Comings and Goings

Somehow it often seems that departures are matched with some arrivals on our farm.  Perhaps it is because in all seasons a diversified farm has many moving parts or perhaps it is just a natural balance of the cycle of life.

Five tamworth piglets arrived with the Whalens from Vermont Heritage Farm on Sunday afternoon (the same farm Ramona, Amelia & Jemima, our future sows, came from)

Basil & Lily here to meet Babar

on the heels of Dennis & Bonnie dropping off Basil & Lilly, two of their goats coming for a date with Boss Babar the new Boar Buck. (how’s that for alliteration!) They are all up in the front fields getting used to their new home.


Immediately following those arrivals, we said our first goodbyes to some of the goat kids that were born on farm this spring and to some of the pigs that arrived from other farms to graze, root and grow on our farm.  Until we loaded them in the trailer Sunday evening, they were munching pasture grasses and digging for roots and hopefully Japanese beetle grubs.

One of the beautiful things about moving our animals regularly is the trust they have that new places are good places.  The pigs all wanted to pile into the trailer, it was the new space, it must have grain and other goodness, right?  Slowly we sorted them out and encouraged most of them back into the pasture to enjoy dinner, apples and some new grass, leaving just Snow White and a few dwarves to settle down into the cozy trailer for the night.

Bambi, Thumper, Charlie & Eloise were equally thrilled to follow us into the trailer. They got to jump up and get grain, seemed a good deal for some goats. And when Wilbur joined them, he seemed content to check out the girls after months at boys camp.

Bambi & Thumper hitching a Ride with Josh, their idea!

I am often humbled by the trust our livestock place in us and feel a twinge of guilt as if I am taking advantage of the trust we built when I lead them in their final two moves – into the trailer and then out of the trailer and into the slaughterhouse.  But I also celebrate the benefits of that trust – our animals always enter the slaughterhouse seemingly calm, content and curious about what is ahead.  I credit that at least partially to the quality of life we have given them.  At each step, with each move, they have gotten something new at our farm, always with love, respect, freshness and new entertainment.

If I am to provide meat for myself and others to eat, I can’t ask for much more.  Thank you pigs, thank you goats, for all that you provide.

At the beginning of next week, we will take another small load of pigs and goats to the slaughterhouse.  As we offer them our gratitude, may they also face the travels calmly.

Snow White trying to make the water bowl her private pool