With the fall comes the harvest, and so keeping the piggies in fruit and veggies has become a little easier. Donations of crabapples, windfall apples, spinach and lettuce that has gone to seed, beet and carrot tops, mammoth sized zucchinis etc. are starting to drift in. In addition to their cup of grain a day, piggies need lots of veggies (especially green and yellow veggies) and fruits, in a ratio of 2/3 veggies, 1/3 fruits, to keep in top shape. As access to pasture grasses diminishes, finding enough greens for the piggies becomes a challenge. Those donations make a huge difference to the budget. And it sure shows in the piggies' healthy skin, shiny eyes, and beautiful black bristles.
I am adding straw to the piggies’ bed every few days now, to keep them warm these chilly nights. Soon it will be time to scrounge for old wool blankets as well. And I need to lay in some more hay for Martin and the pigs as the pasture grasses disappear. Fortunately, a generous donation of very nice quality straw from a friend-of-the-piggies a few weeks back means I won’t have to worry about straw bedding until close to Christmas.
Erika and Rob and their dogs Tyler and Toby came out yesterday to look at the barn (well, Erika came to meet and fall in love with the piggies!!!). Rob has given me several ideas for fixing the leaky roof and for dealing with the problem of water cascading over the edge in front of the doors. Sometimes it just takes someone familiar with the industry to see something that none of us amateur handypersons see – one fix is going to be very easy (the water over the big barn door) and Rob is sending me the names of some companies where I might get some miscellaneous metal roofing at a good price. Given the “iffy” electricity in the barn, I’m also thinking of putting in a few clear sheets of that wavy plastic stuff in place of metal in a few places to give more natural light. The piggies will enjoy that too, I think.
Yesterday I also went to an Open House at my friend Deb’s. Deb is the artist who did the wonderful portrait of Caleb, and owns Cat and Mouse Designs. I picked up a great cloth bag and beverage mug there.
I also bought a book called A Day by the River, written by Mavis Sutton with illustrations by Deb Strong. It is a fundraiser for Critter Care Wildlife Society, a local non-profit society dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of native mammal species who have been injured or orphaned. It is a great little book about a mama and baby bear, and I love the illustrations. Read more about it here. Readers who are interested in supporting this worthy cause can find their website here.
Belle went to the open house with me. Deb had fostered Belle when she first came into rescue, before I adopted her. One of Deb’s guests yesterday had seen Belle then, and could hardly believe this was the same dog. She had been so crippled with arthritis when first rescued, and now it is hardly noticeable. In fact, Charley thinks Belle should get down and dirty and PLAY with her. Check out this video of the dogs on my hillside, taken last night:
And now it is back to work. The pigs and alpaca are fed and watered, the dogs have had their run, and all that remains to be done is to figure out what the heck I am going to do with my students today!