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

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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Surprise!! Eleanor has piglets!

You can't make this stuff up.

And while our traveling Misfit Mobile to Maine is crowded enough, I decided to look at adding four more piglets to the mix as a gift, not a burden. I could say that her timing was horrible. But actually, it was perfect. She pigletted [yes, I know it is called 'farrowing', but "pigletting" is our preferred term} in time for us to make adjustments to the trailer, and it so happens a vet was scheduled to come Monday afternoon for other reasons- so she can microchip the piglets and castrate them - they were all boys. I do not have a vet in Maine yet, and finding one quickly might be an issue. If she had pigletted on Wednesday night before we leave, that would have been bad timing.

It all happened like this. Some months ago, three months-three weeks and three days to be exact [this is a gestation time of a pig], I found Earnest in with Eleanor after he had busted down a gate. I didn't get too concerned because she just wasn't acting in heat, but I did make a note of it on my calender that if he had done the deed, she would piglet 5/3. Then I went about my business.

A couple weeks ago when the vet was here to microchip everyone for the journey to Maine, I told her I thought Eleanore was sort of looking pregnant. She agreed, but we also felt if she was due in two weeks she'd look more pregnant. I had her on good grass and supplement so we figured she might have been carrying more weight than normal. And we didn't hear any heart beats.

A couple days ago, I noticed her belly drop. I ignored it, I didn't want to face the chaos piglets in the middle of a road trip could be like. Then yesterday morning, I spent time with her and I could tell her teats had swollen. But I couldn't feel any heart beats or movement, and usually by that time you can if they are pregnant.

Last night I was done doing chores and couldn't see Eleanor anywhere. All the animals were still out grazing, dusk is a favorite grass eating time for them. I went back to her old paddock, where she had had her other piglets. I couldn't see anything as I walked in to the corral, but there was that feeling of something being amiss. Then I saw her, laying down, with one little piglet newly birthed.

While weeks ago I had hoped she wasn't pregnant, I have to say, it is a beautiful send off. The birth is a letting go, isn't it? She let go and had piglets, we let go and move to Maine. We take with us elders, and babies.

I think I already have a taker for two of them for pasture pets in Maine. It's all working out.

That Earnest!!