Pigs love pears so much, that just observing them enjoy pears makes everyone watching want to eat a pear too. They snort and snuffle with satisfaction as they crunch with their teeth and smack with their lips. I am sure I've never enjoyed any food as much as these pigs enjoyed spotty pears!
Yesterday, as Brandon was installing insulation in the kitchen wall of the tiny farm house and I was doing the same upstairs, I took a break to fill a couple of buckets with pears from the giant pear tree in the front yard. The pears are still hard, but I can tell they are ready to for harvest because all I have to do is change their angle on the branch and they pop off into my hand. This means that a stiff breeze causes a cascade of pears, so sitting under the pear tree is dangerous. And even though we've never been stung, walking through the fallen pears seems dangerous as there are wasps, bees, and yellow jackets feasting on the rotting fruit.
Every time I see all the pears on the ground, I think that it is a shame I don't have a pig to feed. Then, as I was filling my buckets with pears from the tree, I remembered that Farmer Joe has pigs, but isn't it a shame that he can't bring his pigs over to eat all these pears? Wait a minute, I can take the pears to the pigs! Doh! Sometimes I amaze myself at the rapidity of my thought process.
As the setting sun was reflecting off the clouds in the eastern sky, Brandon and I filled three giant buckets with spotty pears. The sun set was fantastic on our short drive to visit the pigs, and when we arrived at Joe's farm, Ashley was out taking a stroll with the baby and her good camera so she could photograph the brilliant colors in the clouds.
Since Joe was still using the last of daylight to do work in the pastures, he directed us to find the pigs down by the old silo. Brandon and I carried our buckets and stopped near the fence where we could see dark lumpy shapes sleeping under a shed roof. We called all the appropriate piggy calls, "Suewee! Heeeere piiigg, pig, pig! Oink oink! Sueweeee! Piggy, pig, piggy!" and the dark lumps didn't even move. Apparently, Joe hasn't taught his pigs to speak proper pig language, or they don't respond to strangers, which is rude.
Finally, tired of being ignored, Brandon chucked a pear into the shed where it bounced around on the pavement and caused a chorus of grunts and piggy snorts as the dark shapes roused and began to take on the shape of pigs, curly tails and all. The pigs quickly forgave the rude awakening when they realized we were pitching tasty pears and we weren't just jerks they could ignore, and they came out of the shed so I could coax them to the fence.
There are four pigs, and they have big pastures to graze, partitioned by electric fence so Joe can rotate their grazing. The area near the shed and the old silo, where they were sleeping and where they have access to water, doesn't have a lot of grass, but it wasn't filled with giant holes and wallows like some people are afraid will happen if pigs aren't kept on pavement. And, it didn't stink! I was most curious about the smell, as I like to have accurate olfactory information for my own pig ownership day dreams. Not that there wasn't a nice dirt and organic farmy aroma, but it was nothing like the super stink that comes from the confinement pig buildings I have had the pleasure to visit when working on other farms.
Soon, it was too dark to see the pig's pear eating joy, but before we left we discussed which of the pigs looks the tastiest, since Brandon and I have committed to buying one of the pigs once they are butchered. Brandon thought one of the black pigs had the hammiest looking rump, but I was partial to the pig with the smaller spots. I'm not sure how spots affect the taste of bacon, but I feel like they may be the key ingredient to the perfect BLT!