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Dad is praised for ‘polar bear strength’
Pig in Spring
THE LAST BATCH of pigs raised by the Schendel-Dremsa clan were known to enjoy their feedings of yogurt. No doubt the current group will be well, if innovatively, fed as well.

GAYS MILLS - The snow falling and giant woodpile getting put to use doesn’t exactly scream time to take on a farming project. 

My schedule, two young kids, and a mountain of a to-do list doesn’t either. But, here we are. The Schendel-Dremsa family are now happy owners to three baby piglets. 

Thatcher, of course, bestowed them with fantastic names–Fox, Horse Fly and Chorizo. 

When I relayed this to Charley our Faithful Editor, he noted that the names sounded more like the Sausage Racers at the Brewers game than piglets. He went as far as suggesting we race them in the spring, when their poundage surpasses everyone in the house, put together. 

Hopefully, we won’t have any hog races anytime soon. I have no intentions of climbing the hills in search of a hog–especially a fully-grown one at that. 

My only hope for the piggies is they grow fat and happy on a steady healthy diet of slop soup. 

When we raised pigs before, we also did it in the winter. It has its pros and cons, but the biggest benefit for us is the smell. All of the piggy poo gets frozen and magically emits no stench. Lucky us. 

But, with the frozen poop, come other frozen challenges, like frozen water, frozen pig food and cold piggies.

 To combat this we have come up with a few different solutions. 

In preparation of the piggies arrival a couple of weeks ago, Chasca and I went to the farm where we had stashed a few large round hay bales. On the way to the farm, I silently contemplated how we would get these gigantic bales from their resting place, tucked back in a shelter, onto this trailer. Considering, I am but a weak office worker with little upper body strength and I was his only companion on this venture.  But, I’ve been known to refer to Chasca as a ‘Human-Ant.’ In reference to the fact, he can lift his body weight, and more with ease. So, I decided to go along with it and see how it all played out.

Luckily, when we got to the farm, I realized there was an ancient tractor there with a bucket that would be able to help with the task. Not so lucky, for me at least, was the fact we’d have to roll those big suckers out to a position where the tractor could easily poke it onto the trailer. 

Long story short, I was really just there to pretend I was helping. I mean, I pushed the bale I really pushed with all of my might, but I’m fairly convinced Chasca did most of the moving that day. 

“Good Job dad using your POLAR BEAR STRENGTH!” Thatcher chirped joyously at his father. Who beamed with pride in return, happy to have impressed the young lad. 

Back home, giant bale unloaded, we set to creating a snuggly little nest for the creatures. Filling their hutch, a retrofitted truck topper we found out back, with the fresh warm hay. 

They were delighted in this palace of comfort and all three have taken to tunneling deep into the depths of the hay. 

The next skill we developed to keep happy pigs is what we have dubbed slop soup. 

Last time we had piggies, we had a different wood stove. A giant beast of a stove that had a wide flat surface on top. Chasca would take an old turkey frying pot and we’d fill it up with any and all delicious delights we could find, cheese scraps, Go Macro scraps, compost bucket scraps, some water and a whole lotta love. Get it nice and warm and YUM YUM! Talk about piggy heaven! 

Now that we have our outdoor woodstove we’ve had to get a little extra creative. For now, cooking up their special warm treat on the stove in the house has been working since although there is three of them, they are still little scrappers. But, once they get a little bigger, and their food demands increase, we decided we’ll take the operation outside and use our old turkey fryer outdoor burner set up to warm their delicious brew. 

We’ve also taken extra special precautions for keeping the little buggers inside their cage as well. Chasca has made use of all the strange bits and pieces he’s accumulated as well as some that were just left behind from previous tenants. Gathering up every refrigerator grate, scrap of fence and old pallet he has to create Piggy Fort Knox. 

All of this work in the name of having our own, homegrown, fresh pork. As long as everything goes according to plan, that is. For now, it’s all in good fun. Thatcher has loved his time checking on his little piggy friends. Squealing with delight as they squeal in excitement at a human who comes bearing treats. Who knows! Maybe they’ll even become friends like Fern and Wilbur and we’ll be able to keep at least one for the long term. I mean, we don’t have a dog anymore, and a pig would probably be fairly similar to old Bud the Hound dog….We’ll see how it goes!