The Corn Thief

Boo has  begun stealing ripe dry maize out of the field. They call it field corn here.


Oh yes! He eats it! He is one BAD Boy. Bad Boo.


Sheila is on a diet and deeply unimpressed.  Did I tell you that I have decided to breed her myself in January. I don’t want to risk another psychologically damaged sow.  I shall begin the research.  (sigh) I am so new to all of this. We were talking about it in the comments lounge yesterday. I am only six years into developing our own little farm out of an industrially cropped field.  Previous to this I worked in the film industry. I grew up on the beach.  The only things I ever really concentrated on as a kid was when a surfie tied a towel around his middle so he could get changed. Will the towel drop?  I was not born or bred to farming. Boat building maybe. Art and writing maybe. The stage and film definitely. But not farming. And now I have decided I am going to go breed my own pig. My father (who is one of the original member of the fellowship but is too shy to comment) will be shaking his head. The girl had such promise he tells his friends. She could come up with an argument for anything. Would argue black was white that girl. Now she is deep in research so she can breed her own pig because she does not trust the swine herd  to keep her Sheila safe and calm and gentle.


No Daisy has not grown a hump! Though we woud still love her if she did. That is the high point of the boot of the cows dining car, but it was slim pickin’s yesterday when I looked at what Camera House had collected.

I will tell you why I was distracted and did not take enough pictures. My Son Sam has been telling me for years that I should listen to talking books when I am doing mundane stuff. Like dishes and cooking and CLEANING! So a month or so ago I brought myself some breathtakingly beautiful red head phones. I could plug them into the kindle and  listen I thought.  They are splendid headphones but they are still in their box, sitting in a pristine state upon their soundless cardboard ears.  I move about too much.

Yesterday when I was in a certain big box store with the Matriarch buying printer ink for the local library, I spied some tiny kindle speakers. So when I got home I down loaded Cats Eyes by Margaret Atwood, plugged in the little red speakers and read a book without my eyes. Fantastic.  While  I loaded the pots with vegetables, restacked the dehydrator, thought about cleaning the ‘fridge (then thought against it)  and made the custard for the ice cream  and cleaned  and cleaned I was transported.   Days of preserving makes a mess of the kitchen! So you see. Thank you Son Sam.  Mama is a slow learner but you were right. Listening to books while I work is great. But I was inside cleaning way too long and lost the light for yesterdays photos.  Distracted you see!

And now Daisy has a hump.abcccsunset-023

And big ear piggie (no they are not named ) was shot straight into the light and turned lavender.  But who can resist those ears!  Poor luvey!


Do you see that little table in the picture above, that is the bee table, it was swarming with hungry bees yesterday.


and there are thistles in my fields… back to work everyone!

You all have a lovely day.

your friend on the farm, celi

91 Comments on “The Corn Thief

  1. Not Only a Hump but a pierced utter !!!!
    Love the lavender pig !
    Always a delight to read your posts Celi !

    • The “pierced udder” comment is very funny! Love it. The garden is beautiful, Celi. Looks like something Alice in Wonderland could entertain herself in for a good while. Funny how we turn into things our father’s didn’t expect…good laugh on that one.

  2. You know, I studied journalism & filmmaking, now I garden and cook! And you know what else? I was clicking away a few weeks ago at my food, plants, sights around the city, etc., without a memory card! This distracted mind is not all that unlike yours! 🙂 Love your blog!

    • Luckily my camera tells me when I forget the card! It is in and out of the camera three or four times a day so I can never keep up! Our distracted minds!! have a lovely day.. and welcome to the comments lounge..c

  3. Oh! Since you’re on a home grown challenge and since thistles are popping up in your yard…have you ever eaten “cardoons”? I guess that’s English for “cardi” which is Italian for a certain edible thistle (you eat the stalks). I ate them for the first time last fall and they were DELICIOUS. Do you think maybe yours are edible? You can fry them, braise them, or prepare them like a gratin. Yummy.

  4. i love listening to audio books. for years i had a long drive to college and i listened to books all the time. it made the long trip much less boring.

