Friday, May 30, 2008

Why dogs and houseguests don't mix

My sister is coming to stay for a few days, so my plan for today was to clean house in the morning and cut the grass in the afternoon.

Since I don’t have a spare room, sis sleeps on the couch. Yes, that couch. The one the dogs sleep on. The only one I have. In the living room. Yes, the living room the dogs sleep in. Yes, I know everything in there is covered in dog fur – I’ve been too busy outside lately to clean properly.

She’s my sister, for heaven’s sake! She can live with a few dog hairs. After all, she’s family. Just like my dogs are family. Get used to it.

But.....guilt, guilt, guilt.....I decided I really should give the living room a little more than a lick and a promise. It’s a small room – should only take an hour for a thorough cleaning. How much dog hair can three dogs produce?

I decided to rearrange furniture - there's nothing like rearranging furniture to make a room really feel clean. And nothing like rearranging furniture to uncover the spiders, dead flies, dust moose and dirty socks that have been cowering under and behind furniture since the last time it was rearranged.

Of course, once I'd pulled the couch out I realized how dirty the rug was. No problem. I have a nice new carpet cleaner – I’ll just give it a quick shampoo. Oh, but first I have to vacuum the dog hair up so it doesn't clog the shampooer.

Hmmmm……how to do this. I know! I’ll move all the furniture to one side, vacuum, shampoo, move it all to other side...

I start. Looks good. Move furniture to other side. Vacuum second half……Whooops – is that moisture I see heading into my very expensive Dyson Animal Vac? I must have run over a freshly shampooed part of the rug that didn’t have all the water sucked out of it. Oh poop.

No problem....I’ll just quickly take the vacuum apart, dry it out, and continue.
Pull out manual to find out how to clean it...., take out rollers, dry out hoses, .....hmmmmm, still moisture in there. I can fix this....take out screwdriver and remove faceplate on bottom of vacuum. Oooooops - who knew all those little plastic bits were going to come tumbling out?? Reconstruct vacuum ***whew*** actually got it back together and there’s no extra pieces sitting on the table.

Back to the manual. Next step: clean filter. this, take out that, rinse under tap. Last step: “Let filter dry for at least 12 hours”.


But my sister will be here in nine!!! And I need to vacuum!!!! Why didn’t they say that first?????: Would it be so difficult to print “CAUTION: YOU WILL HAVE TO WAIT TWELVE HOURS AFTER DOING THIS STEP”???

Hang filters outside to dry. Lug in Shop Vac from garage....vacuum....shampoo....rearrange room for dog beds (you know, the ones that only Belle sleeps in since Charley sleeps on the couch and Sadie prefers the rug).....rearrange furniture.....still no room for dog beds......rearrange furniture.....contemplate getting rid of dog beds .....rearrange furniture....contemplate getting rid of dogs.....return furniture to original location.

Total time to clean living room: 5 hours 45 minutes.

Sis, I hope you know what I went through for you.

Oh shoot, I forgot to open up the hide-a-bed to check for dog hairs which, upon hearing the vaccum, had beat a hasty retreat down the back of the couch and embedded themselves in the mattress.

So much for the rest of the housework or the lawn. I just hope the dogs will distract her sufficiently that she won't notice the mess. Maybe I'll just smear a little liverpaste on her suitcase as she walks through the door.

Martin's Extreme Makeover - Pasture Edition

Alpacas are very clean animals who “do their business” in the same spot every day, creating a nice orderly pile which is easy to scoop up. Once a week I head to the spot with wheelbarrow, pails and scooper and then my neighbour from a few doors down comes to claim it for her garden.

Every now and then, Martin decides it is time to renovate and chooses another spot in the field for his ensuite. This morning, I discovered he chose to relocate his toilet right smack in the middle of the walking path that the dogs and I use daily.

Thanks, pal! It’s hard enough to keep those three from snacking on the ‘paca pellets without having you deposit it right in front of their noses!

So armed with pooper scooper, pail and rake, I left the dogs behind the gate and Martin chowing down on his grain and walked down the path to clear the mess.

I scooped and raked, and turned around to head back to the gate....and found myself looking right into the big brown eyes of an inquisitive alpaca. He had apparently stealthily followed me down the path and was silently contemplating my handiwork.

I informed him that I was very sorry but he would have to relocate his bathroom elsewhere. Of course, he informed me that this was HIS pasture, the dogs and I were guests, and he would renovate any way he pleased!

