Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Getting Closer as We Grow the Farm

Some of our favorite farmers and mentors advise you can’t afford to take a struggling piglet away from a sow for intensive care. We know it is futile to try to care for a piglet if it was not able to get some of the sow’s first milk, the colostrum, with its special antibodies. Our first tries at piglet emergency care did not work for this reason, as our “Risk the Runt” story documents.

As was the case with “Tiny Tim,” a little come-back pig worthy of a book, Sphinx is a pig who’s pork alone won’t pay off the time we take to give her care. Yet while Sphinx is a bit of a distraction, she sure is adding value. We are all amazed watching her wound heal – unbelievable that in 2 weeks the cavernous hoof-shaped wound on her back has almost entirely disappeared. And bottle feeding has afforded many of us a closer look at all of her pig cuteness. Simultaneously we are growing with her, knowing our food intimately and confronting what it means to, like the pig, be an omnivore.

She is also growing the farm. Our little Sphinx is even holding court on FaceBook! Over the weekend Melissa Pasanen, cookbook author and Food Editor for Vermont Life, visited our farm, piggy-backing on chaperoning a gold-medal science fair effort. Sphinx won a place in her heart… and on her facebook page. Sphinx is a good story inside a good story. She is accelerating and deepening relationships between this farm and people and broadening the community to whom we are relevant. Sure we grow delicious food but really we are farming relationships.

As we write we have pulled a limp and struggling member of Fife’s litter into the bathroom. We say out loud again “didn’t we have a Tiny Tim policy” (translated = no more pigs in the bathtub.)? If we are all lucky he could become a gentle boar (Fife, his mom, has struggled so much sadly she won’t be a long-term sow). If not, we’ll mourn his loss as he joins the other saints in the warm compost. Either way, he too will grow our farm.


  1. Your farming, your relationship building between the species, your hospitality, your poetry in describing all of that--thank you for everything you do! It's an honor to be your friend.
    --this is Susan, by the way, on Lou's blogging account.

  2. Hey Mari and Laura,

    I don't know where the urge came from to check in on Green Mountain Girls farm, other than a Hail Mary pass to further procrastination as I try to buckle down and write my second to last paper for the academic year. But lo and behold, unlike my other forays down the dusty tunnels of 'putting off the inevitable,' this trip bears the fruit of a gentle reminder to proceed even in the face of no possible financial return. I admire your commitment to the farm and its animals and I continuously cite the two of you as my examples of farmers leading the good life of rustic simplicity amidst endlessly complicated challenges. Hang in there, at least as long as it takes me to write these two last papers, which I warn you, may be a while. Be well, MJ

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