Mrs Pig is very happy. Mr Pig is home and there are all sorts of shenanigans going on out in the forest. Mr Pig is very happy too. Not only for the obvious but also for his daily session with the leaf rake...he just loves having a good scratch. He stands, melodiously grunting, as I spend about ten to fifteen minutes each day going from one end to the other scrubbing as hard as the plastic teeth on the leaf rake will manage. Mr Pig has been up the road visiting Mary and Jane and, once Mrs Pig has had enough of him, he will be heading off to Rata for a month. From Rata, he will visit a 'Turakina-Mrs-Pig' and, about October, will head back home here to stay with Mrs May who belongs to another neighbour. At the moment, his December calendar is rather empty but, no doubt, that will change. Sharing is the easiest way to keep a boar. He's big, he's handsome, he's well-bred and, above all, he has a wonderful temperament. He'll follow a bucket anywhere and never hesitates to climb up into the horse float (could it be the pile of sweet feed waiting for him?). In fact, he's so good at loading I can drive into a paddock, drop the back of the float, give a yell and stand back. The last time I took him up the road I had put half a bucket of sweet feed onto the horse float floor. When I arrived he trundled out, suddenly realised he hadn't quite finished the sweet feed and tore back in again to lick the floorboards!
I am often told I am very lucky to have such a good boar but I'm sure it's because he has always been handled on a regular basis. The usual fee for loaning someone's boar is a piglet from the litter, but I have enough piglets for my needs. All I ask is that Mr Pig is well cared for, well fed, and is given a good scratch every day. He had missed his daily scrub when he was with Mary and Jane because they had been free ranging after the carrot harvester for the last two weeks. I couldn't believe the colour of his bottom when I went to pick him up - I could have used him to help the Arahina berth!
Little Cream Cheese has lost one of her horns. Saturday morning there was nothing amiss when she arrived for breakfast but, to my dismay, she turned up for tea with a blood-covered, and much smaller, horn. My first reaction when I saw the blood down the side of her face was that she had broken the horn off but I then realized that the horn was still the right shape, only much smaller. It briefly crossed my mind that she had bunted something so hard she had pushed the horn back into her head but that didn't seem right - her eye was still in the right place. Isn't it remarkable how, in the space of a few short seconds, the mind can throw up so many possibilities, weigh them up, spit them back out again and then seek yet another solution. I tried to have a closer look and was nearly skewered for my troubles and so, armed with a couple of sensible ideas, I phoned my LEARNED-FRIEND-OF-MANY-YEARS.
The prognosis was confirmed. She had caught her horn in something, tearing the outer hard casing off and leaving the soft inner part exposed. My LEARNED-FRIEND-OF-MANY-YEARS suggested I shouldn't touch it for fear of causing death (and she wasn't meaning Little Cream Cheese!). Her advice was to leave it well alone - the main problem with this injury being flystrike which, of course, was not going to happen with the below zero temperatures we were experiencing. If flystrike was going to be a possibility I would have to head bale her and spray, or squirt, a suitable preparation from a suitable distance. As Little Cream Cheese is in excellent health and was under no added stress I decided to leave it alone as further complications were highly unlikely. I was assured that the centrepiece left would harden and be quite touchable in about three to four weeks. I was also assured that everyone would still think Little Cream Cheese was very beautiful even though she now has a lop-sided head to match her lop-sided udder. Poor Little Cream Cheese. She had such a fine set of horns but I'm sure, once the horn has repaired itself, she will still be able to flick, poke, prod and shish kebab to her usual high standard. Three years ago she lost two quarters with mastitis yet she continues to produce more milk than any of the other cows from the two good quarters left. I'm sure her tenacity will overcome this extra little disability as well.