Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The semi private suite of The World's Grumpiest Pig

It is time that I bring you up to speed on The World's Grumpiest Pig.

One of my jobs as steward of these animals is to accept that on any given day, things can change, without my advice or control. I have seen this happen many times in my eleven years here-one day an animal that liked sleeping in one spot for 5 years just decides to move.

I've changed bedrooms many times in my life, why wouldn't they?

So it happened with Rosie, our resident curmudgeon.

One late afternoon on a cold rainy day, I went to do barn chores and there was Rosie in the rain, alone, shivering. This of course was Atypical with a capital "A". She was up by Old Barn too which was not the norm. All the other animals were in the goat barn dry and warm. In order to get her inside ASAP I opted to lead her into the old barn as there was an area full of warm straw where lambs once lived. Getting her to move in my direction was not easy. Rosie does not do anything easily. She has been a grumpy challenge from day one, and I have to admit to you now-she's getting grumpier.

So I got her into the barn, carried more straw in and once I saw her bedding down, I covered her with straw. She continued to tremble on and off, and I feared poison, although, there is nothing that I could imagine anywhere in the barnyard. Her one eye was not well-she has a chronic eye issue, as many pigs can, so I felt she had discomfort leading to trembling. By morning she was better.

Now, the other part of this story of bedroom shakeup is that the working flock broke into three groups over the past year. This happened sometime when Benedetto arrived. There was a bit of chasing going on and Old Papa Roo-who is ancient by now–took some hens and started sleeping near the donkeys which is by Rosie's new chosen suite. I have since reunited two of the hen groups back in the coop, but Papa and his 4 hens remain in Old Barn. I do fear an owl will get them one night, so I plan to capture them and relocate them back to the hen house. But this Great Chicken Relocation Scheme deserves an entire post sometime soon. Stay tuned.

So, back to the World's Grumpiest Pig–I think that deserves capital letters too. After about a week, her eye seemed better. During that entire week, she was so very grumpy. Grumpier than even her grumpiest days, which I assumed was because she was uncomfortable. Rosie is practically impossible to treat-my vets do their best when they come here, but it is a real challenge even to get wormer in her or do her toes and shots. She is one lucky pig to have landed here, because I don't think a lot of people could handle living with the World's Grumpiest Pig. I take it in stride.

"My, we are very grumpy today,aren't we!" I say to her in these extra grumpy spurts.

So after about a week, her worst grumpiness had subsided, and I was able to clean her eye better. She was eating better and returned to her normal grumpy level. What a relief to have a break in the extra grumpy behavior! So, at some point, I encouraged her to come back out to the barnyard and enjoy her spot by the cement wall for sun.

"Hrumpfh. Nope, not interested, please leave me now," she said.


I continued to leave some food out for her to entice her to the gate in the days ahead. Rosie's eyesight is obviously not very good, and I wonder about her hearing too. But she just isn't interested in leaving her suite. She is not bothered by Eleanor or Earnest, or the White Dogs, or flying monkeys,um, Moose and Goose. She has a clutch of hens that dine with her, and the donkeys eat breakfast and dinner with her, in their own dining room of course. She has sunshine that comes in and she doesn't even have to leave her grumpy little suite to nap in it.

So do not fear for Rosie or feel badly for her. When she arrived at Sanctuary One, as some of you might remember, she slept with Stevie the crippled goat, because all the other animals avoided her grumpiness. When Stevie and Rosie came to live at Apifera, that sleeping arrangement continued for a couple of years. But in time, Rosie began sleeping in different places, sometimes away from Stevie. I like to think that Stevie gave her the confidence to know that she was safe now, and even though she didn't have a real human bed of blankets and pillows like her home with the elderly woman, she had warmth and dryness and fresh air. In time, Stevie moved down to the lower Misfit Village, as he was having a hard time with the new pup back then, and was tripping a lot. He loves it down there and whenever a new goat arrives that is a bit depressed, weak or fragile, I have noticed they always go to Stevie for safety. In time, they get their confidence up. That is Stevie's gift here, one of many.

So, The World's Grumpiest Pig now has her own suite. She will be turning seven this spring. That's seven years of fine tuning her grumpy state. I love every grumpy inch of her.