As the meat of out labours (... somehow that doesn't sound inviting...) rests in the capable hands of our butcher, we can now look back on the insanity which was October 14th and laugh. I'm sure that anyone from a larger farm would read this and think to themselves "They only had to round up a few pigs and a couple cows?? That's NOTHING!" Well, to us, it sure was something! The animal transporter guy was due to show up at 10:00 am, so Jon and Marc were out there in the pig pen bright and early rounding them up into a trailer so they would be more easily herded into the back of the truck. It really doesn't sound hard, but until you've tried to get a 300lb pig up a ramp and into a trailer, think again. Oh, and to make it even more fun the sky chose that particular day to release the last 4 months of pent up rain on us unsuspecting hog herders. The pigs were super happy wallowing in their mud puddle until Marc and Jon came in with the trailer, rain gear and a strong resolve. The pigs had other ideas. After almost 2 hours and a bunch of pig wrestling, they had all but one in and settled.
Along come Laura and I with 6 of the 7 kids (Elijah was at his grandparents because Josh and Liz were in the Caribbean) to watch the fun, innocently thinking that they would be wrapping up by now. We watched, and admittedly laughed at, them chasing the one last lady who just would have nothing to do with getting up that ramp. She even took Jon for a bit of a ride getting in between his legs and taking off! I really wish I had had my camera. I'm not sure what possessed me, but after this I went in there too, perhaps in an attempt to be one more body to direct it from running in pretty well any direction but toward the trailer. After watching us for a few minutes the kids were starting to get soaked, and the babies were losing patience. Laura, super mom and muscle woman that she is, heaved Evelyn in one arm and Charlotte in the other, for a total of about 50lbs of wet squirmy babies for a good 20 minutes, and got everyone back to the house for hot chocolate. The kids sure loved all of the puddles they got to splash in on the way back to the house!
I really don't know how they had done this for an hour and a half already, but after not even half an hour, I was exhausted and soaked to the bone. I honestly don't even remember what we finally did that succeeded in getting that last pig in there, but we did it. It would have been quite comical if it sauntered in there while we were off taking a breather, but I think it was actually a combination of luring it with food and walking slowly behind it with a stick while some of us held plywood and gates to act as a funnel. Whatever it was, it worked. Now onto the cows. Shoot. They are MUCH bigger, and even all three of us are no match for even one of them if they get riled up. So this time it was a game of smarts. Cows are not so smart you see, so we opened the gate to the small pasture and they wandered in and happily ate what was left of the little grass in there while we made our plywood and fence funnel again. By this time the transporter had arrived and maneuvered his big truck strategically into place at the end of the funnel. No where to go but up the ramp! Hazzah! Once that was all set up we basically walked around them until they began to move in the right direction and gave them even less places to go by having someone wherever they turned. Slowly, they made their way into the truck, rather easily. But anything would seem easier than those darn pigs at this point.
So there we have it. Sunday's animal round-up complete, one day reprieve then it on to catching 150 broiler chickens at 5:00am on Tuesday, and picking up 300+ layer hens Tuesday evening for sale on Wednesday. Oh the life on a farm. Somehow though, even with all of it's crazy adventures, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love it here. Some days it isn't easy, but that's what makes it interesting. Keeps us all on our toes. I was thinking the other night as I was falling asleep, how did I go to bed in the house every night alone, aside from a sleeping Jeremiah, at our old place when Marc was doing night shifts at the bakery? No one else within 300 meters maybe more. I have gotten so used to having people around all the time, that the life we left behind seems so lonely and isolated now. No, I wouldn't trade this for anything. Meadowbrook Farm is my home, and I love it. Katie.