Idaho Pasture Pigs!
Yes, we got pigs! (Actually, I have been told that "real" hog people NEVER call them "pigs," and never EVER call the babies "piglets," and that to do so is the mark of an amateur -- but I really don't care.) I have never in my life been much of a fan of pigs, so it took me awhile to find the breed that I wanted. It's a good thing that we started the farm in 2013, because said breed had only been released to the general public in 2012. It was created beginning in 2007.
I knew that I wanted Idaho Pasture Pigs after reading that 'blog post, but they are so rare, I figured I would have no luck finding them in New England. Lo and behold, a few weeks ago I stumbled across an ad on Craigslist for IPPs from Grazing Hill Farm in Conway, NH. Heather was awesome to work with and we brought our new gilts home yesterday. So far we love our new additions, and they seem pretty happy to be here themselves!
This is Paris -- the very first thing she did upon being placed in her new pen was to start playing in the dirt.
This is Pancakes (see this sketch from 1990's MTV show The State -- no, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense).
So very, very cute -- and super duper friendly! Yep, we like these gals.
Yesterday marked a major first: First large animal born on the farm! She is a heifer calf and her name is Xena, Warrior Princess. Xena, Warrior Princess is a Hereford, not a Highland, so, as a polled cow amongst horned cattle, she'll have to grow up tough. Seeing the incredible heavy bone on that hour-ish old baby, I'm not too worried.
Here is Xena:
Here is her mama, Sunshine. Sunshine has been an awesome mama so far!
In other news, there are NEW adorable baby bunnies! These are supposed to be lops, like this bunny here:
Daddy is a French Lop and mama is a Mini Lop, both pedigreed. One baby doesn't seem to have gotten the memo about being a lop, however. He gets it in one ear, but not the other. One ear is lopped and the other ear is "Bongo," and that configuration seems to be semi-permanent. Halflop:
... Was yesterday, and we are NOT DEAD, and neither are any alpacas! In fact, they seemed remarkably calm as soon as the shearers left and they were allowed to return to their regularly scheduled hay. They were racing around at full speed about an hour ago, leaping and doing this amazing high-altitude skipping gait that is apparently known as "pronking." So, they must think it feels pretty good to be naked.
I expected it to be a little bit jarring to see all of these previously fluffy critters shorn down to the skin, and indeed, it was, but I'm coming to appreciate the cuteness of the shorn alpaca. What's amazing is how totally transformed some of them are. Radar, for example, ended the winter a paragon of extreme fluffiness:
... And now looks like this:
... Still totally gorgeous, but nowhere near as fluffy.
Some are even more extreme. Dobie went from poofy:
... To ......... Not at all poofy.
The most extreme, though, was Sheepie. I haven't even put Sheepie on my site yet, because I wasn't really sure if she was going to stay in my foundation herd. Having seen that first fleece, now, I think she's got a place here: it is incredibly fine. What is nuts, though, is that she was a totally different color underneath the fleece. The fleece looked fawn; Sheepie is, underneath, white, with a fawn topline. Between this color change, and the amount of fleece she lost (she isn't named "Sheepie" just to be obnoxious!), she is pretty much totally unrecognizable.
I didn't have any recent "before" pictures of Sheepie (the one provided is from December, when I first brought her home, and she grew a couple inches of staple since then); also, in between shearing and today, when the "after" picture was taken, she managed to roll in enough dirt as to change back from white to light brown. So, the transformation photos probably don't look as dramatic as it did in person, but trust me -- I literally did not recognize the animal.
... She went from "sheep" to "Muppet."
K writes this stuff, for some reason that has yet to become apparent.