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Pip Meets Pig

Posted 5/11/2011 9:32am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

It is so good to finally hear tractors in the fields.   I spent much of yesterday at Village Acres sanding and putting polyurethane on the floors of the Food Shed.   Through the open windows I could hear the tractor coming up to the greenhouse to load up with transplants.   At lunchtime, several interns were rubbing their forearms, sore from the repetitive motion of sticking onions into the ground.  This week of warm, breezy sunshine is a godsend for farmers.   Here at home, Charlie just passed in his tractor pulling a noisy disk; announcing "spring" to the country just as teens walking down the street with a huge "ghetto blaster" on their shoulders announced "spring" to the streets of NYC in the late eighties.   Every place I've lived has its seasonal sounds; although these days they astonish me with how quickly they return every year.  

This spring Roy had Pip sent away to be trained for sheep and cattle herding.  Since we first got Mac, some things in our lives have changed, namely Roy's job and we've gotten busier with farming.   Although Mac has done well for us, Roy felt he did not have the time needed to train Pip the same way, and John Fisher, at Otterbein Acres, had both time and more experience to work with Pip.   We've missed her and look forward to her return.  Last week Roy picked her up from work and brought her home for a day so that she could make her vet appointment.   It was like she had never left.  She and Mac got reacquainted and immediately dashed off to a game of chase and tackle.   

What I was quite curious about was how Pip would react to the newest member of our family, Ebony, the piglet.   Ebony, or Pig-pig, as I usually call her, has a temperament that is similar to Pip's.  Pip is a self-confident little pup, to the point of being difficult at times.   She takes commands but usually she stares at you for a while with an "are you serious?" look in her eye.   Surely she knows better than you what she should be doing with herself.   I expected that when she met Ebony, it could be a potentially dangerous combination; I just wasn't sure for whom it would be dangerous.  Of course when Pip first spotted Ebony, she was quite curious and went in for a closer look.   Ebony, as she does with every animal that is larger than her, turned around with her mouth open and ran grunting and rooting into Pip's leg.   I suspect her instinct tells her this might be her long-lost pig mother, but it is unclear, because the action seems pretty aggressive.  Then again, given that her pig-mom treated her like a doormat, it probably should be aggressive.  Where Mac usually backs off at this point and gives Ebony some space, treating her like a small animal that needs to be protected and herded, Pip moves in to investigate.  "This is an odd creature.  I wonder if she'll submit?" she seems to think as she takes her paw and tries to squash Ebony to the ground.  Of course Ebony will have none of that!  Been there, done that.  Her mouth opens wide and she runs right at Pip, making the guttural sound of an old Dodge trying to turnover.  At this point we intervene.  Pig is picked up, still irate and hollering about it, and Pip, ever buoyant, dashes off to join Mac in a game of chase.   What will really be interesting to watch is how this all plays out when Pip comes home for good and Ebony twice as large and just as easily riled.  Should be very entertaining.