It will come as no surprise to know that I love a good “back to the land” biography. Especially in the early days of living here, I looked to the experiences of others to find some company on our own journey. I read every book I could get my hands on… from stories about women falling in love with farmers, to itinerant beekeepers, to those stumbling into goat dairy ownership. In amongst those pages, I remember one particular story about a woman who was offered a pig at a dinner party, and, having had a few too many sloe gins, agreed and drove home with a porcine passenger in her back seat.
The way we have acquired each of our inhabitants here at Gartur isn’t quite as interesting (except for the time when my friend knocked on the door in the dark with a trailer full of Soay Sheep), and usually follows a routine where I get an idea in my head and force Kevin to go along with it. Our newest arrival, BoyBoy the KuneKune pig is no different. I’d seen his photo on a Facebook Group (where a surprising amount of livestock changes hands) and messaged his advertiser. A wedding gift to the couple 9 years previously, he had lived his days with them as a pet on their commercial deer farm, until they decided that he needed pastures new - quite literally…as a pet and a grazer, he couldn’t be out with their deer who are part of the food chain and needed some more space.
We were happy to offer him a new home, part as show pig for our AirBnB experiences, and part offensive for our massive problem with invasive rushes in our field. He provides no end of entertainment- from his funny grumpy walk to his rather epic snoring in the barn at night. He loves apples and belly scratches and has decided that chickens are THE WORST (on that he isn’t wrong). The goats are terrified of him and given how Dasha thinks she is the Queen, means that she is very put out (I haven’t mentioned to her that he is now taking over #garturstitchfarm on Instagram. Who knows how she will react)
After we’d had him about a week, the goats managed to let him out of the barn. We don’t know how long he was out for, but found him snuffling in the garden (as opposed to the goats who managed to open the feed bin and finish the sheep’s food). He came back in no problem and we assumed he’d just taken a wander around the courtyard. The next day however, he wouldn’t get out of bed and alarmingly had no interest in food. We assumed the worst - maybe he’d eaten something or he was unwell. After much fussing, multiple stomach rubs and a botched rectal temperature check, he decided that he’d slept long enough and had no further interest in me attempting to stick the thermometer anywhere and happy headed out to the field for the day. It turns out, mid morning naps are a requirement.
So while his arrival isn’t as dramatic as me driving him home in my car, he’s proving to be a welcome addition to the mix…Well, welcomed by most of us at least.
You can see BoyBoy in action on the little video I made about the farm.