Tucking in the piggies

And so it got colder.  Cows always do the best in the cold. They carry a belly full of hay that behaves like a compost heap a hot compost heap. A healthy cow is warmed from the inside.

Unlike my white truck that was encased in ice yesterday morning and I could not even open the door. John had to pry the door open for me with a screw driver. In fact every door I encountered yesterday morning was frozen shut, I had to get an axe to bash the brick away from the chook house door, and shake  and kick the barn doors until the ice relaeased them. In a blowing glacial wind this is not as much fun as it sounds.

But we got everything open and on the straight and narrow.

Pigs have less ability to regulate their own temperatures than the cows so my pigs have trained me to cover them up on the cold nights. I finished the chores last night and as dark fell I went in to help Sheila with her bed  but she was behind schedule and still at the raking UP stage. To do this she paws at the ground like a bull pulling the straw up and up until she has a bed as high as a top bunk.
sleeping pig

She told me quite clearly that it was going to be a cold night but she was not quite ready for the covers so I left her to it and went in to the kunekune pen. Earlier I had pulled all their fluffy straw  up into one space and they had burrowed straight into the mountain of straw so all I could see was their bottoms.  Listening to their little sighs of pleasure I covered their whole bodies up with straw.  Tima seldom lets me cover her up whereas Tane literally relaxes down into his bed when he sees me coming at this time of night.   Last night both stayed still while I pulled up their covers. When I was finished all you could see were the two little air holes. The straw rose and fell with their breaths.

Once I was done Sheila called me over with a grunt as she lowered her vast tired body into her newly made bed.  The twins popped in and out as I covered her up. But she still refuses to let them sleep with her. One day I must record the conversations we have. Sheila mimics the sounds I make. Good night. Good night.

The twins are young – like Poppy they have no interest in a good bed. Though I had made theirs for them earlier – all they needed to do was wriggle down into it.

All the animals, cows and pigs, still have access to the outside. Yesterday they chose to stay inside. I just realised that I have seven cows and seven pigs. Good luck that is, I think!


Ton elected to stay in the house while Boo and I did the chores in the cold yesterday afternoon. I had to carry buckets and buckets of water across to the cows on the West side. (I have a logistical problem with the heating of their water when things freeze –  that entire barn has only one power point  – on the wrong side – it’s ok – I am thinking of an answer and in the meantime my arms need the exercise of carrying buckets.)  But it was taking too long for TonTon. Even when I said they could ride in the cab due to the cold – BooBoo jumped in the truck – TonTon stayed in his pod on the verandah. Later I brought him inside – usually he does not like to be inside.

Boo cannot let me out of his sight though.  He is wherever I am.




Last night we dipped down to around 4F (-15)  but that’s ok it is winter.


Good morning.

I hope you have a lovely day.


67 Comments on “Tucking in the piggies

  1. Boo needs a longer shirt to cover his little tail-less rump. Stay warm as you can.

      • Yes! 🙂 I bought a raincoat for Mirrhi, it’s made with working dogs in mind…..has gussets at shoulder and rump to allow for movement, and covers her very well. Boo could do with something like that.

  2. Animals know when it is going to be a real cold night – all four of my cats (who usually fight and bicker if too close to one another) jump up on to the bed and snuggle against my body like little hot water bottles. Makes it a little difficult to turn over some times, but hey I’ll take the warmth!
    Hope you can work out that water problem soon – carrying heavy buckets is not fun. Plus I find when it is this cold, the water you carry around ends up freezing within an hour anyway. Someone advised me to give the chickens warm porridge in the mornings. Huh before they have had time to eat it all it freezes!

  3. When one is sweltering and in and out of a pool it is unreal to read about such conditions! Tucking the pigs in for the night is ex-straw-dinary!

  4. Brrrr! That does sound cold…..here the snow has gone and the sun is out , not a hot sun but a warm one, which is good enough. Stay warm Miss C and do not slide on the ice!

  5. Much snorting of laughter as I read out the bedtime routine of the piggies. The Husband was doing his own burrowing and sighing with contentment – we read your post at early bedtime when he’s on day shift, preparing for a 3.30am start. Not as cold here of course, but still, burrowing and bed-arranging go on. I am, unlike the twins, allowed to share….

