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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

The prodigal son returns in the form of a pig

Uno was born in Oregon at Apifera two weeks before we moved to Maine-one of those Earnest broke the gate events. Once here, he and his brother Wee Willi went to live with a good friend up north on the coast. For three years he had a wonderful life, in his little wood hut with his brother, being loved and adored by his human. But then Willi died this year, suddenly.

My friend felt he was depressed, and she is going through some transitions herself so felt that the best thing was to rehome Uno to the right place, a place with a pig friend and human interaction-her job schedule had also changed so Uno was alone a lot. When she first told me she thought he was depressed, I wasn't sure if that was a human putting human emotions on an animal, but when I drove up to see Uno last week, I had to agree that he seemed down. I really wasn't planning to take on another pig, and we had driven up that day just for a visit. I had not seen Uno for three years, since he was a piglet.

Well, my friend kept telling me he was big. Holy smokes! That is an understatement. He is much bigger than Eleanor and I always considered her to be big for her breed. On top of it, Uno is very overweight-my friend gave him the best of the best including fruits and breads, but fruits have a lot of sugar and he was simply overeating. Since she had never had pigs, she just didn't know, I mean, how would you know. So we will work over time to get some weight off him, I think it is clearly slowing him down and I fear a heart attack. We will work on that.

We drove the two hour trip and it was ninety degrees and humid. When we got him home, I immediately put him in the mud bath paddock and hosed him for 15 minutes. I also notice his skin reddens very easily. This makes me wonder if he has circulation issues, just like a very overweight person would. He is not very agile either. So I was so happy to get him under the hose, he was really hot.

I let Eleanor and Little Lonely come out to greet him. May as well see how it goes. Marcella stayed out of it. I'd like to tell you all, that just like one of my paintings, Uno got up on his hind legs and walked to Eleanor and held her and said, "Oh mother, I have missed you,"...but instead Eleanor, the alpha, bit him and they fought a bit. He clearly is stronger than she is, but she is the boss. I separated them even though it calmed down quickly, only because it was so hot I didn't want him running around. He spent the night with the goats and all was well. This morning, I brought Eleanor and Little, and Marcella out with him. Same thing. But within minutes, Eleanor had backed off.

For now they will stay separate so I know he is getting his naps in without being harassed by his bossy mama.

Do they know each other? I have to imagine they do, by scent. But I can't say for certain. I think every human wants to believe a son returning to his first home, and his mother [and father] would know...but three years for a pig is a long time. By the end of the first day, I watched him as he walked around, sniffing the air, in the same paddock he lived in with his mates. I felt he did sense he had been here.

So Uno who began in Oregon, and drove across America with us, and then moved to the upper mid coast is now back home. I have to tell you, as far as a pig's life goes, he has had a good one. I am grateful my friend cared and loved him, and grateful we can take him on and help both her out, and Uno.

He is full of expressions!

On his arrival on a hot day

Nosing his mother Eleanor through the fence

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~