Meet Penelope

You’d never guess that she’s a former show girl, would ya?

20130714-195513.jpg

Don’t worry, sweet girl, it happens to the best of us 😉

Boy 2 raised & showed Penelope last year. From the beginning we knew she was something special…mainly cause she told us so.

What…your pig has never talked to you? Yep, neither had any of ours, until Penelope…seriously. You’ve never seen such a happy, easy going pig. And when you bend down and pick her ear up so you can see her eye to eye, she tells you all about her day, I promise!  Sometimes I think I even hear her grumbling about being an ex-beauty queen, world on a silver platter, and what her first 12 babies did to her body 😉

20130714-211600.jpg

She didn’t even complain, and actually seemed to enjoy it when it was time to get washed up before the shows…if you’ve ever been in the show barn during hog washing you know how traumatic it can be for all involved…hmph, I imagine anyone within a mile radius can hear that kind of ruckus. Can you say earplugs?!

And you’ve never seen a pig enjoy just being a pig as much as Penelope. Much to the horror of our FFA advisor, she absolutely LOVED running around the show ring at her first show…I swear all the giggling from the crowd even egged her on. She ran circles in that ring, grunting and snorting about till she got hot. She then proceeded to root herself out a nice cool spot in the dirt, then plopped down in it with a huge sigh of contentment. You’d have never known that Boy 2 spent time every day before that teaching her how to walk like a proper show girl should.
ACK…note to self…get a camera with a better zoom!
20130714-195711.jpg20130714-195727.jpg

Does it look like the judge is stifling a laugh, or trying to rub out the headache he feels coming on?? I’m going with laugh, just cause that’s what I was doing!

We just loved that girl, so much so that we decided to add her to our little herd of pasture pigs. Besides, since Gloucestershire Old Spots were used in creating the commercial Spot pig of today, we figured it’d be nice for Penelope to get back to her roots 😉

This was Penelope a couple weeks ago…poor girl, a big pregger belly like that in South Texas, in late June just can’t be much fun!
20130714-195809.jpg

And this (click for the video) was Penelope just over a week later…

She easily delivered 10 piglets in the pasture without the need of a farrowing crate or much help from the peanut gallery…

20130714-195847.jpg20130714-201106.jpg

What…full out zebra and momma’s Bogs isn’t your standard farm uniform?!

20130714-195828.jpg

It was really something else to watch. She would deliver a piglet, and as soon as it was up & running she would get up and go to another spot to have the next one. Once she had them all delivered she went and laid down near them and made her momma grunts to call them to her and the feeding frenzy began. I swear she kept getting up and moving because she was scared she was going to squish them! Well, that’s what I swear now…at the time I was freaking out thinking she was abandoning her babies and being a horrible momma. But then to watch her big ol’ 400ish lb self plop down and then call the babies was a truly humbling experience…we humans think we are so smart don’t we?? I really need to learn how to let nature take its course!

I really don’t know if there has been anything, ever, curter than a bunch of spotted babies!
20130714-201206.jpg20130714-201114.jpg

And they really do get up and start running and wrestling (video here too) around with each other, too…can you believe they were only about 2 hours old in the video?!

Advertisements

A Tale of Two Stanleys

I admit it, we are horrible at naming animals. It’s been that way for years, ever since a stray dog wandered into our yard. We kept thinking he’d be claimed or head back home, but he wasn’t and didn’t, so we called him Dog…original right? Next opportunity to come up with an oh so unique name was when we bought the jungle that would eventually become Sweet Liberty Farm. Apparently our “vacant” property was actually home to a sweet little dog who we named Lady. We’ve had a donkey named Jack, a black and white Hampshire show pig named Oreo, and Broke-Leg, the hen with a limp from a healed broken leg.

I know, it’s a problem…thankfully we have some pretty original kids. Their first foray into naming was with our very first pigs. They came up with Maple & Crispy, otherwise known as Mrs. & Mr. Bacon.

Our first heritage piglets were a Red Wattle gilt who we were going to raise up to be a momma, and her brother who was destined for the freezer. Boy 1, tired of hearing us call them “piggy”, decided they should be Lucy and Stanley. Such originally silly names for pigs, right? Oh, but how their names suited them, especially Stanley’s.

Boy 1 & Stanley
20130618-225554.jpg

Now I know a lot of y’all out there just don’t know how we could ever eat something that has a name, especially a something that we’ve raised from a sweet little red, floppy eared piglet who squeaked like a squeaky toy whenever he was talking to his sister. So, I’ll tell you what I’ve told myself and the kiddos…we love bacon, and pork chops, and pulled pork sandwiches, and ham, and sausage, and, well you get the picture. Since we will never stop eating them, ever, we have a couple choices. We could continue to buy our pork products from the grocery store with all it’s pretty packages filled with nameless animals that have most likely never seen sunshine, never wallered in the mud or played in the sprinklers, and have possibly chewed on the metal rails of their tiny pens until their mouths are bloody…a sad reality in most large commercial hog operations. Or, we could fill our freezer, and bellies, with the product of a happy pig named Stanley who gets to not only play in the mud and bask in the sunshine, but who gets to chase his sister and other herd mates thru the pasture. Not to mention the daily belly rubs that can make a 400 lb Stanley weak in the knees. We know that Stanley got to live, well, like a pig and we loved on him every chance we got. I won’t lie, it was hard to drop him off at the processor, but we know that he was given the best life a pig could have. He has also served his final purpose by providing us with such unbelievably tasty bacon…must’ve been the belly rubs 😉

As a final tribute to our boy Stanley, and to avoid boring name choices in the future, it was decided that all of our future meat piglets would be named Stanley…ahem, even if we were raising more than one at a time…I told you we were bad at names.

Meet Black Stanley and White Stanley…otherwise known as “The Stanleys”.

20130622-011512.jpg20130622-011447.jpg

20130618-230123.jpg

They are out of our two litters this last winter and will be heading off to “freezer camp” sometime this fall. Black Stanley is kind of grumpy, but you’ve never seen bliss till you’ve seen him being sprayed with the water hose. And, oh my, White Stanley is such a happy, sweet, easy going boy who has his momma’s quirky personality…I am dreading that final goodbye…but not nearly as much as I despise the idea of promoting the practice of factory farming by buying those dry, tasteless supermarket packages.

If you would like to raise a Stanley of your own, but don’t have a way to…why not let us do it for you? We currently have limited openings in our Half and Whole hog CSA Shares. Please see the Pastured Pork page on our farm website www.SweetLibertyFarm.com, for more info.