      • Not just the Husband… I get up too, to fix his lunch, make up his coffee thermos, make up his soup thermos, wave him off, and then… head back to bed to see if I can catch another hour or so.

  6. I know I complain about our heat but I think I would be really unhappy with -15C brrrr. Laugh, no making some people happy. I am sure none of the pig farmers in your area are allowing their pigs to read the blog today – in case they demand to be tucked in too 🙂 Look after. Laura

  7. Your piggies look so toasty warm in their little straw beds. What a loyal and lovely faithful friend Boo is . Stay warm my friend.

  8. I was amazed by the cows, keeping themselves warm from the inside out. And I didn’t know about straw keeping animals warm, but of course — that’s the advice for many flower beds here. I’m all with the piggies. There’s nothing quite like burrowing down when it’s cold. Of course, we have nothing here like your -15C, but we did have our first dip below freezing last night, so everyone will be hatted and booted and such today, feeling like Arctic explorers. 🙂

  9. Stunning portait of beautiful Auntie Del !
    Cosy piggiy beds… – The range of you duties is a wide one, Celi ! But so comforting for each of the recipients… Love it: Seven cows, seven pigs. Beautiful Boo in his mantle.
    For your icy doors problem I was thinking of a hairdryer or a emboss heater (crafting tool) but they seemingly do not exist in an accumulator mode (batterie operation)… That would be great, wouldn’t it?
    Have a nice day!

    • Yes that would be a good idea – the doors are only iced shut when we have rain and then a freeze straight afterwards.. Needless to say we do not go through the car wash in the deep winter, by the time you have driven home you are iced INTO your own car! c

      • You’re so right. – The tool is also called heat gun. Maybe Our John knows whether there are existing some wireless ones. Otherwise there are the lock de-icer or de-froster in tiny bottles… – And I have something in mind like preparing all door locks with Glycerin (before the cold). And there’s anotherone it’s graphite grease. Dip you keys in and smear the locks… (before the cold though). Good luck!

        • Maybe those little blow torches they use for making creme brulee would do the trick! Might be a bit hard to reach the top of some of your doors though…

  10. I wish I had a composting/central heating stomach! And as for someone to come and bury me in straw… Mind you, it’s not that cold here yet. Can youy not use a giant extension lead in your West barn?

    Wrap up warm, the Farmy needs your energy.
    ViV xox

  11. Yes, Dolly, being a blue heeler, like Boo, must always have me in sight! And she is always by my side looking out for me, checking up on where I am, where I’m going and what I’m doing. I’ve never had a dog as loyal and wonderful as she is. I love her to pieces!!! 🙂

    • Dolly is a good lass. When I call BooBoo to me to SIT, He sits very close, (as trained) facing the same direction as me (as trained) then plants one of his big paws onto my foot Not trained to do this!!) But he does it every time.. Always. After a few years of it I feel a great comfort from his heavy foot on mine.

      • I know that Jack always tells me not to project my feelings onto our animals, but for sure Boo is telling you that he loves you. I know that for a fact!!! 🙂

          • Hate to admit it, but when I had our dogs in training when they were pups (they were out of control and I was clueless as what to do about it!) the trainer said when they put their feet on yours that they are saying they are in charge, the dominant ones. Not sure which is it, but I prefer the ‘love story’ theory! 🙂

  12. What lucky pigs! Made me laugh, the pigs have trained you to tuck them in! I would love to hear a recording of Sheila saying Night night 😉 Be careful in that cold.

  13. I admire you so much… you are so good to know the habits and desires of each of your animals and birds, and how to best care for them. You and Boo are quite dedicated to the ones you love. 🙂

  14. I loved every word and every photo here. Tucking in everyone at night preparing for the cold makes my heart warm.. I would not want to be going out to work at 3:30 a.m. though. We need that deep cold. We haven’t seen it here in way too long and so we have massive bug infestations in the summer. Cold has it’s purpose but I’m happy all the animals are toasty and warm. I can see Boo would freeze his tush off to keep an eye on you. I had a little dog like that. We called her Velcro though it wasn’t her name. 🙂 I hope you have a slightly warmer wonderful day.

