Yesterday was a gorgeous 72 degrees or so; today it’s 50, maybe (update: make that 37), and the wind is blowing every bucket and barrel toward the east fence. It’s a blessing, really, because we were running out of clean dishes. There is still a lot of indoor work to be done, but I need a break.

We got 6 eggs yesterday, I think, so the gals are gearing up. The first chicken to lay (I assume) is up to life-sized eggs. And I boiled up the last of the Oakdell Omega 3 eggs so now everything on hand is home-grown! Yay!

On Sunday, we had finally prepared an enclosure for Trudy at the south end of the pasture so she could root up those trees that are the reason for her existence. I spent Saturday making a shade/wind shelter for her; a hoophouse style thing partly covered in aluminum sheet metal roofing. Ugly, but functional. After working a couple weeks getting fencing in order, we strung the dual-wires, moved the shelter down there, and hooked up the charger, then came back to the house to eat and rest before moving the pig. While here, I got a phone call from our neighbor. Those particular neighbors are lovely, sweet folks… But they have their manicured single-acre, and want the rest of us to follow suit, I guess. The conversation went something like this:

I answered the phone, “Hello?”
“Hi, this is {lovely sweet neighbor lady}.”
“Oh, hi {lovely sweet neighbor lady}, how are you doing?”
“Well, not too good, today.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”
“I just got home and I noticed you guys are putting a… metal shed? up here by the road?”
“Oh, no, it’s not a metal shed. It’s a shade shelter for our pig, whom we are moving up there to root out those terrible trees that won’t die.”

This explanation did not ease her fears about a “metal shed” being there. She continued to repeat, many times, how they are working hard to “clean up” the area, and how our doing this “wasn’t tactful,” and how would we feel if she came by our house (it’s about 300 feet from their property) and put something like that. I explained that it was temporary, and we chose that area because of the trees. She pressed me for a time frame, and I said that Trudy digs holes very fast, and we will be putting grain down around the trees to hasten the process. She wanted a time frame. “Let’s say a month, but hopefully less than 2 weeks” I told her. Her response? “Tell you what. I’ll compromise with you. In a week we’ll be able to tell what kind of mess it will be, you know, feed buckets and all that, and we’ll reassess things then.”

What?

Compromise?

This is my property. It’s zoned for agriculture. If I want to, I can line your backyard with pigpens! I did NOT say that. I did, point out that the land was zoned for ag, that we couldn’t sell it or even divide it, and if it wasn’t this pig, it would be something, sometime. She offered up her brother and his machinery to dig out the trees. Thanks. I’ve been here 4 years trying to rezone, sell, lease, the land, only to be shot down at every opportunity. Now that we’ve decided to steward it ourselves, people get cranky. And while I DO understand that my handiwork wasn’t exactly picturesque, that really couldn’t be a factor in my decisions here. I suppose they would be happier if we leased it to a farmer who would spray toxins of all kinds, and plant some GM crop.

As it turned out, they think we’ve done them a favor.

We loaded the troughs and such in the pickup and unplugged Trudy’s enclosure fence. Let me quote here, a segment from Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living.

If your pigs are used to the slop bucket, so that they know you and
look forward to your visits… all you have to do if they do get out is run
get the bucket and they’ll follow you anywhere – even right back into their
pen!

Another volume Trudy has yet to read, apparently. My bucket was even full of grain. Her favorite, or so I thought. It did take some patient coaxing to get her over that fence line. But once she was past it, she looked around and said, “Grain bucket? What grain bucket?” and started rooting up the front lawn. Hubby caught her by the tail, but that had limited success. He went to get a rope, and she kept rooting the lawn. At this point we were just trying to get her back where she started, forget the new pen 1/4 mile or so south! Then she made her way thru the kids’ play area, then into the backyard, where she kicked up her heels and grunted and barked. She even found her way into the north pasture where she would come close to Hubby but not let him put that rope on her. Apparently last year’s horse-apples are tastier than a bucket of grain. Go figure. At this point Hubby laid down his rope and went to retrieve his .22. I would’ve taken a picture of all of this, but I was busy on the phone with the mobile butcher to see what he charges for emergency house calls. Sadly, he was busy until Monday late morning, so cutting her up would be our responsibility, if hubby shot her. Hubby also had his filet knife in his back pocket; what a well-prepared guy. Our perimeter fencing isn’t, really, and if Trudy decided to root up that lovely manicured acre between us and the road, she would’ve been chops for sure. As it happened, she did follow the grain bucket in spurts, and we were able to get her in the general vicinity of her pen. Hubby got the brilliant idea of stringing some poly-wire (not hooked up) to make an alley toward her entrance, and she followed it nicely into her pen. It’s amazing how quickly one can go from loving this lifestyle to ‘what the heck was I thinking???’ We decided she needed new ground anyway, and that we would do it adjacent to her existing area so as to minimize the tourist-type habits she has. I retrieved the ugly shade shelter as a windstorm blew up, removing half of the sheet-metal roofing and sending at least one piece east, I think to Oz. Yesterday I finished her new pen, wired it into the big field-charger, and moved the cattle panels without her noticing, from the old pen to new. She rooted it up in 10 minutes, I think.

SO – I got a lovely message on the answering machine, “Thank you so so sooo much for moving that… thing. We really really appreciate it a lot.” Now to let her enjoy the delusion of a covenantal neighborhood for a time.

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