Listen to Sheila

Yesterday afternoon I saw (with a certain amount of alarm) that Sheila my big fat old pig was building her winter bed, for hours in the afternoon she went about the barn stealing hay and straw and sticks and anything she could gather into her mouth  lumbering back to her new corner out of the drafts  to build her two story bed. Her winter bed is always high up off the floor. But I watched with gathering alarm as she began a winter bed.  It is after all ONLY October!IMG_1070

So sighing myself, I gathered up my army of help and we carried out extra straw and old hay as bedding for all the other pigs on the farm. Sheila has a built in barometer and it must have been dropping. She feels the cold coming.

big pig

We attached the half door to Manu’s house, stuffed it full of straw, added more straw to the Plonkers hut, pushed all the dry bedding into a corner of the gilts pen, and gave Tima and Tane some extra warm bedding.

cows in pasture

When I went out in the night to check them: both the little gilts (Molly and Tahiti) had  quite disappeared into their hill of straw, Sheila and Poppy were cuddled up in Sheila’s new bed and Tima and Tane as usual had their heads covered in straw and their big fat bums out in the air like babies sleeping on their faces. Manu had said thank you very much and was curled up in the back of his hut, snoring gently. The Plonkers had thrown themselves on top of their straw and were fast asleep.

Sheila grunted a good night as I left the barn. She is such a doll. I love that big fat pig.

Why is it a surprise to me that winter is, once again, on its way.


The lovely thing about this shot is the two calves, Little and Difficult,  who both recovered from deeply grave states with scours and pneumonia, and here they are drinking their warm evening milk with gusto, after a day out in the fields grazing like real little cows.Their bellies dropping into a perfect pear shape.  And look at those lovely clean bottoms.

I hope you have a lovely day. This is my hope for you every day. that you find some loveliness.

Love celi





58 Comments on “Listen to Sheila

  1. If anyone else but you told me to look at lovely clean bottoms, I might be a little shocked!
    You are lucky that Sheila is an in-house forecaster, but in any case you are always prevoyant and well prepared.
    Lots of love,

  2. You sound just like a mother, delighted to find the nappy clean for the first time!
    If it came to a contest between Sheila and the meteorologists, I’d back Sheila for a nose for the weather. Please may we have a photo of Tima and Tane sleeping with their heads in and bottoms out?

  3. My personal loveliness today was having my girls and husband greet me (still in one piece) on the other side of the ocean. Sheila is a beautiful barometer. And the cow bottoms are very sweet.

  4. how is it that we can feel so excited and chuffed about calves clean bums..yet we are , because youfought so hard for theor survival so no wonder we feel elated at clean bottoms.
    Ah now Sheila. she is a scream! beautiful lovely fat pig, with personality and charm all of her own…and a weather forecaster to boot!
    its great to hear that the barn animals and grunters are all happily esconced ready for the chilly nights
    Take car Miss C…love you all lots and lots

  5. Perhaps Sheila would consider a part-time job with the local TV news forecasting the weather…a smidge of extra income might entice her to take her show on the road so to speak…

  6. It is also a surprise to me that winter is on it’s way! Already I’m wearing 3 layers when we go feed! We will have a bit of a warm spell this coming this week, even going into the low 80s, and I’m very, very excited about it!! 🙂

    • Same AND I have found to my horror that most of my winter layers have come to the end of their lives, the long sleeved T’s were all chopped down into summer T’s, my warm socks have holes in them, and the sweatshirts feel awfully thin from their frequent washings – so my layers may be even more multiple this year! c

      • Then it’s time to start putting in birthday (maybe early birthday) and Christmas requests to your loved ones! 🙂 I’ve found the same, as today I am exchanging my summer wardrobe for my winter wardrobe. The offseason clothes go under the window seat in the dining room. And so many of my summer clothes are thin and stained and ready for the rag bag! We have lots of thrift stores around here where I do much of my clothes shopping. Do you have those anywhere near you? There are many wonderful deals to be had! For super good prices! You do need to stay warm!!! xoxoxo

        • The thrift store (one) that I know of is terribly over priced here. I might have to come down to yours!! I say to everyone – send me your hand me downs! I am not proud – i wear them!

