wrap it in a light towel for her bunnies to lay next to for cooling off. I will have to try this for Sundance, although he did like stepping in his big dish!!
The heat was really hard on our Penny and it really caused her some pain to move around in it. She would only come out of her house a few steps even though i ran a fan on her all day. Now that it has cooled off when i looked at her tonight she is looking even better then ever! With her one ear cocked strait up as i looked at her and commented at how much more room there is between her and the ground well the thought that entered my mind was "yes it is more airy". LOL Not too sure if that came from Penny or not as its not exactly how i would have described the visible weight loss. And after a big bowl of watered down grape fruit juice she waddled back down the carpets to her bed.
We also have three more pigs sponsored!! Carport Penny chosen by Sherry and then Gem is also loved by Judy. Comet was chosen for a senior who has been writing me from Ontario thanks to Wendy our bakery finds collector. June is as quick as lightening and her emails are a hoot to read. And Tara or known by us Blog readers as Snowy Vegan is supporting us too ,she works at the SPCA in Alaska, what an awesome gal!
Two weeks ago I had been surfing the Craig lists for a tent to cover our tables for the fair. A stroke of kindness from the sellers offered them to us for free and then Howard, Gayle and Fanny not only picked them up and delivered them but spent some time here putting one up for me so i would know how to do it. How cool is that and look at our mud wallowing Rose admiring there Fanny! I kept Buddy in the house so he didn't bother this vintage gal.
I have had visitors every other day it seems here and the new BlueBerry local Magazine has been no doubt a part of that. The two page spread was awesome and there offer to publish free the names and logos of any one who sponsors a pig in there next edition was more then generous! You would love the owner of this Maple Ridge book , she is a doll with her English accent and all.
Tracy has been here five days in a row and we spent every day emptying out piggy houses of heavy dusty straw so we could inspect floors, do repairs as necessary and then add new fresh hay. Some of these sheds can hold 4-5 bales of straw needed to keep the pigs warm and cozy during winter months and at approx 70 lbs a bale it is not any lighter when broken down . We placed a tarp in front of the doorways and then pitch forked, raked, swept and then dragged the loaded tarps almost a block away to the manure pile. Both of us were stiff and sore today.
I also got to use one of the nice little skill saws donated a few weeks ago to do some repairs to Georges floor. It also upset me when i crawled into his house to feel the slope the house was sitting in now. I don't know if any of you have ever laid down on uneven ground pitching on a slope and felt what effect is has on your body . You start to feel the same pressure as one would feel when doing head stands , not healthy by any means over a period of time. Sure the bulk of the straw would take up some of that edge off and the pigs do fix there bedding however not healthy by any means. I grabbed a crow bar and kicked under a couple of 2x4's and crawled back in and it felt so much better. I am sure George notices it too and grateful for me just about killing myself trying to do that by myself LOL It is amazing what you can do when your heart is in it.
I have taken some time in between the work here to try and get some good pictures and if you look into the eyes of the picture of Don Juan you will see what i feel.
ps if you click on the pictures it will put them in full screen and just use your back arrow to take you back to the blog again.