He has a point. I may have to cut a trail around a certain poopy pile for a while, until he tires of that spot.

Meanwhile, visitors be warned – wear boots with easily-rinsed soles. ‘Paca pellets love to stick in the nooks and crannies of deeply-grooved footwear -- and they are the very devil to get out!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pigs, Pups and Petals

The pictures pretty much speak for themselves - it is a beautiful day, the pigs spent hours in the pasture, there are wildflowers blossoming everywhere (and some not so wild that previous tenants or seed-eating wildlife must have planted), and the dogs are loving having me home with them:

First, the piggies:


Pig in Flowers

Take time to smell the

Ummm...excuse us, we're bathing!!!

Bet you can't find me, Foster Mama!

Pigs and dogs:

Mom! The pigs are out!

Sadie loves pigwatching

Sharing secrets?

And more dogs:

Belle in flowers

Mom! I'm lost!


Charley in flowers


And flowers (mostly unnamed because I'm too lazy to look them all up!):

In the pasture

In the pasture

In the pasture


Pink bush on front fence


In the pasture

On roadside near house

On roadside near house

Poking through fence

Comfrey in pasture

Pasture scene


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The story of Cee

My blog is usually about the joy that animals bring to my life. I hope it also acts as a venue to educate those who might, by chance, end up here when googling for information about animals. It is about animal care and everyday life and our human responsibility as stewards of the earth.

Sometimes, however, I get so angry at the sorry group of people who call themselves humans. There is little humanity in the actions of some. And today I am angry. And so I am going to share with you the source of my anger – the story of a dog whom I will call Cee. It is hearsay and there may be another side to it – I am reporting only what I have been told of the situation by others in the rescue community.

About a month ago, a woman contacted some people involved in animal rescue. She wanted to rehome Cee who had very serious skin problems – likely an autoimmune problem exacerbated by allergies. People in rescue stepped up to offer financial help with vet costs (one of her big concerns as she is a single parent) and advice and direction on addressing canine skin disorders. One group said they had no space at that time but would pay all costs for the dog to remain in the person’s home while they looked for a new home – the woman would be fostering the dog for the rescue until that time. The woman refused their offer; she said she wasn’t going to nurse the dog back to health just to have Cee placed somewhere else.

Another rescuer offered to pay the vet costs with no strings attached – her offer was ignored or refused. Bottom line was that the woman wanted the dog gone – as is so often the case, her excuse that she couldn’t afford the bills was just her attempt at justifying her lack of heart.

This week, she contacted another person in rescue, saying she’s taking the dog to the pound if someone doesn’t take her immediately. It’s no coincidence that she “needs” Cee out NOW – the woman is heading off on vacation. (Edited to add: it has since been determined that this is not the truth - whether someone just misunderstood or the woman lied in order to put pressure on the rescues, who knows????)

Cee is apparently in such bad shape her skin is practically falling off – she is in pain, she is itching constantly, she is tearing and biting at her skin, she is unloved and unwanted. And the woman can’t be bothered with her any more. So she’s given rescue 24 hours to “fix” her problem for her and then she will take Cee to the pound.

I have nothing against shelters and pounds – the workers in them, with few exceptions, do their very best with the limited funds and time available. But they are not the place for special needs dogs. Cee will deteriorate further from both the stress of life in a kennel with other stressed out dogs, and lack of the very costly supplements and premium foods needed to try to address her problems.

Because Cee is an owner surrender, some rescues won’t take her. They argue it is the responsibility of the owner to care for her – rescues are not a dumping ground to enable people to shirk their responsibilities. I agree wholeheartedly that the family should honour their obligation to Cee, but fact of the matter is that they aren’t going to.

So instead Cee will be placed in yet another stressful situation where she will deteriorate further. Eventually she will deteriorate to the point that the shelter euthanizes her either out of compassion or due to a lack of space - the unadoptable ones are euth'd first. Or perhaps, at that point, a rescue will decide to accept her and will place her in foster care where she can receive the help she needs – if it is not too late.

It breaks my heart to know that poor dog will have to suffer even more at the hands of humans who have the ability to help.

I cannot take Cee into my own home – an important part of caring for animals is knowing your limits. But I do believe it is kinder to help this very ill dog to die than to create conditions that will make her situation even worse. And so I have offered to help in the only way I can – to cover the costs and hold Cee in my arms while a vet euthanizes her. I will take her to my own vet if necessary, though I would prefer it to be done at the woman’s home, so Cee will not be stressed further with a trip to the vet. And I would like the woman and children present so Cee’s death will be forever part of their memory of the experience and responsibility of owning a pet.

