Charlotte, aka Princess Charlotte, on National Pig Day
Yesterday was somewhat of a big deal here on The Smay Farm. Not only was it March first, which the first of the month is Man Blog day, but it was also National Pig Day. One little bib overall-wearing wonder buns farmer basked in all his little farmer glory. Every day is a celebration of The Bibbed Wonder’s porcine royal court here on the farm. Eric loves his pigs. He finds them funny, intelligent, and full of character, and they produce bacon seeds, his favorite form of farm-raised produce.
Currently, the girls holding the royal court are Eddie, Nueve, Charlotte, Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose, with the latest addition being Wendi…with an I. Cleetus now holds the honor of the king of the court, but more accurately, he’s the court jester. I consider Cleetus to be the equivalent of the piggie Bibbed Wonder. He’s not happy unless he is tormenting someone. He doesn’t stop teasing the other girls even when it is clear they don’t find him humorous. And he walks around scratching himself, sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, and making messes. All the while, he smiles his wicked yet charming crooked-toothed smile.
The queen of the barn, Miss Eddie, doesn’t find Cleetus charming at all. If given a choice between laying in the barn with Cleetus or sitting on a hay bale in the rain, she will choose the hay bale in the rain. Cleetus will go from girl to girl, trying to get a rise out of one of them. He’s not being romantic; he’s annoying. He will push his snout into the girl’s sides, bottoms, and heads, grunting and chatting. If that doesn’t result in an angry outburst, he will bite their ears or tails until they jump up and chase him out of the barn. Once outside, he will sit and grin, yes grin, as if to say, “Gotcha!”
Our girls are enjoying a break from Cleetus and his torment. Jenna asked us to care for her little girl, Wendi, until her barn is remodeled. Wendi and Cleetus are in the pasture across the driveway from the barn. To say they are enjoying each other’s company is an understatement. Wendi is Cleetus’ shadow. He is never out of her sight. She doesn’t seem to care that Cleetus has a crooked grin, is annoying, or sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong. She follows him around and smiles from ear to ear, enjoying her new friend.
She appears to love the outdoors, the unlimited feed, the mud puddles, and her cozy little hut shared with her new friend. When I drive down the driveway, Wendi and Cleetus chase the car and talk to me the whole way down the drive. The pig couple can be found walking about the pasture field, basking in the sun, or rolling in their mud pits. Wendi is quite possibly the friendliest little pig I have ever met. I don’t dare go in with her because she isn’t satisfied unless everyone in her presence is covered in dirty snout marks.
Wendi has not yet been introduced to the rest of the porcine crew. Pigs are large, cumbersome, can be aggressive, and can gang up on a newbie. Introducing her to Cleetus was the best and safest option. While Wendi enjoys Cleetus’ company, the other girls enjoy their break from him. Yesterday, we spent time in the barn with the girls and could not get over how quiet everyone was. Nobody was fighting, fussing, growling, or angry. The girls patiently sat, stood, and laid down while we put a crown on their heads and took photos. The only one who was disagreeable was Rose, who is a fussy pants.
My bib overall wearing pig farmer adores his piggies. The girls and Cleetus are treated with gentleness, kindness, and respect. These intelligent, cumbersome creatures stole Eric’s heart when he was just a kid. Did you know a pig has the problem-solving ability of a three-year-old toddler? Did you also know that pigs raised in big, confined, agri-business industrial farms go mad with boredom? Allow me to jump on my soapbox for just a bit. There isn’t an animal alive meant to stay prisoner, often in isolation, without exercise, mental stimulation, sunshine, and fresh grass. It’s inhumane and cruel, in my opinion. I don’t care that the creature only has a lifespan of a few months. Those months should not be spent in misery. The big business farms will argue that it’s about efficiency, production, keeping costs down, and meeting supply and demand. The animal’s well-being is secondary to the all-mighty dollar.
At our farm, the animal’s well-being comes first. We may be the stewards of these creatures for a short time, but the life they live with us is well spent with friends, freedom, and the ability to have the life a pig was meant to have. We feed our pigs well with a plant-based diet. Some local farmers feed their pigs outdated baked goods; sometimes, they don’t even remove the plastic wrapping. Some of these farmers feed their pigs anything, expired meat, moldy vegetables, whatever garbage they can acquire on the cheap. Pigs aren’t meant to eat that way. Our pigs eat corn mash, vegetable scraps, pears, eggs, and the occasional marshmallow…they love marshmallows. They are given pats and scratches. Nobody is knocked around or mistreated. If animals are treated with gentleness, kindness, and respect, they will return the favor. They provide us with sustenance; the least we can do is make their short-lived life as happy as possible. In my opinion, it’s the right thing to do.
I strongly recommend shopping around for a local farmer to purchase your family’s meat. Go to the farm, and see with your own eyes how the animal is treated, the conditions it is kept, and the overall well-being of the animals and their health. I encourage you to ask questions. Inquire what the animal is fed. Do they have access to fresh water and air, can move around, and live the life they were meant to live? If the animals look miserable, they probably are. If they look sickly, they probably are. Know your food and, more importantly, know your farmer. The lecture is over; the soapbox has been removed. Insert a wink here.
On this lovely March day, stay safe, be smart, be a consumer with a conscience, know where your food comes from, and keep washing your hands. If you go to the products page, shop, and use promo code: PigDay23 at check out, you receive $2 off EACH PRODUCT. What better way to celebrate National Pig Day? Also, feel free to wear a crown. Crowns make everyone feel special. Insert a wink and a smile.