Monday Miscellany: Wise Old Women

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I hadn’t realized how old Bridget was looking until I snapped this picture of her chattering at me. She’s always quick to meet me at the gate and usually has something to say. She’s one of our sows who consistently weans 100% of her pigs, which means she doesn’t lose any between birth and weaning. A 100% wean rate is impressive whenever it happens, but especially so when a sow manages it as a lifetime track record. She lost a pig for the first time in the last litter she had this summer, and then lost another a day later. I was with her when she sat on the first one and found myself getting extremely frustrated with her when she lost the second. It was exceedingly hot that week and her hip was bothering her. I think she just plain didn’t want to get back up, but when you’re trying to lift a four hundred plus pound sow off a quickly dying pig in one-hundred degree heat it’s easy to lose perspective. I had to remind myself what an impressive run she’s had up to that point, and how old she’s getting.

Normally we have old sows processed into ground pork, which we then use like hamburger in just about everything. Our usual philosophy is that it’s better to have pork in the freezer than a pig in a hole in the ground, but Bridget has been everyone’s favorite for a long time and no one is looking forward to sending her off. I looked over at chore time this weekend to see one of the Small Humans with her arms flung around Bridget’s neck and her head laid across those broad, greying shoulders. “You’ll never get another one like our Bridge, Mom. Never,” she said. She’s right, of course, so I’ve been trying to find a logical justification for letting Bridget just retire here instead.

Maybe I’m getting old, too. The Man is normally the sappy one around here.

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