Pigs Out!

Kavi & Lili Dogs Playing in the Snow

I wouldn’t want to farm without dogs. I wouldn’t want to homestead without them. Not only are they our extended senses, our eyes, ears and noses, but they do a lot of work around the place. They certainly earn their share of the harvest.

Twice today the finisher pigs in the north field did a break out. We need to build a better gate – the current one is just some plywood. The second time was about 8 pm. It was dark. The dogs had sounded the Pig Out! alarm. The dogs have a special bark for that – shorter and sharper.

Holly went out with a flashlight to investigate and found about twenty finisher pigs milling about up the driveway towards the whey tanks and tiny cottage. Longson, the extra boar was with them. As Holly put it, “Man is he big in the dark!” His name is indicative of his form. At first she had thought he was one of the big boars from the south herd and she tried to keep him out. Fortunately he’s a gentle boy – but still very big.

Holly went to the north field gate and stood there with a flashlight waving as Cinnamon and Kavi brought the pigs back down the mountain and put them in. Holly job was simply closing the gate after each batch. Without the dogs’ assistance it would have been a real stress – and we might not even have known the pigs were out for a long time. With the dogs to do the herding the pigs were back in their field, jiggitty-jig. Praise the Dogs!

Now we just need gates the dogs can easily operate… I’ve worked up designs. They are eager to learn. This fall I’ve been teaching Cinnamon how to open the front driveway gate when we arrive in the van. He taught Kavi. Now when we get home they ask from their side of they gate if they can open it. I give the sign and they stand up, place their fore paws on the upper rail and push the gate open as they walk forward on their hind legs. The chain latch though is a bit of a trick for him so I have to plan ahead right now, leaving the hook off. After that I’ll have to teach them to close the gates when they’re done.

Tuesday-Wednesday Outdoors: 28°F/-4°F 2″ Snow, Sunny
Farm House: 58°F/46°F Work shed & old house doorways sealed for winter
Tiny Cottage Eye Level: 51°F/39°F Bathtub forms finished, wired, tub floor poured
Floor: 51°F/36°F
Ceiling: 46°F/38°F
Roof Below Foil: 29°F/29°F
Roof Above Foil: 27°F/27°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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11 Responses to Pigs Out!

  1. Dogs really are a wonderful addition to one’s life…especially on a farm! I have my own little Yorkie who is quite the character and have been thinking about getting 1 or 2 larger dogs next year when I’m settled in at the homestead. And, by the way, I recently started a blog of my own regarding my hopefully-soon-to-be new home which was very much inspired by reading about yours…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Put me in the suitably impressed column. My dog knows how to beg for my food at the dinner table effectively.


  3. RH, Beautiful stonework! Congratulations and may you enjoy many warm winter evenings by the fire in your new cottage.

    Pablo, ah, the city dog and the country dog. Ours Kavi has never been to the city and would have no idea what to do there. We each have or dominions. Give a ruff to your dog for us. Cheers, -WalterJ

  4. wyldthang says:

    I love my dogs too(standard poodle and blue heeler), the poodle does the trash talking while the heeler does the SWAT thing from the rear. We a trip to Huntington Beach and took the heeler, such the country dog in the big city, she’s like a coyote on a leash. People kept asking us what kind of dog she was too(kinda weird?). It’s great fun to be part of a pack!

  5. Teri says:

    Way back when we used to have pigs, we had the sow get out and head down the road. One of the neighbors had an old cow dog. He herded her into their fenced pen and they gave us a call to come and get her. Sure wish I could come up with a good goat herding dog ;)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Youve got amazing help dogs there walter. Iv seen herd dogs at exhibits and they are amazing but it always seemed contrived like a show. To hear of them doing it in real work is really amazing!Lance

  7. Anonymous says:

    My beagle knows how to open doors, we now have to warn guest to lock the bathroom door unless they want a visit.

  8. Matron says:

    You must have very happy dogs! It is wonderful to see dogs having a job, a task, something to do that keeps them occupied!

  9. Kodabones says:

    Beautiful dogs, what kind are they?

  10. Koda says:

    Beautiful dogs, what kind are they?

  11. Koda,

    Our dogs are a mix of tiny bit of Black Labrador, a pinch of German Shepherd and a lot of “Other”. The original here showed up and insisted on farming with us back in the early 90’s. We got him two mates and then another later came into the line.


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