          • Celi, send me your sizes, both for pants and tops, and jackets, and I’ll keep an eye out! Our thrift stores even have half price sales and specials daily. It’s great!

  7. I’m sure that Sheila is noticing how it’s becoming a bit chillier at night. She’ll want her hot water bottle and electric blanket soon 😉

  8. The winter always sneaks up on me too, I can hardly believe it was about a month ago we were melting in the restaurant in Chicago. Actually melting. It’s really cold at the cottage and we’ve had the heat on all weekend. I’m heading back to the city on my own and I’m hoping the house won’t be too chilly. I have four recipes to test tomorrow so it’ll warm the house plenty. Hope you have a lovely day too.
    PS, are cow bottoms usually dirty?

    • These calves had terrible scours on and off then were plagued with lung infections – needing antibiotics which further upset their digestive systems – the joy is having them stable at last and noisy and eating and yes: no mess on their legs from the diarrhea – clean bottoms. Seems like just the other day we were in chicago – time is flying~!

      • Oh my, that sounds terrible, I’m so glad they are on the mend Celi. Bunnies have very delicate digestive systems too and if ours ever had to go on antibiotics, we would have to force feed them yogurt to get the balance back. Bunnies HATE yogurt.

  9. You are so great helping the pigs to prepare themselves for winter. Oh my, you want to retain the warm season but the pigs seem to know better… We must give in when winter knocks on our doors…
    I love that you went out deep in the night to check everything … and just finding them all safe and sleeping heavenly.
    Here it’s cold too already, but I refuse to turn up the heating…
    Have a nice Sunday, Celi.

  10. you have your own personal weather forecaster! Lovely to see how the calves have progressed! Cheers and get out the long underwear!

  11. My Northern Spider Tortoises are my barometer. When a front is on the way, they bury themselves in the sand, sometimes so deeply that I have to dig to find them. I’ve learned to listen. They are more reliable than a weather reporter.

    • Hmm, do they live inside? or outside? Do you think it is the pressure dropping that alerts them or sounds or something – what does this? I think for Sheila it is her arthritis.. this triggers her need for a deeper mattress – do you think? c

      • They are completely indoors this year. I believe it’s the barometric pressure. Even indoors, they are aware of the subtle shifts.They do it in winter, as well. I knew the snows weren’t over this year because the brygooi male was so deeply buried I couldn’t see him.

  12. We’ve been talking about this winter thing lately. It seems way too early down here (in southern Missouri) to have temperatures fall into the 40s at night. Most years flowers are still blooming at Thanksgiving. Self-deluded little marigolds and morning glories to be sure, but still blooming. Last year, it never did get seriously cold until February. The old timers around here are talking about a cold, early winter. It seems that Shelia agrees and that worries me more than any meteorologist.

  13. I’ve had people recently tell me it will be a late winter and some say an early harsh winter. My bet is on Sheila. I think she is the ultimate weather girl.

  14. Making someone cozy has to be one of life’s special delights. Your motherly instincts must be so satisfied providing extra straw to all your sweet pigs and piglets. I’m trying to count them–2 gilts Molly and Tahiti and 3 plonkers; these are Poppy’ s children. Manu, a gentleman caller. Tane and TIma , the little Kunekune hairy ones. Last and certainly not least, Sheila! Does this make 10? I keep thinking I’m missing someone.
    I don’t think I’ll ever get over Sheila’s housekeeping skills, not to mention her barometer. I don’t know how you get anything done! You could make a full-length movie of her preparing her bed. Millions would watch it.
    And yes, the clean bottoms of Little and Trouble have to bring tears to the cockles of all of our hearts. The effort you made to save them!–just dealing with the horrific diarrhea, not only running down their legs but splattering the barn walls too. So disheartening. And yet you did not give up! The lovely has to be every bit in contrast to that ugly.