I have no idea if the family will take me up on my offer, or if they will even be told of it by those who are in contact with her. Perhaps it is already too late. But the offer had to be made -- it simply is not right that Cee should have to suffer even more than she already has just because of people’s stubbornness or unwillingness to put the needs of the animal first.

Those of us who love animals and take our responsibilities seriously will never be able to save the world. But if each of us does what IS within our means to do, if each of us helps end suffering one critter at a time, then we will have the right to call ourselves human.

Anything less is inhumane.

Monday, May 26, 2008

An Oasis for the Piggies...

Subtitled: The things I do for my foster babes!!!

Yesterday it was shaping up to be another hot day and the pigs were already looking hot and tired. So I put them out in the pasture where the grass is long and green and cool, and while they were there I made them a little oasis in the middle of their piggy yard:

Nearly done - Beach umbrella firmly planted, dirt dug, pool filled - just a bit more raking to do...

Hey, guys, I'm not finished yet!

"That's okay, Mom, we like it just how it is!"

Um, Soda, you're spilling all the water!

"Well, that's how ya make MUD, Foster Mama!"

Now they not only have water but also shade and soft, freshly dug dirt (for that spa-like mudbath - they like mud much more than sand)…..all it needs is some palm trees and a tray of margaritas and I will be out there in my deck chair with them!

Scotch is not a beach babe- he'd rather hang out near the fence

And Tom would prefer to stay in the pasture rooting around in the cool grass.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Day is Done

A beautiful sunset to end a beautiful day: I helped out at Hearts on Noses, trimming tusks and trotters; spent lots of time out in my yard mowing and trimming and mowing some more in the hot but breezy weather; Ellen and Kinley came for BBQ and beer (well, Ellen had beer, not Kinley - he just raced around and around the yard with poor little Belle in hot pursuit and Charley and Sadie barking their encouragement!!); a dry thunderstorm echoed through the hills; and then this beautiful sunset burned up the sky just as the frogs started their evening chorus and a large barn owl swooped over the field. Nature at its best.

One year ago today

Caleb on his "Gotcha Day"

It was one year ago today that I adopted dear, sweet Caleb, my brindle boy, my pitti-lab cross who pawed his way into my heart, who snuggled on my bed, who tormented the cat and charged ahead of us all on the dikes and loved his daycare and most of all, who loved me every bit as much as I loved him.

May 24th, 2007 - Caleb's Gotcha Day. We never got to celebrate his first year with me because on December 8th, 2007 he was diagnosed with cancer and on February 20th, 2008 he left this earth.

I miss you Caleb. I hope you are having a blast at the Rainbow Bridge. Wait for me, sweet boy - someday I will see you again. You were the very best.

From Cowichan Valley SPCA, who kept him safe for seven months.... my car, for the long trip home.... claim his place in my home and my heart.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A busy day with a magic moment ending

The piggies and I had a great day today – the piggies because they got lots of treats and lots of time in the pasture, and me because I got a TON of work done.

The day started with an hour’s weedwhacking with my NEW battery-operated electric weedwhacker. Yes, I caved and bought one after having my arms turn to jello and my shoulder pulled from the socket yet again with the gas one. My 20V Yarkworks cordless trimmer and edger is a dream!!! It does a great job even in my long, somewhat wet grasses – a much more efficient job than the gas one. The lithium battery lasts a good hour at full power, and an hour is about all I can manage at a time so that works for me. It has automatic feed (no more “bumping”) with cartridge spools (no more “winding”), and I was able to get it well balanced for my short frame by installing the accessory handle below the midpoint instead of above as the diagram showed. Goodbye, back-breaking, arm-numbing Not-So-Featherlite gas trimmer!!!

As well as weedwhacking for an hour this morning, I finally did the “big clean” on the barn that I have been meaning to get to all week - washed all the pig dishes and containers and storage bins, cleaned the main part (feed area/hay storage) of the barn, completely cleaned the stalls right down to the bare floor and put new straw in the bed area, new shavings in the pee area, cleaned the small fenced potty area and put new shavings down, and raked the pig yard.

