Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm A Ramblin' Guy, Ramblin, Ramblin, Rambulinnnnn

I'm in the mood to ramble, so prepare for a themeless post ...

Chewie the FFA fair pig is progressing wonderfully. The fair is in late March, so she still has time to grow, but remember, she must fall between 230 and 280 pounds at fair weigh in. I think she has grand champion potential, more so than any show pig we have ever raised.

She has the long, muscular body and round butt that swine judges love.
(Don't go there...)

Combine all the physical attributes with a sparkling porcine personality and you have a contender.
She really is a funny pig and about as tame as one could be.
I can already tell that saying goodbye to THIS pig at the end of the fair will be tougher than past pigs. She is a charmer.

Charmer or not, she is a livestock animal and not a pet. She also has to be the correct weight at fair time, so every once in a while, we weigh her.
Did I say "we"?
Mr. Basketball star had a game on the rainy afternoon when it was finally my chance to borrow the FFA livestock scale.
So it fell to me to get Chewie weighed.
The scale consists of a small chute with gates at both ends. You lure the animal into the chute, slam the gates and read the scale dial.
Nothing to it, except that pigs naturally avoid any confining area ... like this chute.

I can't force her in. Not only would she resist pretty efficiently, but it would scare her ... possibly scare her to death.
Pigs are easily stressed and it's not uncommon for a stressed pig to drop dead within a few minutes, so I always allow the pig to take her time rather than forcing her into it. This involves some bait ... a mushy pear in this case, and lots of back scratching and encouraging words.

On this particular afternoon, she was being extra cautious, so it took about an hour in a misty rain before Chewie put her whole body in the confines of the scale.
Slam! I shut the scale gate and flipped the switch to activate the scale dial.

175 pounds ... same as me!
Well, that should be easy to remember, but I AM 50 now so I still wrote it down.

That is a good weight for this time in her progression.

We'll weigh her again in a month.

Flounder's imitation of a leopard seal.

He's just showing me he's still got what it takes when it comes to a sock toy tug o war.
I love him, but it creeps me out when he does this leopard seal imitation. To me, there's nothing scarier than one of these reptilianlike mammal predators. Snorkeling in Antarctica is definitely not on my life list.

Flounder is not a real leopard seal of course, so even though it looks like it in the picture, I did not lose a thumb during our little wrestling match. Sorta been there, done that anyway ...

Hershel's is a tiny country store at the blinking light intersection in Otter Creek, Florida. From time to time, Hershel's goes dormant, but lately it is an active store again. It's a little speck of a store with beer, basic food essentials, bait ... and swamp cabbage.

It makes me wonder a bit if the treerustling incident might be related to the menu at Hershel's. That is pure conjecture of course, since it is legal to harvest your own palms and there certainly are a lot of them in our neck of the woods.

General rambling updates on stuff:
  • The baby turtles are doing fine. They don't eat much this time of year and are just maintaining until spring. This is the year they will be released ... no, really ... I mean it.

  • The atlatl is right where it was the last time I posted about it. If it changes, I'll let you know.

  • My high school sweetheart called to wish me happy 50th birthday this week. I told my high school students about it as an example of: if you are nice to each other, you might get a surprise birthday call 34 years later that makes you smile.

  • The coonties are producing bright orange fruits again and I am collecting them as they do. Currently about 200 baby coonties are growing in my nursery beds.

  • I've been picking up hickory nuts (have none here) where I find them during my adventures and planting them around my property ... sort of a Johnny Hickorynut thing.

  • The rains have begun again after a very dry winter/fall. Last weekend PFHQ received 3.5 inches and today promises more.

  • I received the coolest box of goodies in the mail this week from some blogger pals in the frozen north. I'll share it with you later this week.

So there you have it. I told you I was in a ramblin' mood.

Now I need to ramble outside before the predicted rainstorms arrive. It's 48 and grey outside my window as I type this.

Have a great Saturday!


threecollie said...

Glad the stuff made it to you...can't believe how slow the mail is.
Enjoyed the ramble btw...I had not read the finger cutting off post and it had me gasping. Oh dear!

