I decided to take Van, our ear-less gilt named for Van Gogh, to the butchers. She was plenty big enough, over 200 pounds, and had been bullying the three other pigs who weigh a good deal less, and hogging the food, so I got the pig crate readied and loaded her up and took her.
She's always been a scrapper since we got her as a runt and she gave me a little trouble going in the crate and coming out. Even so, I still felt bad for her, since she obviously knew that this strange new place with all the smells and sounds was not a good place for a pig with no ears.
Aimee never comes with me on these trips. I hate the butcher run, and am usually pretty upset that day. Today was no exception.
It didn't help that as I was driving over there in the pick-em-up truck with the crate in the back, Garrison Keillor was going on, on the radio, telling some Lake Woebegon story about a pet pig that had to go to the butchers.
So, being the pragmatic guy I am, I took my last big piece of smoked shoulder out of the freezer and defrosted it and cooked it up with mashed potatoes from the garden and sliced tomatoes from Heald Farm (since ours have the blight and we don't have a single slicer yet). It was delicious.
There's nothing like home-grown ham. You just can't buy that quality and flavor in the supermarket.
And after all, there's no need to save it now. We'll soon have more.
I'll have to borrow a trailer the day I take the other three pigs. I'll never be able to get a crate with three 200-plus pigs on the truck by myself. It was bad enough with just one and I almost put my back out.