We had some awesome visitors, potential adopters who are busy planning how best to meet the needs of piggies at their hobby farm which is quickly becoming a forever home for rescued animals. They came bearing gifts – a bale of alfalfa, a big bag of peanuts, and a cash donation to Hearts on Noses. The piggies displayed their enthusiasm for the peanuts by raising their snouties high and showing how nicely they can “sit” for a treat. They will be very excited to get some alfalfa with their breakfast tomorrow.

The piggies spent two hours in the pasture while I carted old hay, piggy poop and shavings back and forth. They were very good – not straying too far, and coming whenever I called them. Returning to the barn, Scotch was a little perturbed to find I had taken all the old broken down straw and hay out and put down nice fresh straw – he does NOT like people messing with his bed! So he sulked out in the pig yard for a while, where much of the old straw and hay was now distributed over the muddiest, most slippery sections. But by dinner time he had gotten over it and was buried up to the snoutie in his fresh bed of straw.

I did a dump run, picked up some fruit and veggie trimmings from my friend Lou, spent another hour weedwhacking, chatted with a neighbour, and threw in a couple of loads of laundry. Not bad for one day.

I was already feeling very content with life when I went to close up the barn for the night and had one of those “awwwwwwwww” moments. With the sleeping stall full of nice fresh straw and the old hay all removed, it was pretty easy to see something was amiss when I went to close the barn door. I could see a big pile of pale straw in the feeding stall, between the water dish and the burlap flap of the piggy door. A closer inspection and three little piggie heads popped up.

In the past, I sometimes found hay/straw in the feeding stall. I always assumed the pigs just dragged it around accidentally when they went to get a drink. But today the truth came out.

I guess three of the babes figure they are big enough to have their “own” room now instead of sleeping with mama and papa. There they were, side-by-side-by-side on the piles of straw they must have carried from the other stall, looking out at the night sky through the gaps around the burlap.

Too bad it was too dark for a picture, and they were snuggled too deeply in straw for me to figure out just which three they were. But it sure put a smile on my face. Sleep well, little ones!

Napping in the pigyard

Scotch and Soda

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"It only takes a SPARK..... get a fire going". And hopefully the group of little Sparks (the youngest branch of the Girl Guide Association) who visited Hearts on Noses Pig Sanctuary tonight will ignite a fire of compassion, concern and generosity for the many abandoned and abused potbellied pigs who have found their way to the sanctuary.

Watching and talking with fourteen little girls ages 5-7 (many with their parents and a few with their little brothers in tow), was an interesting experience. To see the piggies through their eyes, to see their expressions of concern when they heard the stories behind how the pigs came to the sanctuary, to hear them giggle as they fed Tortilla and Casanova and Pebbles and Comet and all the others the tasty carrot sticks they had brought with them, to listen to their exclamations and questions as Janice showed them pigs that could sit, twirl, kiss – what a fun time!

Those little girls will surely have stories to tell their teachers and classmates tomorrow, and hopefully one day in the future at least one of them will remember the day when she met some piggies whose families had abandoned them and she will say "Taking on an animal is a lifetime commitment. You don't just get a piggy or puppy or kitty and then give it up!"

And maybe, if we are very lucky, that little girl will one day decide to adopt or sponsor a pair of piggies, or to volunteer at a rescue or sanctuary, or to donate whatever she can in time or money or goods to help the critters.

Just as a spark can ignite a fire, so too can a seed planted in the mind of a child become a commitment to animal stewardship when the child becomes a young adult.

I hope Janice and I planted a few seeds today.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Those Naughty Little Pigs!

Tonight I was a bit late getting home. The dogs were eager to go for a run, Martin wanted his chow, the piggies needed to eat and so did I. I also had produce to unload from the truck and store in critter-proof bins, and as I have an early morning tomorrow I needed to get the water jugs filled and other preparation done to make morning tasks go smoothly. I methodically worked my way through the list of chores, keeping an eye on the fading light. At last all was done, and I went to close up the barn for the night just as the sun tucked itself to bed.

To close up the barn, I have two choices - I can step over 12 sleeping piggies in their stall in the barn to reach the door (their idea, not mine - they insist on sleeping in the wrong part of the stall!), or I can enter from the field and close the door from the outside. I usually do the latter, and that's what I chose to do tonight.