The Troll said...

That's a great looking pig! Thought I'd give you another idea for the "EVENTS" section of your blog. Plant City Strawberry Festival. Big fun! Pig Acrobats! Yummy food! Good Music!

Did I mention pig acrobats?

Think it starts February 29th.

tai haku said...

Eww that leopard seal look creeps me out too - the real deal in Taronga zoo was a lot bigger than I expected and much creepier still.

Anychance of some more baby coontie pics please?

BTW - did you hear about this?

robin andrea said...

Chewie does look like she has quite a bit of charm. I didn't know that pigs could actually die of fright. I've heard that about sheep too. Interesting.

We've just had a ton of rain and wind. The mountains just 10 miles north of us (always referred to as the Santa Cruz mountains) got 6.5 inches in 24 hours. They always get good and soaked when the coast gets about half of that amount. It was a dark and stormy night.

Laura said...

Ohhh, she's so cute!!!! When the time comes, I'm going to just pretend that she's going off to live on another farm. That's the city-girl side of me, I'd never make a good livestock farmer!

Smoked mullet...mmmmmm. I haven't had that in a long time. And I've got a good recipe for it, too.
Maybe the owners of the Hershels' store need to be investigated. Perhaps an anonymous tip to the authorities is in order?

And last, but most important, a Very Happy Belated 50th Bday to you! I'm sorrry I missed it!!!
Here's a toast to all your yesterdays and a bigger one to your tomorrows!

Sharon said...

That's one FINE lookin' pig! :)

dani813 said...

Picked up some coonties the other day. Do I plant that entire orange piece?? Glad that we're all getting rain now. My rain barrels are almost full again. My garden is grateful.

Floridacracker said...

I was just watching a show on H.D.'s a week ago and thought of y'all since you had written about them before.
Yes, the cut finger was a little painful.
If pain is weakness leaving the body as coaches like to say, I'm good.

Smashing good idea! I'll add it as soon as possible.

Envious that you've seen the real thing.
Coontie post will be coming up soon.
I have not heard of that link, will check it out ASAP.
Thank you!

Nice Snoopy reference!
That kind of rain in those hills must be pretty hazardous.
Glad you are okay! Your fossil pic was amazing.

I pretend she's going to summer camp.
Smoked mullet is a treat ... that would be a good post in itself.
Thank you for the kind birthday wish!

She's smiling in that one pic.

No, the orange fruit is a growth retardant. Wear some gloves and remove it when you are ready to plant. The IFAS site says it might be mildly toxic. Keep them away from your little one ... I know you would, but I would not feel right if I didn't mention that.
After the orange is removed, and the seeds have dried a bit, I nicked each one with a dremel tool.
The result was sprouts in 3 months vs. almost a year with some previous plantings that went in the ground orange fruit and all.
Hope that helps.

Mockinbird said...

That's a cute smile on your pig.
I'll bet that's part of your sour mash still in the background of your photo.

Cathy S. said...

I am now starting a save Chewie fund. How much do those fair pigs go for? If we all pitch in Jr can still go to college and we can find Chewie a nice home somewhere!

Floridacracker said...

Um, no... just a potting bench.
Ahem ... that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Cathy S,
Now,now ... if I can let go of her in March so can the blogosphere. I think after Junior finishes high school about two more pigs from now, I will have to get one to spoil and keep as a pet.
You have a kind heart Cathy.

Suze said...

I'm a softy for animals, too. My husband and I were in Dupuis Mgmt Area and Corbett Mgmt Area in Martin County yesterday, and it was peaceful except for the hunters gunfire every few minutes. No wonder we didn't see much of anything - I'd hide too! I just don't understand hunting, but I know it's my issue and lots of good people like to hunt. It's just me.

Doug Taron said...

I've been to Hershel's- at least to the parking lot. It was about 10 at night, and a friend and I were collecting longhorn beetles in the lights outside of gas stations and similar spots. We got a fine Goes debilis at Hershel's.

Floridacracker said...

Small world Doug!

Rurality said...

Wow that is one cute pig. I'd have a hard time sending that one off.