Welcome to Farm life
I am writing this from a small accent chair, in my new living room, beside my collection of plants, my dog (one of) and my latte. Yes, Latte- I am an elevated human with a frothier machine. It’s a tad gloomy out and it feels cozy in here. Doesn’t this sound so.. nice? About a week ago, it didn’t seem like this day would come. I have endless pages in this word document if I so wish, and I still cannot fully articulate the stress this move caused. We knew it would be hard, moving always is. But a barn, 11 pigs and two dogs, was a new level that I will never achieve again. Thankfully.
When it came to the pigs, I took on all of their emotions, plus I likely projected a lot of mine on to them. I watched the fear on their faces as they were herded up a ramp into a truck. Some have still taken the transition harder than others. Opal and Phoenix are having a very tough time- I can tell they don’t feel safe. Opal will just freeze in stress as all the others are buzzing around her fighting for food. Quincy is doing a little better now, but at first he seemed to move quite slower than usual… It was as if the stress and insecurity aged him 10 years. Rosie, my sweet Rosie, was hiding in the corner of the barn. It dawned me, although she is still with her family, and me this is her 4th home! My heart wrenched watching them try to figure out what had happened. They went into a box at their home and came out in an unfamiliar place.
Getting them back into the barn proved to be an unanticipated issue. At the old house, they would simply follow me into their pen and then they would go in and out of their barn as they pleased. At the farm, their pen hasn’t been completely fenced in yet, so when they are let out, they can go anywhere they want. The pigs at the lower end of the hierarchy do not feel safe in the barn when food is being tossed in to entice them; the bigger pigs bully them around. This very quickly becomes a two-person job to get the smaller pigs back in. One afternoon it took me two and half hours to get Phoenix in. This felt so scary. It felt like I lost touch with my pigs and I didn’t recognize this herd of animals that wouldn’t listen when I call, or run when I reach for them. I called Shane crying multiple times, frustrated, out of ideas and angry that we made this move.
In the first 24 hours of our move, I was spending a Saturday as a vendor at a friend’s Barn Market. I was so happy to get away from the stress and spend a few hours with my friends. I had a lovely human coming to drop 85 pumpkins off (yes, 85!) I had never met her before; she simply reached out through social media and wanted to donate pumpkins. Shane was at the old house getting the barn loaded for transport, so no one was here. Upon her arrival, my pigs were out of the barn and running down the drive way towards County Rd 44! When she finally got a hold of me, I whipped back home after a frantic call to Kat from Promised Land Animal Sanctuary to meet me there. This unassuming, wonderful, kind woman (Caroline, and her two friends) had safely gotten 8 pigs back in the barn (which is wildly impressive) Equal parts horribly sorry to have caused her that stress and indescribably and eternally grateful that by total fluke, she happened to be there right on time. How’s that for a visit to The Pearly Acre? When everyone was safe, I looked to Kat, who has been a friend and mentor to me through all my rescuing and she said simply ‘Did you think this wasn’t going to happen? Of course it was!’ Containing animals, especially pigs, is a constant battle. This wasn’t my first lesson in pigs’ natural ability to escape anything, but it certainly came a little sooner than expected at the farm.
Things have settled quite a bit. It is starting to feel more like home. We loved our old house so much, and it was very hard to let go. All that being said, we KNOW this is what we had to do and we are so excited for all of the things on the horizon for this property. I guess sometimes achieving very large goals isn’t so cut and dry. It wasn’t easy to just cut loose our old life. It really felt like a break up where you don’t want to move on but you have to in order to live your best life. You know those? And it certainly isn’t sunshine and rainbows now that we are here. Every morning I come outside, take a deep breath and take a second to congratulate myself on what we have achieved.