R * I * P

I had high hopes for today – lots of plans and an expectation that we would get some boxes checked off on the to-do list.  The early morning was pleasant as I walked Venus and Calfie to the back forty to do a mow job in some 5 foot swamp grass.

I got the cows all set up and was making my way back to the barn when my phone rang.

“Aw, man,” I thought to myself, “… must be the emergency service”. (Hey, a modern Farmer has to have a day job, you know!) I slid my phone out of the back pocket and was glad to see the name ‘Wifey.’

I answered and she said right away, “Did you hear, did you hear?…a pig is dead!”

Gasp.

Ugh!

No!!!

I couldn’t believe it!  No way, what happened?

I quickly made my way to the pig pen and could see the same pig was still lying in the same position he had been in when I had passed him with the cows.  Only this time Poet, Comedian and Dimples were nearby.

He was dead.

How?

I gave a quick visual inspection and could see no wounds indicating a predator.

His body was still flexible and he didn’t smell any worse than normal.  The death must have been within the last few hours.

His mouth was not shut all the way and when I pried it open, I saw a long strand of fatty meat jammed in there.  I pulled it out, and out, and out, and it kept coming….for about 8”.

It had choked him.

“Oh no” I thought “the rattlesnake?”  When Helper killed the rattlesnake last weekend I figured it was a good opportunity for free protein, so I cut it up and gave it to the pigs.  They hadn’t seemed very interested in it.  Did he choke on the rattlesnake?

No, it wasn’t the rattlesnake I realized.  It was a long fatty, piece of chicken.

The night before we had thrown some raw chicken out to the pigs.  We weren’t going to eat it and knew they would like it.  It never crossed our minds that chicken could kill a pig.

Sure enough, he had choked on it.  Poor fella must have just kept jamming it in until….he couldn’t breathe.  Choked to death by poultry.  What a way to go.  What a shame.

What do you do with a dead pig of about 60 lbs? 

I didn’t know whether to try and butcher him, feed him to the chickens or just chuck him in the trash can.

I walked around in a stupor for several minutes, finishing up other chores and seriously bummed.  Homemaker did some internet searches on butchering pigs.

We decided we weren’t ready to properly butcher him for human consumption (plus my wife wasn’t too comfortable with us eating him) and besides, we didn’t know how long he had been dead.

But a dissection seemed a good use of this sad situation, so…

Thanks to our new sharp knives, this dissection was like butter.

I hung him up on the old laundry post and began cutting.

Cool intestines.

Not the day we expected or wanted.

To add insult to injury, Braver was dead too.

Death. A homestead reality.

Comedian’s rabbit that Rosy caught….he named him Braver. Well, he had died overnight too.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

~Habakkuk 3:17-18

Yes, death is a homestead reality but we will take joy in the God of our salvation.

This entry was posted in Challenges, Cows, Farming, Homesteading, Pigs. Bookmark the permalink.

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