Ranch Adventures

These stories are centred around numerous episodes dating from 2005, when a married couple fulfilled a dream and invested in a 9 acre lifestyle property about 40km to the northwest of Auckland, New Zealand. What they lacked in skill and experience, they nearly made up for in enthusiasm, patience, and good humour.

 

LAND PIRANHAS AND LAWN CHOCOLATES

The pig series was scheduled to run over only two issues but I find myself with still more to say.

Normally it’s my better half who takes care of Dotty and Delorus’ day to day needs, but she’s been away for the last few days so it’s been down to yours truly. It is as a result of this that the term “eating like a pig” has taken on a whole new meaning for me. These animals appear to be simply life support systems for their own stomachs. We feed them mainly shop-soiled, over-ripe, or second grade fruit and vege from our favourite shop which is sold for $2 a box. They’ve gone from snapping at the bag of food I’m bringing, to having a gentle nibble at the toe of my gummy as I climb into their enclosure. When I unceremoniously dump the contents of their food bag on the ground the frenzied pandemonium that ensues is quite something to behold. I’m considering having them reclassified as land-piranhas. The way they circle directly under the food bag makes it near impossible to avoid dumping the food right on top of them – not that they care. They simply start feasting off each other’s backs.

I’m told the secret to the perfect murder is to feed the corpse to pigs, thereby reducing any forensic evidence to nil. I now believe this, although perhaps the crime scene investigators could glean something from the pigs’ poop, of which there is no shortage. The Scottish Parliament periodically scoops the poop out of the enclosure. We add it to a big tub of organic waste we’ve been collecting against the day we turn our attention to planting things. This keeps the wife’s dog happy as she’s incredibly jealous about Glenda giving attention to anything other than her, and performs like a blowfly in a bottle whenever Glenda is in the pig enclosure. I’m quite sure the dog would love to remove the threat which has come between her and her beloved mistress, but until she works out how she’s going to gain access to the pig enclosure she’ll just have to continue satisfying herself with chowing a few lumps of pig poop out of the fertilizer bin.

On the topic of pig poop, Dotty and Delorus seem unperturbed by the notion of simultaneously eating and pooping. It’s like watching a miniature factory in motion. They efficiently convert unsaleable fruit and veges into lawn chocolates. The poop emerges from the back end chunk by chunk without the chunks breaking apart, until they’re effectively grazing while dragging this shiny dark brown thing behind them that resembles a cheap necklace a tourist might buy in Africa. When they’re finished they drop off and become lawn chocolates.

I’m told that Kunekunes are too fatty to be good eating. This fact places them firmly in the pet category. This in turn raises the question of whether or not we, as “lifestylers”, have a moral or any other sort of obligation to make our land productive. Even if not in a commercial sense, are we somehow obligated to consume things that are created on our land? I know that this forms the basis of a good number of the issues our society has with the growing lifestyle market – the reducing productivity of some of our best land. Effectively, we have the farmers before us to thank for the opportunity of living where we do so I personally, almost in appreciation, feel a nagging sense of guilt motivating me to draw a respectful line between pets and productivity on our little piece of rural New Zealand. Unfortunately my wife wants a donkey and miniature Highland cows to be among our brood so we have a way to go before we reach agreement.

As far as Dotty and Delorus are concerned, they are living a secure life of luxury in pig heaven, although I overestimated their ability to jump and they are currently unable to access the interior of their house. They can’t quite make it up on to their deck and have been sheltering under the pighouse. Still, their ramp is nearly finished now and the job will be complete. When they’re too big to slip under the gate we’ll let them into the paddock surrounding their enclosure. I suggested to the Scottish Parliament that this will leave her with the ideal environment to breed Kunekunes from. Her eyes lit up. Thank goodness this paddock is downwind from the house………

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