  15. Oh, I wish you could rig up one of those heat lamps over Shelia’s winter quarters but worrying about a fire would just not be worth it! Maybe a huge hot water bottle then? 🙂 Although I’m sure Shelia would lay on it and it would burst water all over the place…Think Fellowship-mates…What could we use to help Sheila keep warm and cozy in her bed?? Well, she does have Pop n Hop Poppy to snuggle up with.
    Anyway, all this use of the W word makes me cringe…I mean after all, it’s only October…I’m going back to summer…thank-you very much!

  16. This is how I remember life on the farm – observations of the animals giving us messages about what was to come. My Grandparents relied on this and my Dad also. With all of today’s instruments and technology, I still find the observations of the environment, nature and my own inner guidance are what prepare me for what is to come. All of the wild critters here have had their winter coats coming on for a month already. Winter will be early this year. We are also seeing signs of an early deer rut. My trust is in Miss Sheila!

  17. I’m with Sheila, the birds have flown early, the winter geese have arrived and our morning temps have really dropped. I wake up frozen, I mean seriously cold and that is under my 13 tog quilt! I might end up like Sheila, buried deep in duvets with only my nose showing, if it turns to real winter. Little and Difficult look like they are all groomed for a show. Glad they are doing so well. My loveliness was chatting to Elly today, she is in China for a couple of weeks working and went to see the Great wall on Saturday. One more week and she will return home. I look forward to a long face to face chat and a dozen hugs!

  18. I understand ‘clean bottom’ happiness……….I have a chicken who has digestive problems and no matter what I do, she often has a dirty bottom. A friend has one of her nest mates, and she has the same problem, so maybe something with the breeder’s management of her poultry. The days Brenna has a clean bottom I get so excited , thinking she’s sorted, but it usually comes back. She’s robust and healthy otherwise and is my best layer, and the others a fine, so not something catching. My friend and I have many long conversations about the state of our chicken’s bottoms and our latest cure 🙂

  19. Percy has also received more straw and promptly buried himself in it. Huge flocks of geese have been flying regularly the last couple of weeks as well as the cranes and the blackbirds are swirling so noisily you can barely hear yourself think! How can winter be so close all ready? On a bright note my John did clean the chimney the other day and I turned up the heat a couple of days ago, it was so chilly by nose was froze! We are expecting temps near 70 this week on a couple of days, I’m really looking forward to that to finish the last minute yard clean up and the squirrels have gifted us with quite a few tiny oak trees that I need to pot up and then bury the pots in the garden for replanting come spring. I’m hoping a few warmer days will allow my sweet potatoes to be ready, they’re hard to bring to term here.

  20. It’s so good to hear that Little and Difficult are thriving. I wish Sheila was building her nest here. I’m so ready for cold weather. We still have summer weather and the bugs are taking over. We have an unprecedented infestation. We need a good cold snap to get rid of them. We can’t go in or out of the house right now, without them attaching themselves to us. 😦 I’d happily trade weather right now.

  21. I love Sheila’s bed-making skills. I can just see Tima and Tane. We certainly don’t want cold piggy noses and ears! The calves are looking good!

  22. If winter coats are any indication of an approaching early winter……my goats are quickly, quickly growing their winter coats already. I have Spanish Meat Goats, they are bred to be hardy in the winter….their coats get very thick.

  23. Shelia is quite right, unfortunately. Early, hard winter and a late, cold spring. I’m definitely NOT looking forward to that. Celi, get yourself some polar fleece tops, they’re light, warm, easily washable, don’t fray and wear quite well. I made myself tops and otherwise would not get through cold weather at all well, I just don’t deal well with being cold. If you can’t find anything, email me. Get some big pieces for blankets for Shelia and the others or for throws in the house. My dogs have had them, love them and are pleased to be covered with them to sleep warm and happy.

  24. Oh, winter coming already! How amazing the way animals sense the seasons. Sheila is one wise pig.

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