Saturday, April 24, 2010

pigs and more pigs

Since Tortillas crossing it took me a few days to get moving again after that long struggle to try and keep Tory with me longer. And poor Panda man being stuck in that shed is sucking the energy out of me everyday. I have lost track of how many guys i have had down here and the quest to get it finished is still before me.

So with Tory's paddock empty i wasn't really ready to put a pig in there but Panda wins over what i am ready for. So i got the water dish filled and raked up some of his bedding and out walked Panda into the sun. We casually walked up pasture and past the horses who were eating there hay. About 45 minutes of meandering Panda caught scent of unspayed Cassandra. It took a while to coax him around but he followed chomping and foaming at the mouth all the way. The fence fighting with his neighbor Don Juan started right away and the two of them raced back and forth up there fence lines. Panda alive with the scent of the females here was so fired up he was beside himself. Hunks of the wood on the bottom rails were ripped right off by his agitated self . He rooted his water dish and then cooled himself off by rolling in the wet soil he rooted up.

I couldn't stand to watch him and came in the house hoping he would settle down in a few hours. My sister stopped by a few hours later and when she came in the house i asked her did you see Panda Man? How could she miss him??? Then she looked out the window and said " he looks like he is in the pen next door".

Fearing a huge fight already in progress i leaped to my feet and we raced outside to get him out of there. That fat pig climbed over the fence, in his quest to get to lady Cassandra!!! Nancy and I got him out of there just in time to see Don poke his head out the door way to see what all the commotion was about. Panda followed us all the way back to his shed and i have never seen a pig more happy to be home. He tossed himself into his straw in sheer exhaustion. Pandas pen must be fortified.

I had 14 little kids visit from a Day care Centre so that was fun, cute little kids in pink, piglet t's and hand crafted piggy masks. Patsy had prepared little juice box lunches for them all so they had lunch here on the picnic tables. Casanova, Winnie and Dylan circled the camp for left overs.

Yesterday afternoon i received a call from Jeff who I met when he reached out to me to home his lone piggy. He worked long hours and is a single dad with shared custody of his daughter. At the time i was at the old place and was doing my best to not take in any more pigs and after his visit he understood and could see i already had enough on my plate and left me with a nice donation.

The reason for his call was in desperation, his home had burnt down that very day and he needed Sherman the piggy out of there. So today Sherman arrived and he wagged his tail and according to Jeff he has never seen his pig so alive!! My tears of sorrow for this little pig have been replaced by thoughts of his good
fortune at arriving here today. This little 4 1/2 year old ,one eared piggy moving into Tortillas paddock seemed so right.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tortilla Flys

March 23,2003 is a significant date for two reasons. Willy my beloved first pig would be going to heaven, and secondly because this is the same day 9 year old Tortilla arrived.

Going back and forth from Willy to Tortilla had me ask him for a kiss too and unlike Willy’s gentle Eskimo kiss , Tory just about knocked me over. The following day Tortilla was in his house and I was sobbing over Willy and talking out loud to Tory about how I understood what it is like to loose someone you love. Tortilla’s human father had succumbed to cancer so he would be grieving too. With tears streaming down my face Tortilla came roaring out of his house towards me and me trying to get up and give him back my reaction he went flying over the water dish and got away. Welcome home Tortilla.

I tried to give Tortilla little things he had been used too when he had his family. Spending nights in the big house and getting peoples food on occasion and covering him with blankets on the couch.

Tortilla took a long time for him to accept me, and I accepted that he would always be his Dads pig but this was totally different when it came to my Mom. Tory came to life when my Mom would come over as she cooed “Tory its Grandma , your Grandma’s boy aren’t you” . His eyes would get bright and his nose would be raised to her with a waggy tail.

Tortilla’s heart also was with his horses. I have pictures and movies of him laying with them, getting nuzzled by Dior and grazing together. Last year when he was notably slower he still will walk all the way out to the pasture to be with them , if he was close to his herd he was happy. When I moved all of us here I made sure his paddock would back onto the horses fence, by the barn so he could always be near them. And when we moved Tortilla into the shed to care for him Dior would poke her head threw the opening of the top portion of the barn door. She felt the same way about him as she looked over to her friend.

Last night for his dinner I brought out ice cream and pears his favorite. Tortilla could not hold himself up and rested on his side . I hand fed orange slices and I cupped my hand under his face to catch the pieces that would fall out the other side so I could pop them back in there. We had a good rhythm going some times. And while I fed him we talked about old times.

And I told him if he could get up I would stop all of this so if he wasn’t ready he better try. But this morning he could barley swallow a sliver of a piece pizza and I found the second little piece under his cheek later .no struggle this morning to try and get it back in his mouth.