  5. I think you have done admirably for being a film and stage person. I laughed out loud at the towel dropping scene. 🙂 What a woman you are to try to breed Sheila by yourself. Can’t say that I blame you given the last go round. Maybe this time will be a bit less traumatic.

  6. Funny we had just one dog on the farm that loved to steal the maize off the stalks… he never wanted them drying out .. he wanted his fresh and still sap full… the only problem was he was such a big dog he knocked the whole plant over and then only took one head… so we ended eating a lot of corn on the cob as you would say over there…

    • Big Dog does that too, so now i have two dogs leaping up in the fields stealing the cobs..I do feed them you know! c

  7. I am yet to succumb to audio books. The problem is once I start reading (or listening) I get so engrossed I forget everything else that is going on around me! Could have a few burnt pots that way LOL. Although my Mum always tells people that I always had my nose stuck in a book, and used to walk 2 miles to school everyday and not once look at from my book! So as long as my body is doing things it can do on auto-pilot I suppose it would be ok.
    Your pictures are always wonderful not matter the light. I have the kittens outside with me now during the day, and yesterday tried to take pictures of them, but they don’t stay still two minutes and I ended up with quite a few ‘tails’ disappearing out of the frame!
    Have a great weekend!!

      • I used to walk the dog and read too, never ran into a lamp-post not once, but had a few close calls!! I was listening to my book last night and then walked without thinking into the dark garden to cut some thyme, wondering why the reader had stopped! c

    • well viv, i am not entirely sure, but i think there is a gadget, we will learn more as i progress with the research. c

    • Yes, I too was wondering. Lewd speculation aside, given gender and species science must be involved.

  8. Morning C,
    Love Boo’s photo…bless…I mean Bad Boo…lol. Once the vet told me it would be a good idea to include some veggies in my malamute’s diet and so I started teasing him and playing with him with carrots or broccoli when he was just a puppy and he grew up to love his veggie treats. He would grab the carrot between his paws, Boo style, bite off the tenderest tip and secret it under himself, savour the carrot bite by bite and finally polish of the tip which he always saved for lasts. But then, I didn’t plant corn in the garden for him to dig up. 🙂
    You can do just about anything you put your mind to Celi. I’ve known you these past two years or so and feel absolutely confident that you are very much like me. Anyway, I always approach these things with the “how hard can this be anyway” attitude and I have a feeling you do too. Breeding a sow…easy… 🙂

    • I can learn it, though it does sound like a slightly unsavoury procedure! But we cannot risk Sheila losing her marbles as well. Big breath!! c

  9. That is NOT something I would expect a dog to yearn for!
    Hmm. ‘You remember Cecilia? Well, she has become a real pig …………..breeder!’ 🙂

  10. Love Margarat Atwood. You should read Alias Grace. It was her novel that got me into her books when I was a teenager.

  11. I beg to differ – I’d say you were born to farm 😉
    Poor Sheila, a diet must be very disappointing. I think you are doing the right thing breeding her yourself though, she’ll be much happier staying on the farm.

  12. May I ask why Sheila must go on a diet? I thought pigs were supposed to get fat?

    • Fat is bad for any animals health, especially an animal one expects to breed. We do fatten the ones destined for the freezer but once again we don’t want them too fat. I think it would be unkind to let her get obese. She has been a bit spoilt lately because she is in the corridor paddock that I walk through often in a day, and she takes a tax of whatever is in my bucket! c

  13. Just in case you didn’t have enough to do, you added breeding your own piggy; well you know what they say C, if you want some done and done properly, give it to somebody who is busy, so there you have it.
    Have a beautiful weekend. Oh and I love audio books.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  14. Celi, doing the insemination yourselves is not nearly as difficult as it may seem! I was very skeptical at first, but after watching the Youtube video several times, it wasn’t so bad! We searched for semen…couldn’t find our heritage pig semen, Gloucestershire Old Spot, for anything near what we could afford, so got Spotted Hog semen from Iowa. It was sent with boar urine to excite the pig, the tubing and everything you need, and 3 tubes of semen each…so enough to do the procedure 3 days in a row. And Roxie got pregnant! And Sheila is so tame that no doubt she’ll do whatever you want. Just keep an eye on her and do it when she is into her heat cycle! Bernie, the pig who didn’t get pregnant was nearing the end of her cycle, and we think that’s why it didn’t work with her. And you are right, it will be much less traumatic for Sheila!!!