But just as I swung the big door shut, one naughty little piggy decided to make a run for it - out through the last few inches of doorway into the pigyard. I closed the barn door anyway, and asked the piggy what he was going to do now. He just looked at me and wiggled his snoutie as if to say "You figure it out, Foster Mama....maybe you could lead me back in with a cookie? or ice cream? or strawbewwies??????".

I went over to the gate that opens into the little pig potty area, an area with a piggy door (like a dog door but for pigs!) that would let the monkey back into the barn again. But would he go? No! To the contrary, I no sooner opened that gate than another little snoutie pokes through the flap of the piggy door, followed by two little ears and four little trotters and a round grey body.....and pig number two is out in the big pig yard.

Before I can say "go back to bed", Rob Roy and Derby and Whisper and Fizz and Rickey and the rest of the crew join their brothers. "Is it a party? Are we having a party???? Are we?? Are we????Did she bring ice cream???? Are there treats??????"

S i g h .........the only ones who stayed in bed were Mama Soda and Papa Scotch. And one problem with having ten little piggies bonded to each other and to their human is that they don't threaten easily and nor do they run squealing into the barn when I try to shoo them along. They just clustered around me and raised their snouties high, oofing and ha ha-ing and waiting expectantly for the food that I didn't have!

Eventually I walked back to the house, leaving them standing around the big pig yard wondering what was going on. Sooner or later, I knew, they would make their way back through the potty yard, back through the piggy door, and back to their nice warm straw-and-wool-blankie beds.

But now that it is pitch dark, I have to go back out to close the gate from the potty area to the pig yard to keep them safe for the night. I just hope black pigs aren't lurking in dark corners of the yard, still waiting for Foster Mama to show up with the party food.

Whackin' the Weedwhacker

There are few tasks I hate more than weedwhacking. I would almost sooner spend a day vacuuming and ironing than a half hour with a weedwhacker (I said ALMOST – I haven’t completely lost my mind. Yet. )

I am convinced that every gas-powered weedwhacker on the market was designed by a 6’5” male who pumps iron for a hobby. And while electric weedwhackers are smaller and lighter, dragging a cord is not an option on a large piece of property with many fences and other obstacles like four footed furry friends who think anything moving around after mom must be worth getting tangled in.

Last year, I bought a gas powered weekwhacker called the FeatherLite. It was advertised as the lightest, easiest-to-use gas powered trimmer and shown being operated by a not-too-tall, not-too-muscular, middle aged woman. It was supposedly easy to start, easy to operate, and – well – “light as a feather”.

As the kids would say: NOT

I am 5’1”. The Monster is taller than I am. No adjusting of the “convenient adjustable handle” can turn it into a balanced, easy-to-use machine.

It took me several weeks of extreme frustration to even be able to get the thing started in less than an hour of hard pulling and without three trips to the hospital for dislocated shoulders (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit....but there were many times I gave up after 30 minutes of trying in vain to get it started).

Now you might say “She lives on a farm in a rural area – why does she need to weedwhack at all????” Valid question.

I have some of the nicest neighbours in the world. I know I could count on them in any emergency; they have wonderful, polite, well-behaved kids (yes, even the teens); they are thoughtful and kind; they share their eggs and flowers and produce with me; and they don’t object to my dogs or pigs or less-than-perfect property.

But they all seem to be obsessively keen gardners whose front yards (and back fields, in most cases!) are exceptionally well groomed. And I feel guilty if the part of my property immediately adjacent to theirs and visible to the road does not look at least moderately tidy. And so yesterday, as I watched the weeds wave gaily above the top of the lovely old stone wall between my house and my western neighbours, I decided it was time to bring out the Monster.

I was amazed that it only took me 6 pulls on choke, 6 pulls on half choke, wait five minutes, 6 more pulls of choke, and 3 more pulls on half choke to get the thing going. I whacked away down the length of the wall – a distance of about 75 feet. As I neared the end of it and started on the weeds fronting the property, my shoulder was aching, my back was beginning to do an involuntary imitation of Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” , my forearm was numb and my hand was a tingling, shaking mess of jello.

It was then I realized the string had broken for the umpteenth time and no amount of “gently tapping on the ground” would make more appear. I reluctantly stopped the machine, looked to see that there was, indeed, no more string sticking out, and tried in vain to remove the cap in order to reload. I twisted. I turned. I pushed. I pulled. There was no way this stubborn “easy line replacement” component was going to open.