I told Tortilla that Willy told me it was like a warm rush when he flew to heaven. And that Willy said pigs do have wings and Tortilla got really still and quiet when I shared this vital information. I told him he was a good good pig and that I loved him so much . I reminded him of how perfect he is , perfect nose , perfect ears , nice bristles and a kissable snouty.

And I took off my ball cap and gave him a gentle kiss this morning. My sister and a good friend Jane surrounded him while Tortilla got sedated and I went threw what I had already told him that I would be right here as the doctor gave him something to make him all sleepy , it wouldn’t hurt and then he would fly. That he would see his Dad there , something I promised him a long time ago. You will see your Dad again Tory , your going to see your Dad.


Friday, April 16, 2010

My words to a friend this morning..

It will take a miracle now.. and I found a post on my blog from almost a year ago when Tory started to have trouble. My hope that meds are going to help old age or quite possible a pig full of cancer are getting dim. I couldn’t bare to turn him over yesterday..his cries are pathetic when I reposition his head for feeding. Cries from a pig who is hurting or week grumbling from a pig like all pigs who hate to be handled like this.

Last night he just about came unglued when I brought him spaghetti.. but once the food is gone is succumbs to his weakness. I helped my best dog friend down at 16 years old when she too could no longer get up.. I took her to McDonalds and she loved her ice cream and hamburger but then laid down in the truck with that glazed look in her eyes.. then we went to the vets.. I didn’t put her threw all of this perhaps this answers my self in what I am to do to day…crying…

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Tortilla is no better and no worse.. tomorrow will tell much as then he would have been on all these antibiotics for at least three days. I added a new one last night... He is resting comfy on a stack of blankets in Penny's house. Between me checking on him every hour he has the close company of another pig. He is never alone...

I have gone threw the morning with the norm, Meds to Tory, jucie and apples. Carrots for all the pigs breakfast except for Panda Man i took some pellets and a cut up apple. Hopefully his pen and house will be ready for Saturday. And one of the guys is here working on that and yet it feels so quiet here . I have reponded to emails and net worked for two pigs. Did the dishes and handed a extra carrot to Mouse. I talked to Wayne my shed guy on the phone for a little bit too and Mouse is now oofing behind me. The sun is out , the birds are singing and the water fall in the pond creates a ripple in the water, There is movement, sound and light.

I went down stairs and got the fly masks for the horses and gave them a good brush. No need for halters and lead ropes , my two girls stand in a row waiting for me to love on them. Brushing there beautiful mane and tails out, with a reward of alflafa for being so good after.

And as i went threw all of these rituals if you will today , it felt like i did them all in a trance. My heart is heavy with worry for Tortilla and even though with all this going on around me my decisions regarding him are mine and it can be quite lonely.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This is Good Exercise

Thursday morning breakfast ends at Tortillas paddock, a 16 1/2 year old who needs help getting up sometimes. I gave him a lift but he weebled and bobbed and then crashed to ground. Unlike a cat or dog who might just lay there a pig screams out in panic.. unable to get up i hoisted him up and repeated this about ten times. Unable to leave him..what am i to do? Thankfully Leanne arrived to do trim horse's hooves and she helped me load Tortilla into the lower section of a crate and onto a wheel cart. We then rolled him into Penny's big shed and got him bedded down. Exhausted he fell to sleep. Tortilla is a healthy weight at oh about 170 lbs.

What can you do for a senior pig who looses the ability to use his hind end? Well a few calls to the vet and correspondence to a friend who is a vet in the states and an email to another friend who is a homeopathic. I covered every approach here ..

Two days of diet change, one night of pain killers and on going homeopathic remedies. This mornings shock was finding Tortilla laying in a pool of blood and urine soaked cement. How he got out of his confines , but he did get up too poop and then that is when all hell broke loose for him. Thankfully the blood was a cut foot not something internal.. poor guy. What luck this would occur on a Saturday morning when help would arrive and help me get this big boy cleaned up, cozy and securely penned.

The rest of the day pretty well went the same way. A new guy doing community hours with farm experience was a blessing as he got started on the big pigs paddocks and pretty well did them all. Alex and Cesar arrived and could only stay and hour driving all this way from Surrey to rake poop too. Melissa and Sue came to help for the day and for the first time so got to work on the waters after they helped me with Tortilla until the well stopped providing us with water.

On the phone with the well repair guy i see Rose charge Mouse, enter my racing after a farm pig with one boot on and one boot off. Telephone flying in the air and falling to pieces and my well guy is still on the phone after i retrieve it and put it back together. lol.

