Pigs feature quite a lot in the day to day life of our family. Here on the school farm we have nine Oxford Sandy and Blacks and two Vietnamese Pot Bellies. At the weekends Bear and Raff help their dad feed them, and last half-term we spent a memorable family morning searching for a runaway porker.
We’ve crept out at night in our wellies and pyjamas to watch the piglets be born, and wondered at the ability of a mother to uncomplainingly give birth to 10,11, 12 babies in a row. (How? HOW??!!)
The boys have watched these piglets grow up. They’ve cuddled them as babies. And once the piglets have grown into squealing, toe-munching little weaners the boys have helped move, handle and catch them.
Last week they helped eat them too. With an assortment of pupils and teachers, Andrew spent from 6am to 9.30pm on Thursday turning two of the Oxford Sandy and Blacks into sausages. He brought some home for the boys, who less ate them, more threw them at their bloodthirsty little gobs.
If sausages are the end product of the pig life/death cycle, then Raff and Bear have also experienced the start of it too. Last autumn they were there when Andrew put the Pot Bellies in with the Oxford Sandy and Black boar. Andrew took photos, which he likes to whip out if ever there’s a lull in conversation with nice, polite people.
Pigs are only pregnant for just under four months. And by some hilarious trick of fate the two Pot Bellies are due to give birth at the same time as me.If you’ve ever wondered how big a 5’8” woman crossed with a sturdy 6’4” Irish farmer can get, then wonder no more, this is practically me:
See the belly practically dragging along the floor? The face sliding down the neck? This is me too.
And this isn’t the only thing the pigs and I share about our pregnancies. But it didn’t occur to Bear until the other day when he and Andrew went for lunch together, that there might be another common theme. This is roughly how the conversation went:
Daddy, did you jump on mummy, like the pigs?
What, you put your willy in her vagina?
And that’s how the baby got there?
Yeah, just like the rams got onto the sheep and made lambs…
And then he moved on to his apple crumble.
And just like that, we can tick sex education off the list.