    • Oh good heavens, such information LOL. I am learning a lot on this blog – not sure I will use it myself, but it is so interesting!!

      • It’s amazing what you can learn to do by yourselves from Youtube Lyn!!! I haven’t even written about castrating our piglets for the first time. Now that was something else! And we learned that from videos on Youtube too! 🙂

  15. As the daughter of Scottish grandparents, I love thistles! We’re surrounded by field corn and soy beans out here. I haven’t seen any doggies chewing on the corn, but the raccoons sure love it!

  16. Did you know when John whisked you away to his farm, that you would ever be spending your time in such quests?
    Books on tape is an especially wonderful tool to use when reading a book by a foreign author. I “read” Abraham Vergese’s “Cutting for Stone” on tape and it taught me the proper pronunciation of Ethiopian names in the story.

  17. Ahh, I never thought of audio books as a way too hear the proper pronunciation of names, etc. Ronnie! I may go back and “listen” to the Outlander series….all those Scottish names, phrases…that I just know I was miss pronouncing! 🙂
    Breeding Shelia yourself Cinders? I have no doubt at all in my little mind that you will become a professional at it! And I just think there is someone way across the seas in N.Z. that will be thinking the very same thing!

    • Reading the Outlander books is distracting enough, let alone listening to them but they’d be amazing if read in the proper accents 🙂

  18. I am getting such a kick out of you Celi! My hubby and his father raised pigs! Lots of pigs!!! I used to love them too until they tried to eat my shoes! The babies are so adorable. I could never get over how the sows were able to nurse the little piglets without squashing them all. Hubby said that they did sometimes. Worries worries…
    There is a lot to it when you raise hundreds of pigs. But one should be manageable! For me anyway! LOL
    They raised pigs, dairy cows, sheep and chickens (layers). I raise chickens (layers and meat birds) ducks, geese, and turkeys!!! Years ago they used horses for work and sleigh transportation. I should have been born back in the day! Love horses!!!!!
    Neighbors on other local farms have beef cattle. They scare the life out of me! Huge beasts and they can be very unpredictable. Dairy cows are sweet and gentle!
    I like chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys! From little to butchering time…I can manage them easily enough. We have an electric plucker so it makes it so much faster! 🙂 I’ll never forget the day the Jehova Witness group showed up and I came out with my bloodied ax and they hopped in their cars and took off! LOL Never have been back! 😉
    Good luck with the insemination project! I can’t wait to hear how it all goes!!! I would do the same! No injuries to my pretty sow! Love to hear your news!
    My parents used to say that they could drop me off in any part of the world and I would survive! LOL Life can be so interesting!

  19. P.S . If I were ever to have a tatoo…it would be a thistle. 🙂 They are beautiful! Look but don’t touch! Just admire! LOL

  20. Yep, field corn aka: pick’n corn, feed corn, or even CORN MEAL…or ground corn or golden corn. My dogs love corn like that also. I let them eat it, I figure why not I like corn also.

    Insemination of a pig is not hard. Oh, I see someone else already told you how to go about it, so I won’t waste space here. The hard part will be getting the semen. Be sure you get the type you want…be very sure! After that life is good.


