CHARLOTTE, THE ERIC OF THE BARNYARD
Although I make n0 attempt to disguise my dislike for pigs in general, I do have a few favorites that I am very fond of. Miss Charlotte falls into this category. Charlotte is a little girl born to our first Hereford sow, Delilah. Charlotte has always stood out from the rest of the herd. She has always been friendly, playful, comical, and attention seeking. When she was small, Eric taught her to sit like a dog for marshmallow treats. She has always been a delightful creature.
Eric went out of town for work and I had to care for the pigs. Every time I went to the barn, Charlotte, who wasn’t named at that point, would wait for me, walk with me, and sit at my feet waiting for a treat when I stopped. She was not at all like her obnoxious litter mates and I took to her immediately. This particular litter was scheduled to go to market the following week. I told Eric this little girl could not go to market. She trusts us, she is a pet, she is smart, she is personable, she had 14 boobies and it would be cruel to send her to market. His joke making knows no boundaries and his response was, “Bacon tastes better when it is loved.” This is one of the times I did not find him funny.
After much cajoling, he conceded to keeping her on one condition, I find buyers for the pig and a half he still had for sale. He never thought in a million years I would be able to sell a pig and a half in less than a week. I love when he under estimates me. Wasting no time, I went to Facebook, explained my situation, gave out Eric’s phone number to serious inquiries and the pig and a half was sold by days end. Score one for me…and Charlotte…she was then named.
Charlotte has been a wonderful addition to our farm family. Although now weighing more than 500 lbs., she is still playful, still delightful, still has a sense of humor, and not only is a wonderful, protective mother but has very easy deliveries. Eric says that I get to pick the pigs we keep from now on because she is such a sweetheart. I am still quite fond of Charlotte even though she is now big and intimidating.
I think I am fond of Charlotte because in many ways, she is the Eric of the porcine world. She is constantly picking and teasing one of the other pigs. Not in a mean aggressive way but in a comical, I’m doing everything I can to annoy you kind of way…very much like Eric. In the morning, Eric let’s her out of her stall to get some exercise, use the restroom, and take some fresh air. She is in a nursery stall preparing to deliver in the next few days, so she gets a large private stall, her own feeder and waterer, and all the treats and attention she can stand. She is now on the side of the barn with the goats. In the morning, she knows the goats all rush the door to go outside and she purposefully stands in the doorway, blocking it so no one can get past her. After creating a panic-stricken traffic jam, she runs outside, turns around and runs back at the goats like a huge bowling ball. After ensuing chaos, she goes back to the barn, gets mouthfuls of hay, throws it in the air and runs through it. All the while, she has a twinkle in her eye and a comical expression on her face. If a pig could smile, she would be smiling from ear to ear. I adore her.
Of all the girls we have, we have to be the most cautious with her when she has little ones. She is a very protective mother. For as gentle, comical, and playful as she is, she is equally protective and assertive when she is mothering. I don’t mess with her when she has little ones. After she had her first litter, I was in the stall with her and she got up, started barking at me, and made a rather aggressive movement toward me. All the while, I am panicking and saying, “What’s she doing? What’s she doing?” Jordan, who is developing her father’s wry humor yells, “She’s trying to eat you! Get out of there!” Get out of there I did. Eric and Jordan made fun of me for weeks, imitating me squealing and running for my life. Sometimes, it is so obvious I made poor life choices…sigh…with laughter and a wink.
We are awaiting Charlotte’s delivery with anxiety and anticipation. We have lost two of our beloved mama pigs this year in delivery scenarios. Delivery is always dangerously beautiful. I am hoping she waits to deliver after our Christmas Market on Saturday. There have been several occasions we have been up until the wee hours of the morning only to turn around, get showered and go to market. Those make for some very unpleasant days. However, when all goes well, nothing is cuter or more rewarding than seeing little babies about the barnyard.
As always dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, don’t forget to find the humor in life, and of course, wash those hands.