This was a totally new experience for me and one I am not likely to forget. I once again have considered becoming a vegetarian but my love for meat prevented that decision.
We had several sows give birth within a few days of each other so there were about 50 babies that had to be given shots and castrated before they were moved.
Troy, his brother Thomas, and I took on the task of preparing the babies for the move.
I took my camera along because this was a task that I had not participated in and I thought photos would be a fun addition.
Okay so farming is not a hobby and not fun, but for me it is definitely an adventure and Saturday was an exciting activity.
The day started with a ride to Bee Spring to deliver four gilts to a farmer there. I watched the men unload the pigs and soon they were all happy in their new home and we headed back to the farm.
It was COLD on Saturday morning so as the guys got things ready I put on Deuce’s coveralls with my jacket on top.
It was my job to catch the little fellows and hand them over the fence to Troy and Thomas.
I was not exactly as mobile as usual because I had on so many layers of clothing so chasing the pigs was a little more difficult than normal.
My first task was to catch the gilts. They did not need to be castrated and it was easier to load them into the trailer.
The first problem I encountered was telling the boys from the girls. I could not see whether they were boys or girls from the back because all the parts were not developed yet and they pretty much looked the same to me.
I use to watch the greased pig contest at the county fair when I was very small but never dreamed it would be something I would do as an adult.
Although there was no grease on our pigs they were plenty muddy and they were quite a bit faster than I am.
There is an art to reaching down and grabbing the back leg of the little buggers and handing them over the fence for their move to the bigger pen. I just have not mastered it yet.
But slowly one-by-one I caught each piglet and handed it to Troy or Thomas for its surgery and shot.
By the end of the event I even learned to tell the boys from the girls. I think there were pretty close to 50 in all.
Then we moved the big pigs into a different pen to make room for the little ones and everyone was happy and content.
There was one more problem that had to be addressed.
We had the tractor and the truck with the 16-foot goose-neck trailer at the milk barn and they both had to be moved to the barn across the street.
I cannot drive a truck with a trailer and had never driven the tractor more than a few feet alone.
I would say it is pretty close to a mile from the milk barn to the other barn and that was way too far for me to drive either vehicle.
But Troy made the executive decision that I was to drive the tractor. At first I objected but was quickly quieted and convinced that I could handle the job.
So, I got up on that big green tractor and stepped on the clutch and brake and began to slowly move it forward.
It was no big deal except for one thing. Troy’s truck was sitting there just as you turn the corner and it was a ninety-degree turn.
I inched forward slowly hesitating to take my foot off the brake because I was totally convinced that tractor had a mind of its own and would roll forward so fast that it would smash into the truck.
Troy stood beside me and yelled for me to take my foot off the brake but the more he fussed the harder it was to take my foot off the brake and let that tractor move.
Finally I released the brake and off we went. Maneuvering that corner was easier than I thought and before I knew it I was turning the corner and heading across the creek.
I kept praying there would be no traffic when I hit the road and God must have heard my prayer because I did not see one vehicle. Then I was at the second barn and I had to fit that big ol’ tractor into the opening of the barn. As many times as I had seen the guys drive it right through that hole I never noticed how small the hole was and the closer I got the smaller it got. But it fit and I inched it along until it was parked as close to the back of the barn as I could fit it. Suddenly there was another problem.
I had parked so close to the wall that I could not get down. So I slid over the front wheel and ducked under the tractor the access my freedom. But I had to chuckle when I thought of my little bitty fellow, Troy, trying to get back on the tractor to move it. He never complained once about the way I parked it.
The one thing that lingered after every pig was moved was the smell. Holy cow do those pigs carry an odor and it is easily transferred when you handle 50 of them. I was also covered in their mud, which has a very distinct odor also.
That smell stayed with me for the rest of the day and into the next. I was sure that everyone who came within five feet of me could smell it and wondered if I ever bathed.
I tried everything to make the smell go away but nothing helped and every time I put my hands anywhere near my face that odor hit me like a cold glass of water. I tried every lotion in the house and even used bleach to help get rid of the odor. Nothing helped and the next day still smelled like the pigs.