  21. I took a bad fall this week while distracted by the cell phone, so be careful…but even as I say that, I’m really curious about those tiny Kindle speakers. I think I must have some of my own! 🙂 Your photos are gorgeous, even the ones right into the sun. I think you definitely inspire all of us to consider way beyond the “who we have been” to look directly into the future and consider unmet expectations, possibly changing direction to explore new “who we may be” adventurers. I’m sure advanced animal husbandry was never on your university transcript, but it will be now. Good for you! And I hope it goes well. Your overall goals are just wonderful. ox

    • are you alright? falling at our age is not like falling when we were EIGHT! not quite as bouncy anymore.. I am going into the kitchen to cook now and am quite looking forward to turning on my story and working at the same time. It is just more fun! I promise not to fall! c

      • I am pretty bunged up, but ok. It was definitely the result of multitasking, so that’s where my warning came in! Lol! I’m sure you could really get lost in a good book and with all you do…just be careful. Lol! I sure don’t know the answers! Ha! We ought to be able to work and listen to a book! 🙂 ox

    • I don’t have the room for a boar here. They get a bit mean and destructive sometimes and we have such a little farm. breeding them yourself is not uncommon.. c

  22. Good, old, Boo. He sure makes your life interesting — like it was a bore before he came. Went to the market but didn’t see any fig trees to ask the vendors what kind and whether they’re hardy enough to withstand our winters. Maybe next time, though it just may be too late in the season. I did some pickling earlier and have a bit more to do yet this afternoon. I’d like to make a batch of cherry jam, too. Have to make sure Zia’s cupboard is full for the Winter. 🙂
    Have a great afternoon & evening, Celi!

  23. We battle those thistles every year! In fact, in most of the Midwest, a rancher can be fined for not eradicating them on property. Generally, I think they only fine if the rancher allows them to get out of control and does nothing about them.

    • Tomorrow i PROMISE I will take my spade and start murdering them, though i may have to cook a few too and see what that is all about! c

  24. I have heard that the semen does not have a long shelf life and one of the difficulties is making sure your pig is in the optimum heat period at a time when the semen arrives and is still viable. Also my dads 1950’s pig rearing book makes much of ensuring that the sow is inseminated at exactly the right time within the heat period. I have lent the book to someone right now but when I get it back I will email as the info is interesting but quite detailed. Probably most important right now is to make sure you know when Sheila is on heat and start to see how long her cycle is (for instance Baby’s is not as long as the usual 21 days). In the meantime I love this info about how to tell when she is pregnant, The pointy end of the pig business!

    Carrying on our conversation on from yesterday, I cant move baby to another area on my own property I dont have anywhere far enough away or secure enough this time around. Instead she will go back to the boar next weekend, the boar lives at a small farm like yours, they seem to get along, she hops off the trailor and goes straight in with him and then together they investigagte every trough in the place, anyway thats what happened last time, who knows this time around as she will be leaving the piglets. Also I do not have an experienced pig person to help with de sexing the boy piglets so I have to get the vet to do it. He does not like to do it til they are 6 weeks old, but he does use local anesthetic which some pig people dont use! But still it is probably going to be noisy, just picking them up is noisy, so it is better if Baby is out of the picture.

    I dont feel brave keeping pigs, but I do feel like I have to be a major strategist, both logistically with the bigger picture of pig production and right now staying ahead of Baby. This coming week I will let her out of her pen then feed her and let her free range for grass for a bit, then put her back in to feed the babies and then back out again for a break whilst I go to work. I will bring some work home with me so I can get back early then do it all again in reverse in the evening. After a week of this it will be a relief to take her to the boar and it will ensure I have something better in place for weaning next time around.

    • That should work though, good that you have the vet to do the boys, an anaesthetic at that age will be excellent. They say that the sow will cycle in quite quickly after weaning.. it seems to me a good idea to get her off the property like that. How lucky to have a boar down the road that she likes. Now I shall go and look at your link. Thank you for that, i can track her heats already so that is half the battle they say. c

      • The boar is 90 minutes away but worth the travel, also it was where Baby went to stay when I went overseas so she knows the place now. This spring is turning out to be very hot already so we will need an early start. Good that you know when Sheila’s heats are, thats half the battle over.

        • Ooh I just repeated exactly what you said back to you. Great minds think alike!

          • Not surprising as we are both struggling with exactly the same learning curve. But you have done so well. I think we are Both brave.. c

  25. I am of the understanding that corn cobs can wreck HAVOC in a dog’s gut, including creating an obstruction that would require surgery or cause death in a worst case scenario. Might want to keep a close eye on that bad boy.