Two guys i hired to start bush whacking started yesterday at 10am. I had to go get groceries so confirmed with them they would be here when i got back so i left pigs out and the house open. I got home at 3 , no guys, pigs out , house open, tools everywhere. No note , no call..but a brand new pitch fork bent beyond repair and tucked behind the other .. they arrive at 11:30 today to commence work. ARE YOU FRICKING KIDDING ME?????????

My sister worked with Sterling who has one more day left here doing the barn and the pasture work for the horses.

Oh and did i mention Panda man chewed a hole in the shed and ripped a few boards off so he could see what was going on here? I went out there with boards when i was ready to collapse and then realized his window had a wire fence wall in front of it. Fine leave it then until a few hours later when i saw him sticking his foot threw it so then i went and grabbed my hammer.

During which time Scotch who is in love with my horses has been chased out of the pasture three times. The carpenter arrived to look over the pen work i need done for Wilbe and comments "that's good exercise". Yea..okay like i need more exercise. But he is a good guy and unbelievable he knows what he is talking about!! They will be back tomorrow with materials and reinforcements!!

I got in at 4, took a break which was networking to try and find homes for two more pigs , ate bread, then went back out to start to feed at 6 and I am back in the house at 8 telling you all how my day went.. no the last few days..wait last week was crazy i don't think the week before was any different.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

With out words and what we are saying..

I don't have a degree in animal behavior but what i do have, as any one would who loves animals is an understanding of them from our own personal experiences. I also believe when our life force becomes interwoven with them we heighten our empathic abilities. There fore the opposite will be true too, the more we connect with them works both ways.

My belief is that animals use verbal and telepathic skills to communicate and there basic survival skills are honed by watching body language whether they are prey or predator. We do too, perhaps on a more unconscious level.

I bet there isn't a person reading this who hasn't said in conversation something like "she knew exactly what i was saying" or "he knew i was getting the bath water ready for him". How do they know from filling the tub up for us one night to filling it up for them on another ? We didn't say anything out loud yet... but they know as soon as we turn the water on. Because they are watching us and they master our moves, our reactions and our feelings as it is instinctual to them to do so. Emotionally setting ourselves up to wash a dog who doesn't like to get in the bath triggers emotions, excited energy -they see and feel that.

I felt a need to share this as a subtle reminder occurred over the last week or so. Don Juan, a pig i have had over a year had suddenly got angry with me before we all moved here and just after selling the acreage. I was an emotional mess , crying and stressed. I know this is why he acted like he was going to bite my foot that day and the fight was on. How he perceived my weakness and how it effected him emotionally was yet to be learned.

Tusker's is an unaltered male pig because of medical reasons. His tusks grow thick and fast and i have to wire trim them about every 1 1/2 years. He is a timid pig and every time i do this it sets us back again a little as trust is lost between us. I trapped him in his safe place, his house. And then grab him so he is sitting on his bottom and my helper being Jane this time sawed the tusks off. I hate scaring them this way and put it off as long as i can.

I do procrastinate when it comes to scaring my pigs.. and doing tusks and hooves will do that too them so I appreciated Jane having the guts to help and the push I needed to do it. Tusker's looks ten years younger to me and seems happier but isn't that how i feel because its done and i don't have to worry about it anymore? I thought of it every time I was near him and that is no good for him or me. He feels better because I feel better, harmony restored between us and he can feel secure gain. He will no longer feel my worry when i see him and he sees me.

Its really stupid of me not to realize this as well as the obvious physical need. How or what we do, think or feel will effect our charges, because we portray our emotions physically and emotionally.

Its really common sense, isn’t it? If we were around some one sad day after day , that would consume us too. It would effect us, it would be hard to be around it and we might want to escape from it. How we would deal with that on an emotional level is uncertain,we might want to push it away and get angry. I am thinking of Don Juan now. My sadness and stress , the feelings of uncertainty triggered the same emotions in him. His reaction, was distrust and instability so to protect himself he wanted the weak link in the herd out. That was me.

My lesson learned is if i am putting something off that needs to be done isn't helping me or my charges.. get it done I will feel better and so will they.

And how i feel can be interpreted so many ways by the animals or people around me when instincts to survive kick in. They are as complex as us emotionally but have fine tuned and heightened their sixth sense.

Rose my big pig could be trusted around the little pigs until last month. Penny was out enjoying her day and Rose and i met her around back during a little walk. Warning Rose to not touch her and a flash picture of her charging her in my mind is exactly what happened next. I was so mad at her i chased her home, but did i in fact show her to do that in my minds eye with what i thought and pictured? Why didn't she listen to my words??? Because I spoke to her using her language.. one not of words.