One of the best parts of having a farm full of livestock are the "characters" that stand out from the herd or flock and bring a smile to your face every day. Sometimes they standout because they are intelligent or funny or even a bit annoying. They can make you laugh, cry and curse, often all in the same day. So, I will introduce you to a few of the farm's permanent residents, starting with Rufus.
Rufus is a mini potbelly pig. He is unusual in that he appears to be staying quite small and he is "blue" and white as opposed to the more common solid black color. Pigs are intelligent and stubborn and hardheaded. Rufus knows exactly what he wants (food, a warm place to sleep, companionship, food) and he spends a great deal of his day working out exactly how he is going to get what he wants.
I decided to add a miniature pig to the farm in order that visiting children could see and touch a real live pig. Most kids think of pigs as being those fat, pink things with a curly tail. They don't know that pigs do not have hair, but bristles, that they come in an assortment of colors and they get cold easily or that their noses are like plow blades for rooting up grubs and plants. Someone once said that pigs come with a plow on one end and a fertilizer spreader on the other! Rufus surprises kids by coming when he is called, sitting for treats and then hanging out with the group as we tour the farm.
Rufus spends part of the time in the house and part outside. He likes to go out and visit with all of the "outdoor" livestock and do a little rooting around. He runs to his fenced pen every morning and waits to for me to catch up and to give him his reward. By nightfall, he is cold and squealing to be let back into the house. I laugh every night as I release him and watch him scurry to the back door, grunting and talking the whole way. He is very fast-so much for fat, waddling pigs! Once inside he goes up to all of the dogs and has a little pig conversation and greeting with each one. Pigs are very social and have a large vocabulary of sounds-grunts, whines and even barks-to express themselves. After inspecting every corner of the house for fallen crumbs, and having his dinner in the kitchen with the dogs, he is ready to get warm and snuggle for the night. He spends a lot of time trying to convince the dogs to let him snuggle with them on the dog beds. He eventually wears them down and ends up sleeping with one of them either on top of the dog bed or more often underneath it!
In the morning, he is always happy to see everyone stirring and moving around and he runs through the house squealing and whining to see that all of his friends are awake (and that extra bonus- breakfast may appear soon). Sometimes he gets into things and makes me shake my head and say words that should not appear in print, but mostly he makes me smile and laugh and that is not a bad way to start, or end, the day.