Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 21, 2009

The snows on the mountains have made the views spectacular!

But the rains and slush have also made driving more hazardous than normal. Here is the back half of a double-trailer semi that was hauling cement on the road by Lago Lancanoa. The road was blocked for most of Sunday night, through early Monday morning. Or maybe it was Saturday-Sunday. I don't know.

I was all happy and feeling pretty smug with my pig-vegatable trade. I got the tools and stuff organized and stored neatly beneath the stairs. I made firestarter trays with cut up egg crates smeared with floor wax and stuffed with charcoal. I made bread sticks and roasted some chicken and made guacamole. I was feeling all happy and pretty smug. Then Nono came for a visit, with my pig, and said the produce guy decided he wasn't going to take the pig. And, the pig was hungry and needed food. She said there was no more harania left from the bag I had purchased.

There was the pig, out on my porch snorting, squealing, rooting around looking for food! I asked Nono why the guy changed his mind. She shrugged. She didn't know. But the pig definately needs food. I keep a coffee can on the counter where I throw in kitchen scaps, keeping them separate from paper or plastic or other garbage. I grabbed the can of scraps, and dumped it into a pan of cooked rice, mixed in a cup of cornmeal, some powdered milk, a cup of flour, tossed in some mushy bananas I was going to use to make banana bread, some pine nuts and poured in some warm water and slopped it in a bucket. Nono had to leave, saying she would check on another possible trader for the pig in town tomorrow after she got back from Argentina. I slopped the hog. I felt so bad that the pig had had no food for two days. She tore up the food bucket. She was so hungry she let me pet her, something she never allows.

I came back in the house and scrounged around for anything else...the dried cornbread cubes I was saving for cornbread dressing. A couple more bananas, another cup of powdered milk, a cup of oatmeal, a half a can of stale beer. I took the pot out and slopped the hog again. She finished, and grunted her way under the house, out of the rain. I gathered the pot and the bucket and came inside to scrub them up.

Later, it's dark out and we had a nice dinner, the fire raging, a movie in the DVD player. I cleaned and chopped some aji peppers and sliced garlic to dry on a screen above the wood stove. It was a nice evening, but the pig dilema was heavy on my mind and I burned my hand on the stove pipe turning the screen of drying aji and garlic..

June 22, 2009

Nono and Ismael were going to Argentina today, so as I was having my Queenly coffee served in bed, I heard someone at the front door. What the hell? "Greg! See who is at the front door!" (He was making my second cup of coffee downstairs)

I hear the front door scrape open (we've taken it off the hinges twice now to shave the bottom but it still sticks) and Greg hollers up, "You have a visitor!" Shit! I'm still in my long johns. "It's a surprise," he says. I pull my work jeans on over my long johns and go downstairs. Greg is standing in front of the closed door, grinning. "You won't believe who it is," he says. He opens the door, and there stands my pig. Grunting. Hungry. Good Grief! So I drag out a pig pot, make her some sloppy oatmeal, throw in the last of my precious cornmeal, some flour, two decent bananas, a package of whole-wheat crackers, a half a cup of powdered milk and some warm water. Breakfast for La Choncha.

I cannot wait for Nono to get back from Argentina and find a trader. I have to go to town and get her some food. And I realize that even if we were not going to trade her, I now could not have her butchered or eat her. She now has become something more to me than a commodity to sell, or trade. A creature with needs, a hungry critter who looks to me as a source of nourishment and comfort (which is one in the same for a pig, I assume). If the produce man really does not want her now, I wonder if I can breed her? Do I have what it takes to provide her the right kind of shelter? How DO you breed a pig? That would mean I'd have to find a guy pig. Does she go to him, or does he come to her? Really, how do you get an 80-kilo pig to a date with a guy pig? I'm getting ahead of myself though. Right now I just need to go get her some food, and figure out what to do later.

In retrospect, I needed a pig like I needed a hole in my head.


Laura said...

You do have your adventures there-a pig farmer eh?

"Pigs can breed often, have a short gestation period and produce large litters. These factors make breeding pigs lucrative. You only need a few males to breed many females. A single boar, at least a year in age, can breed with 50 females housed in stalls, or 40 located in a pasture."

So, it looks like you'll need about 49 females and one boar...hehe

Jeff said...

Well Vick, take it from someone that bred a lot of pigs in college (I think we called it going ugly early), breeding a pig is similar to breeding most other animals, you need to find a boy pig. You could try finind a horny dog or an excitable money but I am pretty sure you just need a boy pig. However, then you need to be ready to raise baby pigs which is al ittle more involved (mommy pigs sometimes eat or lay on baby pigs).

Love you, Cheers from China