Three years have gone by. It seems impossible, like yesterday, but it has been three thrilling years! I started with a few sheep, Shetlands and Karakuls, and two goats, Pygmy kids, and piggies. Well, a mamma pig who was ready to have piggies.
I brought her in the pick up truck, having gone through a lot of trouble to make a divider to keep her away from the young boar pig that accompanied her, in case she took a dislike to him. I watched her destroy the barrier in a bout two second flat and she earned my respect for her strength and tenaciousness. The boar pig sniffed her a few times, but he was really young and was not interested in her, nor she in him, and I breathed a sigh of relief.
But she would not get out of the canopy, no matter how I tried. I enlisted some local teenagers and we crooned, poked, prodded and sweet talked her, but she was planning to farrow right there. I finally contacted a man who raised pigs and he brought a cattle prod, gave her one or two jolts. She was some disgruntled, but ambled down the ramp as though nothing had happened and proceeded to eat, without a glance back. That was my introduction to piggies.
She farrowed a dozen or so, but one was not growing. She tried hard to feed and was pushed aside. Finally, when she had no strength and could not manoeuvre any more, she turned upside down and squealed. I daringly picked her up and she became my bottle baby piggie. I loved her very much, Tavy.
I sold the Shetland sheep. They were wild primitive little things that did not cooperate much, but had nice wool. Other sheep have come and gone. The goat stayed for almost three years, but passed away from copper deficiency, something, which I was unaware of then, but know how to watch for now. There have been Dexter cows and Canadienne cows, Canadian horses, other llamas and alpacas, lots of breeds of sheep and many goats. Babies have been born. Some animals have died and that is always heart breaking, as in this past winter when my favourite Karakul sheep strangled herself by sticking her head under a livestock panel while other sheep were feeding. She had two little babies in her too. So sad, so very sad.
And there have been other dogs too. Ella was a rescue who was rehabilitated and is in a wonderful home where she is loved to bits. My rough collies, Anna and Joseph, my beloved beautiful dogs, succumbed to the highway traffic and Peter, well, I will never know what happened to that dog. He was such a wonderful fellow and just disappeared one day, never to be seen again. Cats have come and gone. Smokey chose to have her litter in the abandoned car outside the fence and she and the kittens disappeared too. Most likely the fox was the culprit but there are many predators around here.
The gardens are being created in permaculture fashion and there are changes in the yard and farm too. It has been the toughest of careers I have tackled, this farming, with little monetary compensation, but great communion with nature, and that is worth more than money can buy, only it doesn't buy feed. As I learn more and more how to budget and manage on the meagre farm income, I am honing my skills and animal husbandry too. I am healthier, rosier, leaner and quieter than ever before in my life. This month I turn 60. I am no longer afraid of chickens, having painstakingly conquered that phobia too. Life on the farm is rewarding and exasperating at the same time, but for now, I would not want to do anything different. I am trying to keep the animals well and healthy, again learning more and more. And I am grateful for this opportunity to learn about life and give back to the Earth, our mother, who only watches as I bumble my way along.
And of course, dear friends, I have you to help me on this journey and for you I am most thankful. Thanks for watching, thanks for helping and thank you for your prayers. Have a blessed evening.