Be a Dog

Imagine if we were like a dog. Not an actual dog but Like a dog in that whenever we felt even a little tired we just lay down on the floor wherever we were and slept.  Angling our bottoms onto the boards with our bellies following suit, then paws sliding – flat out on the floor, head down, big sigh, close eyes and sleep. Immediately. Everyone would just step over our prone bodies without comment, carrying on conversations and work around us.

Until suddenly we would lift our heads sniff the air, stand up,  move ten paces to the left (or posssibly the right depending on the wind) and collapse flat out on the floor again, then head down, big sigh, close eyes and sleep. Again.  Ah, to be a dog. gate

On Wednesday Poppy (Hereford sow) is due to be moved across to the West Barn, she should come into heat a few days later. Until then we need a very strong gate so that they can see each other but cannot get together and fight, once she is in heat and they want to get to know each other better I will open this very strong gate (with me behind it) and she will go in with Manu. My reading tells me that you put the sow in with the boar not the other way round so she goes into his territory. Especially with a young virgin boar like Manu. And a bossy sow like Poppy. My job is to make sure she is in heat before putting them together and that they are calm. I don’t want a big fight. And I want his first experience to be a good one. 

But I have never put a sow in with a boar before so I am feeling a little apprehensive, they are both big animals.

John is going to hang the gate today.

She will stay in the barn next to him for a few months just to be sure she is bred and to be company for Manu over the winter until she comes back to the home barn to farrow and the girls go over to the West Barn.  Musical pigs.

molly hereford gilt

Once Poppy leaves the Home Barn Molly and Tahiti (Molly is above) will go in with Sheila until it is time for them to visit the boar. As soon as the second suite is finished I plan to keep at least one other pig in the West barn to keep Manu interested in girls and for company for him.  Not with him, just close by.

That is the plan anyway – and we all know how these plans go sometimes.


I drive up to the airport to collect Amanda today, you will remember her from the summer, she is back for a winter visit.  I am very much looking forward to her visit!

I hope you have a lovely day.


ps Thank you so much for your Christmas memories yesterday. Like many of the farm posts the Lounge of Comments is the place I love to visit all though the day.

Here is my story: When we were children we went to a little school on the beach only a few blocks from our house. Every year we would make Christmas Presents in class. Paintings or cactus saucers or driftwood carvings, cigarette boxes turned into dolls house furniture – this was in the days when smoking was not frowned on (except by my mother who abhorred smokers and cigarettes and the stink of ashtrays she was the only mother we knew who would not let my fathers friends smoke in the house.  She had even made Dad give up when she married him. )

Art in schools is huge in New Zealand, every week for years we all do art and crafts.  Almost all the presents we gave our parents through our primary school years came from these classes.  This one year we were doing pottery.  Everyone in the class made something, usually cups or bowls, saucery things.  Strange sagging jugs. I watched another girl make a saucer and with her thumb make a dent in the lip.  I thought this looked cool so I made the dent in mine  too. Our pieces were glazed (mine was a shiny greeny blue), fired and returned to us in time to be wrapped for Christmas.

I was so proud of my little wonky plate that might be a bowl.

It was always just our family at Christmas. Mum’s family lived on another island and Dad was an only child so our celebrations were small and intense. When Mum unwrapped her present from me on this particular Christmas day her eyes widened in shock. She looked at her funny bowl for the longest time then smiling in the way that did not show her teeth, said thank you Cecilia, and reaching up placed it on the mantel and it was never referred to again. It sat for years in the seldom used Front Room, on the mantel above the fire. It was dusted every week but unused.  I could not understand why she never used it for cookies or anything at all. It was such a pretty colour.  But my mother was not the type of mother you questioned about such things so there it sat and was forgotton. It was only much later when I was a few years older that the penny dropped and I realised what it was I had made for her and why it was not allowed to leave the Front Room.

With complete innocence I had given my mother an ASHTRAY.

I still laugh about that!




57 Comments on “Be a Dog

  1. If that’s the gate on the back of the ute, it’ll give even Poppy pause… I do love the idea of you flopping down for a nap wherever you happen to be; lovely in the summer, in the sunshine on the warm grass, but perhaps not so lovely in the cold wet mud… All these piggy wedding plans are making me long for your spring and a rash of piglets breaking out all over!

  2. I want to thank all the wonderful people who wished me a Happy Birthday yesterday. I was so surprised with all the wishes. I wish everyone on this wonderful blog, a Very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. Love everyone of you!

      • I am so humbled and honored to be one of the favorites on this first class blog. And to be getting a Birthday wish each year on December 25th, well, it brings tears to my eyes. I am a tough old guy, some say a curmudgeon, but I do have a big heart. My day does not start until I read this blog daily. Sheila is my favorite on the farmy One day in the future, my Wife and I would love to stay at the other farm house you are restoring. Of course, I would want a photo of Sheila and Me. Thanks so much Celi.

  3. Just heard on my news station that horrible weather is headed your way. Sheila will be wanting some extra hay for her bed. Stay safe and warm.

  4. I think I would have to write all the pig maneuvering down on the calendar. Sheila sounds like she has weather forecasting down pat. And downward dog is always a good practice. Enjoy your day and bundle up.