    • I sure will Wendy, he only eats the corn, not the whole cob, he saves that kind of gnawing for the fresh bones he gets every day! Welcome to the Lounge of comments.. c

      • Thanks, but I’ve been here for quite some time, just quietly. Can’t start my day without checking in to see what’s going on at the farmy! I had a dog who had a close call with corn cobs, and just wanted to spread the knowledge! Love your blog!

  26. Good evening, c. The day is winding down here but wanted to wish you and the farmy a lovely weekend … and hugs to Boo. I just love his expressions.

  27. I loved your paragraph especially describing your circuitous route to this part of life’s journey. It’s interesting how we get from where and who we were to where and who we are at this time… I commented similar to the G:O. the other day – we are both country born & bred, now living in the centre of a city, and I spend my days high up at a desk days in a skyscraper looking over Sydney’s top tourist icons working behind the scenes on corporate projects, and he in construction, that get reported in the media. But that’s what we do, not who we are. I think there is a whole different resume for that. Pig breeder, sustainable farmer I think is worth aspiring to.

    • very very good point, are we really who we SEEM!?.. i have always been fascinated as to how people see other people. I remember turnning up to a barbecue once with all my little kids in tow, all bouncy and loud and gorgeous, I was a single mum at that time. A man came up and looked at me and said Hey c. These are your kids? They are, I said proudly. He said – wow. I have to apologise. I thought you were just one of the beautiful people, I didn’t know you were a Mum. He did not know who I was until then. funny.. that was a long time ago.. take care honey, give my love to sydney! c

      • I love that dog more and more every day: the cat wasn’t fast enough, was she!! Good Boo 🙂 !

          • Boo has been the second dog from the US/Mexico offered in a week 😀 ! Oh Wouldn’t it be luvverly, but both families would miss their pups to hell!!!

  28. Well, if Boo is into the corn, it is because his body needs it ~ not ‘bad Boo’ in my book unless he leaves a trail of half-eaten destruction 🙂 ! Love the look of your orchard: so green and restful at the moment. And why not try the at-home-in-comfort insemination with Sheila – you have learned everything else: why not that!! She trusts you! I love listening to chamber music and trad jazz when I’m doing boring chores . . . does not take my mind of things at all ~ just makes the work go faster 😀 !

    • I know this will shock you but i have no music. I used to but when i started travelling again I just forgot. I sing! and hum as i go about the day, but mostly I do the Dr Doolittle. But where did my music go? How odd. Music really does make things go faster too! c

      • Uhuh: I love talking to any four-legged critters I meet also . . . quite serious conversations 🙂 !

  29. The bees should be in heaven, with their dessert laid out so beautifully in that green and lush space. I love talking books – just having someone talk to me as I work or rest, it’s such great company for someone who spends time alone.

  30. I like the idea of the speakers for the Kindle…except I don’t have a Kindle. I had a Sky Gnome that allowed me to listen to Radio 4 while I cooked, but the Gnome is dead. I’m hoping my 70th birthday presents will include a digital radio….

  31. I was going to mention the corn cob problem but notice someone else did. It can cause a very painful obstruction but obviously Boo knows about that. I was laughing a big eared piggie…a slight angle adjustment and it would have looke like he had a set if antenna – probably gets goods reception with those Nd his big ears.

  32. Yikes! I just noticed all the typo’s in my comment above. Usually I double check for that on my little IPad keyboard. Guess it’s not as embarrassing as some things that come out of auto-correct.

  33. We have a dog named (well, nicknamed) Boo too! The day after Armageddon, I intend to stick to her like glue , along with the rest of the family – she is a scavenger extraordinaire! I thought her unique talents were due to her breeding – husky/basset hound mix – but apparently it comes from the name, instead!

  34. I’ll keep this short, my busy friend. I’m sorry I missed this when it first came around, and I totally understand about your sweet piggy, and “Naughty BOO!” 😉

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