Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Time to raise bacon

Well, it's that time again. Time to raise the hogs for show season.

I never in my life dreamed that I would be the kind of person who participated in stock shows. To tell you the truth, I didn't really know what stock shows were until about 8 years ago. I had lived in the metroplex my entire life hearing about the Fort Worth Livestock Show & Rodeo. That didn't mean I knew what that meant.

I learned when I got married that Kevin had raised show animals, never fully understanding what that meant then either. Then my best friend's daughter began showing pigs when Abby was about 4 yrs old. We would go to their house and look at the cute little piglets. Then we would head up to the coliseum while they got ready for the shows. Abby would play in big piles of dirt (I really didn't know at the time how incredibly gross that was, but that is another story) while I watched and chatted. When Abby got a little older, she would help out with the preparations and always told me she couldn't wait to have pigs of her own. I didn't really know what we would do with them since we lived in town at the time.

You must be in the 3rd grade or 8 years old to join FFA and be old enough to show, and by the time she was, we had moved to our current place, complete with pens. She sat out her first year because I was pregnant with Collin, knew how much work would be needed from me (kind of), and none of us was quite ready for that yet. But last year, it was time....

We were only going to have one pig. We were only going to show at county. We were NOT going to any majors.

Yeah, right.

We got two pigs. Dad liked them so much he decided they were good enough to show at more than just the county show. And we ended up going to San Antonio with one of them. I guess they were ok. They were still just pigs to me.

But I really did kind of fall in love with them.

They were so cute when they were tiny. They were skittish, as they will be, when they first got here. As they got bigger, and I mean BIG, they were so friendly. They do like to nose around in the mud, but they don't roll around in mud all day. (Myth #1). They didn't just eat slop. They had to be on a strict eating schedule. (Myth #2). We spent time, effort, and money to get one of them to grow some kind of butt. I told Kevin just to feed them what I ate--that was sure to do the trick.

But it was FUN! Abby enjoyed it just as much as she thought she would, and she was GOOD at it! Those pigs loved her. She knew what their feeding schedule was, how much she fed them, and what kind. She won a trophy at her first show AND a belt buckle. And it was TIRING! But it was worth it.

So here we go again! We have FOUR pigs this year--three barrows (boys that can't father piglets anymore to put it nicely), a Duroc (the brownish red one), a Yorkshire (the pinkish white one), and a Cross (the black one with white front hooves), and we have a Duroc gilt (a baby girl that hasn't had babies yet--it's a sow once they have babies). I even got to help wrestle them yesterday to give a shot! I was proud of myself and my husband was even impressed! That is hard to do!!!

So here are some pictures. Collin is LOVING it! Abby enjoys them just as much as she did last year. And Byron, of course, thinks he is in charge of it all.

She is getting them use to her. The boys chasing them around helps to get them use to activity and actually calms them down, I think.... Collin thinks it is really cool when one comes up to him and nibbles on his clothes and nudges him. He just giggles! (And yes, that is my daughter wearing capris and boots. Never wear your good shoes in the pig pens. (Lesson learned))This is surprisingly close for only having had them for a week.Notice our dogs in the next two pictures. They follow us everywhere, including out to the pens. When we get out there, they sit just outside the fence watching and waiting for us to emerge. The little brown dog dances around all edges of the pens barking to get in. She even tries to tunnel under the fence, but doesn't mess with them when we aren't outside. And of course, we have to make them scatter under the shed.The supervisorWe must always get pictures with the cotton strippers. Anyone who has never seen these things run MUST come visit! It is amazing to watch!!!! I love this time of year!

1 comment:

Steve Drew said...

If we lived closer I would definately bring my girls out...they would LOVE it...seriously! I got to drive a combine once to harvest Milo and was hooked. I could do it for a living, no question. The pic with your little guy leaning against the pole should be a painting. Very cool. -Steve