Los Ojos, 10 June, 2018
Last Tuesday was pig moving day – new paddocks for everybody and the breeding stock to move down to their first bosque pasture. I woke up and went out a few minutes early for morning chores with a great plan to feed & move pigs real quick, then continue on with the rest of the program for the day. At about 4:00 that afternoon, I finally stopped, looked around, and drew a deep breath. “Well,” I said, “that was a hell of a morning.”
As I’ve said before, there’s no such thing as a typical day around here, and Tuesday was a good illustration as to why. In an odd way, days like that are something I’d really missed while I was doing other things. Someone once quoted my grandfather as having said “Nothing around here stays fixed. That’s why anybody who grew up doing this never wants to do anything else.” He always denied having said that, and I believe him (it doesn’t sound quite like his manner of speaking), but there’s a certain amount of truth to the sentiment.
The day was a cascade of minor issues, each building on the last; didn’t have a single serious problem, but every single thing I went to do took 2-3 extra steps and an extra half hour; in large part, this was because I kept getting in a hurry, and every time I did, I’d cause an issue that would put me further behind. That evening, after everything was wrapped up, I looked back at the day and laughed, putting together the following list of what went wrong & right:
What went wrong:
- Went out for morning feeding to find that the group 2 pigs had knocked down a paddock gate & several of them had decided to go explore the far reaches of the property;
- Simultaneously, the neighbor’s cows tore down the fence & got in the pasture;
- While in the process of repairing the gate, my dad dropped by to get a tool that he had loaned me – this was when I discovered that it was not in the toolbox (still can’t figure out where it got to);
- After getting the pigs back in, putting the cows out, and fixing the fence, I finished the new paddocks in preparation for moving the feeder pigs. As I went to clear the fence line of weeds, the weedeater wouldn’t start.
- After fixing the weedeater and energizing the fence, it was losing voltage & I couldn’t figure out where – turned out that the insulation on a jumper wire had cracked, causing a nearly invisible short;
- After fixing the short, I moved the pigs into their new paddock; while moving the shelter, I tore a sheet of tin off of it;
- The new sow knocked down a panel and escaped her pen, wandered down the irrigation ditch and ended up in the horse pasture (no idea why so many animals getting out – something that has not happened with us previously);
- While getting ready to load the big sows for a move down to the bosque, the trailer fell off the truck ball.
What went right:
- The pigs respected the electric fence, even after having knocked down the gate;
- The pigs were a pleasure to handle; even the escapees gave no trouble in bringing them back;
- I got to work alongside Alexis all day – she dropped her important projects to help me put out little fires;
- In the course of looking for the chainsaw file, I found the pair of fence pliers that I’d been searching for the last several days;
- Got a chance to work with our new sow – still a little wild, but actually a real sweetheart;
- All the pigs got moved to new grass; the actual move, once we finally got to that part, was quick, easy, and low-stress;
- I got to use the impact driver that a friend had given me to fix the pig shelter;
- My aunt had recently given me the very tools that I needed to recover the trailer;
- We confirmed service on the newest sow (of course, she and the boar decided to hold their little tryst right in the gate of the pen that I was trying to clear to load the other sows, but I was still glad to confirm service).
All told, the good stuff is the big, important stuff, and the bad was little minor annoyances; the good far outweighs the bad, and even the stuff that went wrong was fun (in retrospect). All I can say is that as far as I’m concerned it beats standing in front of a computer screen for a living.