  5. I am so curious to hear if Geraldine remembers Amanda! Hoping Poppy is more attentive to your plans than Tima was 🙂 Laura

  6. I wish I could have a dog. They are such good teachers. No way, says my dear. But I never thought about being one, though I have noticed similar tendencies–especially the flopping down part (the big thing I remember from Whitman is, “I loaf and invite my soul”) and the looking through the porch door for food part, as captured in one of your photographs not long ago. In fact, I can see myself in other animals at your place, but I shouldn’t say which, or how. My dear might read this, and then there might be a new doghouse in the backyard.

  7. I’m feeling rather dog like this morning. Give me 5 seconds and I will fall fast asleep. At least I’d like to. Best of luck with the musical pig game. Hope everyone wins. How would you know what an ashtray looks like if there were none in your home. I would have thought it would be a good spoon rest for the stove. Funny how we didn’t communicate better with our parents. Have a lovely day.

  8. I missed yesterday’s post so here’s my (late) Christmas memory. It was the Christmas just before my fourth birthday and Santa brought me a dolls’ house. I was SO excited that I spent the next half hour on the loo!! My grandfather had made the house and my grandma had collected the furniture over many weeks. I loved that house and still have it, having had no daughters to pass it on to. Now we have a granddaughter who turns four in January, so finally I have someone to (hopefully) enjoy it as I did. What she’ll make of the 50s furniture is anyone’s guess!

  9. That is the funniest Christmas story I have ever read! Hysterical! I love it. As for doggies and doggy-ways…I have learned something very recently from my dog. I noticed that every time he lies down, he takes a big sigh before closing his eyes and sleeping. I realized that that big sigh is like the relaxation exercises you do in yoga. A great release of all the tension you must let go of. Now I make myself sigh before I sleep. Deep breath in, even deeper breath out, letting it ALL go. Just like a dog. And it works.

  10. All of my dogs have circled three times before lying down, do Southern Hemisphere dogs circle in the opposite direction ? 😊

    • A good question, I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dog circle, she just flops and then stretches out.

    • welcome! I am about 10 miles NW of Mt Shasta! Enjoy The Kitchen Garden- it’s wonderful to read every day! Cheers!

  11. Oh lor! I’ve just been watching Shaun the Sheep in The Farmer’s Llamas – the most hilarious animal mayhem you ever saw. I picked up the laptop to see how the Kitchen’s Garden was doing and found loads of material for another film! How’s Time? I hope the big strong gate works and all the breeding plans come to fruition. I loved your ashtray story. I have a pottery lady made by my son at school 40 years ago. The head wearing a big hat has been off several times, but with some judiciours glue she’s managed to survive.

    Welcome back Amanda – I’m sure Geraldine will remember you.

    ViV xox

  12. Today was another dreary wet day in my corner and pain was my partner until after lunch, I eventually gave in to pain relief and decided to live like a dog… a deep sigh and next I knew was the sound of my phone ringing three hours later. Feeling much more alive now.

  13. Dogs are smart- yes indeed they are! I do imitate our cat from time to time and lie down with her in front of the fire!

  14. What a lovely story, thank you for sharing it with us. I’m sure your dear Mom would have realized your naiveté and that you would never intentionally make her an ashtray! My parents gave up smoking before we were born, although my Dad smoked cigars and eventually a pipe. But their friends smoked like fiends and in those days my parents never said no when they smoked inside (it’s quite appropriate and expected now, but not then). After each and every one of these get togethers, my dear Mom laundered the drapes…every one of them, because of the stench. Smoking isn’t even allowed in restaurants any more and in Ontario (not sure of other provinces) it is illegal to smoke in a car with a child present. You can actually get a ticket for doing it!
    Good luck with the piggies.
    BTW, I am unable to “like” your posts using Chrome, only Safari allows me to do so. Not sure if it’s my problem or not but I thought I’d mention it.

  15. You sound like a ‘receptionist’ in a welcoming guesthouse with the book of all the rooms in front of you: ‘Now Mr & Mrs Jones are in Room 3 and I have to move Mr Smith to Room 5 ’cause Miss Clark has that booked . . . ‘ 🙂 ! Sweet memory of your ashtray . . . with a father and both husbands avid smokers that one would have disappeared into someone’s hand very swiftly at our place !!

  16. I missed yesterday’s Christmas stories… but I’m about to remedy that. Your story is fabulous. Ashtrays were in great demand in my childhood households. Many years later you’d still find one stowed away somewhere. I still have 2 of my school pottery creations in use; a wonky little brown coil pot for toothpicks and a blue-green plate with my name inscribed.

  17. How sweet is that: A virgin boar and a bossy sow. And: You want his first experience to be a good one.
    Love it. So caring. Fingers crossed, that it will be and will happen exactly like that – in accordance with your dreams, Celi. But it might be better to assure yourself by someone else’s being present. What about Jake?
    And then: Our “teenagers” Molly & Tahiti being prepared for visiting the boar soon. So sweet. You must have been a marriage broker in a former life, Celi. Don’t you think so?
    Nice description of a dog’s life… So well observed. – And yes, welcome back to Amanda!

    P-S Your Christmas story is wonderful, Celi… – I’ve read all the nice, lovely, interesting and sad Christmas stories of the Fellowship, too. So sorry, that I have not had the time to participate and give mine yesterday.

  18. I use Chrome and I am able to like your posts fine. And I do like your posts! What a funny Christmas story. Thank you Celi.

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