  15. I always thought it was the cow’s size that kept them warm – will need to explain the compost idea to the family next time we pass the farm. I’m amazed that the straw can keep the pigs warm. And what a good dog, is Boo!

    • Yes their size is a big part of it too (and why sheila stays so warm) . When it is due to get very cold we are advised to give the cows extra grass hay that is harder to digest, to extend the warming ruminations. c –

  16. Always knew there was something missing in my life. The new routine and diet begin tomorrow! Hay for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a bale of straw for my bed. 😆 It might thaw out my metal hip. Stay warm Miss C, I look forward to the audio instalment of piggy bedtime story!

  17. have a good warm day- such lucky animals to have you to tuck them in! And Boo is such a good vigilant dog- he does need a bigger coat doesn’t he!

  18. Oh that sweet Boo! Looking forward to hearing the conversation between you and Sheila’s “Nighty-nights.”

  19. I love Boo in his coat! We had to get our dog a coat, even though she’s a GERMAN Shorthaired Pointer, you know, I’d figure as a German breed she’d be cold hardy, but nope, she just doesn’t like the cold.

  20. Cold here, starting to snow about a half hour ago. The space heaters are on full blast and it’s still only 50F in the house so wrapped in blankets and heading back to bed to stay warm. I don’t like the cold, don’t handle it well and it makes everything miserably uncomfortable. BRRRRRR!!!!!!!! Stay warm everyone.

  21. I wonder if Sheila is missing Poppy and that is why she is not quite on cue/running late recently.

  22. I can tell Boo is always with you by the amount of dog-snot on the passenger window! Too funny how a small thing like that speaks volumes 🙂

  23. I wonder if a pig would tolerate a horse or a dog blanket / coat? Just for when they’re running around a frozen pasture. I’m guessing they’d scratch it off at night probably. Cute photos of the “pigs in a hay blanket.” Love them!

    • Tane is covered is quite long hair – like a collie really and i am sure Tima would kick up a fuss if I tried to put her in a coat – they do well in their beds.. Tane was quite sprightly this morning! c

      • Is anyone watching Downton Abbey? Yesterday’s installment featured pigs that looked like yours, Celi! And you have taught this city girl so much about things un-city. And everything you do makes so much SENSE!!! Much love all ’round, Gayle, who couldn’t write for about two weeks, boo-hoo.

  24. Has Boo got his driver’s licence or something: he definitely seems to be telling you to hurry up and get in, for goodness sake 🙂 ! ‘I AM cold, Miss C’ !!!!

    • Exactly. He is pleased to be in the cab – usually he is on the back of the truck but the ice is thick in there. Too many buckets of water slopping about.

  25. Percy has a little bed area enclosed with plywood and this fall I put a roof on it too. It is full almost to the top with old hay and straw. You’d never know a pig was in there except when he grunts it moves! He too has long, comb-able hair. The equines and goats here get extra hay when it is this cold too, their digestion generates heat and they all have hair standing on end like the stuck their noses in the light socket. I do not envy you hauling buckets, I always seem to slop it down the side of my leg into my boot. This morning both dogs did a ‘speed pee’ when I let them out. When I went out to do chores they politely declined, saying they much preferred lounging in front of the wood stove as it was -6*F.

    • Oh my you are terribly cold – hope that is not coming over this way! Love Percy’s bed, mine have a partial roof but their house this year is not as good as last years. Every year seems different.. c

  26. Loved the story about the piggies wiggling into their beds. And really loved the photo of the two little breathing holes. Wow – you had your work cut out for you between the ice, the cold and carrying all the water.

  27. Can’t imagine that cold….we’ve had such a mild winter up to now. Temperatures are dropping at the end of the week to -2 which I think is drastic! You relationship with your animals is a thing of wonder.

  28. I do want to hear Sheila “talk”. The piggies sound adorable, I wouldn’t have believed the breathing holes in the hay if it weren’t for the photos! Who knew?

  29. Hay is the best farm bed. You describe the pigs bedtime rituals so well. They are so much like children being tucked in. (Hauling water buckets in winter is so troublesome.)
    We are between cold spells right now – wind from the south/gulf, but your cold is headed this way and temps will drop quickly probably Sunday.
    Hope the sun arrives there to warm a bit during the day

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