Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Doctor is In

Yesterday morning I went out to find a new litter of Large Blacks IN THE BARN.  We give them an entire pasture and the sow chooses the barn!  I will give her that it stays pretty cool in the barn, but I maybe would have chose somewhere besides right next to the gate.  (We now have to walk around and go through the pasture to the back of the barn.)  But the litter and the sow's choices are not really why I am writing.  No, I am writing because I noticed a gash above the right leg of one of the piglets.  Upon closer inspection, it was not simply a gash, but an actual hole...through which the piglet's guts could actually be seen with space between the skin and insides.  (The picture does not do the hole justice, it still looks like a surface wound more than a hole.)

Since the wound was an actual hole, we knew it should be stitched so it would heal, but we didn't have a curved needle and Matt didn't want to use a straight needle.  We cleaned the area with a iodine/water solution (we read a saline solution could also be used, but we had iodine) then rinsed it with distilled water.  We patted it dry and used duct tape as make-shift butterfly bandages.

Well, the duct tape kept coming off due to the drainage, so we brainstormed and Matt came up with the perfect solution: super glue.  We super glued the wound mostly shut (we dotted the area with glue so there was still some space for drainage).  We then covered the area with gauze and wrapped it with self adhesive medical tape.

We decided to keep the piglet inside in order to reduce the amount of dirt, etc the wound is exposed to.  However, we then needed to decide how to feed it.  We first tried goat milk in a bottle, but the pig was more interested in trying to suck on my fingers than the bottle.  We then tried a syringe and got some goat milk down, but the piglet wasn't very happy with that option.  We finally decided the sow is right down in the barn, and the piglet was very interested in eating, so we would just take it down to the barn to eat 3-4 times per day.  Both the sow and the piglet seem to be doing well with this choice.

The hole doesn't seem to be slowing the piglet down any.  It is one of the most active piglets while in the barn, has a hearty appetite, and is smart (when the sow flipped to the other side it was the first one to walk around and keep eating).  If we can keep infection out, prognosis is good.  Although I probably shouldn't say that, because mentioning it is just asking for trouble to come our way!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Murphy's Law Hits The Farm

Goodness...has it really been almost a month since I wrote last?!?!  Well, it sure doesn't feel like it!  Time has been flying.  The garden has, slowly but surely, been growing.  Animals have been reproducing.  And we have been on yet another trip to Illinois...when Murphy's Law decided to show us just how important a positive attitude is.

The trip to Illinois was wonderful.  We stopped at two wineries this trip, Bella Terra Winery and Windy Hill Vineyard & Winery, both located in Creal Springs, Illinois and only about a mile apart.  What Matt and I decided this trip is we are not necessarily fans of good wine, but of good tasting wine.  Let me explain.  We visited Bella Terra Winery first, where we received the best service we have ever received while wine tasting.  He explained all the different grapes while serving us, gave us more free samples than allowed (each person is allowed 5 but we tried just about every wine they make trying to find one to bring a special twinkle to our eyes), he gave our son a bag of Cracker Jacks and our daughter some Goldfish.  It was really an amazing experience.  However, the authentically Italian wines were just not our thing.  They tasted very high class and were obviously high quality, but we found ourselves without at least one that jumped out at us as amazing.  We decided to purchase Bacca Rosato, a Sweet Red Wine.  We then made our way to Windy Hill Vineyard & Winery, which we weren't expecting but saw a sign for at the turn for the first vineyard.  We were a bit worried when we pulled up, it looked like a shed with an old pick-up outside.  Matt asked if we should go in and I said we were already there, we might as well.  The inside greatly suprised us, it was completely different than the outside, maybe even more nicely decorated than the first winery.  This winery had a lot of grape and berry hybrid wines, which to a real connoisseur is a no-no, but is just fine for us.  We found ourselves in the usual predicament of which two to limit ourselves to.  We finally chose a STRONG-tasting (it contains black cherry and black currents) Chambourcin and their award-winning Catawba.  The whole experience reminded me of the line in Hal Ketchum's song Mama Knows the Highway "...little places always share the Grandy's sign..." since we only found this winery because of the interstate sign for the other.  Like I said, we can appreciate good quality wine, but that doesn't mean we don't like good tasting wine better.

Grapes at Bella Terra Winery
Little did we know while we were tasting wine and visiting friends and family in Illinois, Murphy's Law had already set in back home.  Actually, we should have known something was up because the air conditioning broke on the way home, on the first day to hit over 100, and we were all miserable most of the 8 hour ride back to Tennessee.  Then we arrived home to find the GFI outlet breaker had popped out during a power outage during our absence and we lost ALL the meat and bread in our chest freezer.  One of our goats also got sick while we were gone and several chicks and rabbit kits died in the heat wave.  If we had been home we would have turned fans on, but our farmhand just didn't know. 

Life goes on and things are looking up again: the freezer is cleaned out and full of two freshly butchered hogs (which...luckily...were not ready before we left) and the goat is doing much better after a shot of antibiotic and some extra grain.  All's well that ends well.