Fortunately, just at that moment, the forecasted “intermittent showers” began. I put the Monster in the garage and went to work on other things, promising to find the instruction book and tackle it again later. Each time I thought about giving it another go, it would rain again. This morning, as I rolled out of bed groaning “Must weedwhack, Must weedwhack” a huge clap of thunder sounded overhead and the heavens opened.

There are times I just KNOW there is a god and She hears my prayers!

Now if She could only direct some short 97-pound weakling to design an efficient and easy to use gas weedwhacker.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Roughly Perfect Day

Today the weather was warm but not oppressive with a gentle breeze to keep the skin cool and the bugs away. It was one of those days that I remember as endless and frequent in my childhood – a day to spend outside, all day, running into the house only for food or drink or when the bladder is so full that a trip to the bathroom can no longer be avoided. (Oh how I envied the boys who could just stand facing a tree to relieve themselves without breaking away from their play!).

I left my watch in the house and let my body be my guide – working in the yard with no eye on the clock. I finished the fence around the little garden next to my back door. Charley is somewhat displeased as it was her favourite place to lie, but with her long thick fur she was the worst offender when it came to tracking dirt and bark mulch into the house.

I am really rather pleased with the end result, and in celebration planted my favourite herbs to complement the pansies, violets and other flowers already growing there. The finishing touch was adding a rustic name plate to the gate, a hand-me-down from my parents which has traveled with me from home to home for a number of years.

I confess, though, that I came up with the perfect name for my self-styled carpentry practice: “Eyeball Incorporated” – because more often than not, I end up eyeballing something to see if it is level, is the right angle, is long enough! Somehow it all works out and another task is off my to-do list and onto my “enjoy” list.

As I worked in the garden, the dogs were by my side. Lily, who I am dogsitting, was on a longline tied to a tree as she is a little runaway who is faster than a whippet and can squeeze through places no self-respecting mouse would attempt. Sadie tended to hang out as close to me as she could, while Charley and Belle moved about from tree to tree, and from sun to shade to sun, as the spirit willed. I was entertained by a baby squirrel in the nearby oak, and watched a Stellar Jay sun itself with wings outspread on the lopsided rocky retaining wall out front. Butterflies were abundant, the baby starlings were pip-pip-pipping from their nests under the eaves of the barn, and a robin stole a tuft of Martin's soft wool for its nest.

I took advantage of the breezy, warm weather to get several loads of laundry done, drying them on the clothesline – the oldest environmentally-friendly, solar-powered household appliance. I have always loved the smell of sun-dried material. As a child, when we had only a wringer washer and a clothesline, I would lie in bed at night with my nose snuggled into fresh sunshiney sheets and pillow cases, inhaling deeply of that warm, comforting smell. There is no fabric softener that duplicates it, no matter what the manufacturers choose to name their products.

While living on acreage in a 600 square foot 1930's home sometimes has its disadvantages, more often than not I think I was born in the wrong era. I know I will always be much happier with the simpler, more environmentally friendly, and far less materialistic or harried existence than most city folks seem to live today.

My friends Ellen (Kinley’s mom) and Janice (Hearts on Noses Pig Sanctuary) came over for barbequed fish and a spinach salad, which we ate outside with the dogs at our feet. Icecream was shared with the piggies (as well as candies, strawberries and watermelon), and much laughter was shared among friends.

"Yummy!!! Ice Cream!!!"

And now I am heading to bed, to inhale deeply of my fresh sunshine-scented pillow cases and sheets, and to let my mind reflect once again on how very, very blessed I am to live this life, in this place, with these critters and friends. It has been, indeed, a roughly perfect day.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Piggies' Pool Party

Most people are not aware that pigs do not sweat (so much for the term "sweating like a pig"!). They are therefore very vulnerable to heat stroke. So with the temperature at my place 30 degrees Celsius by noon, the piggies needed a way to cool down. I had one kiddie pool out in the pasture yesterday, but today I pulled out two more. And although all the piggies were happy to drink from the pools, and some were happy to wade in them, several needed an added incentive to actually get "down and dirty" and really cool off.

I learned last summer that the only way to get Scotch, the papa pig, into the pool was to toss some food in there. Piggies are VERY food motivated. So armed with apples and carrots, I planted the pools with tempting tidbits and watched the fun begin:

"Ooooh....apples!! But theyze in the water! Now what do we do?"

"Everyone into the pool!"

"Ummmm....I thinks we needs a bigger pool, Foster Mama!"

Watching RobRoy do his scuba-diving act (see entry below)