Sunday, December 12, 2010

Green Acres!!!!

This city life just ain't for me I tell you. And while we are still plotting a way out of here I am off today to help #1 son Michael out with his FFA project. Now while I come from a long line of farmers, and am a pretty good green thumb in the garden, I have ZERO clue about Livestock. Never the less by 2pm, I will own a pig today.

Michael, Tony and I are off to Buckeye to find ourselves a nice Pig. Michael has his heart set on a Berkshire Pig.

What is a Berkshire? I have to go online and look, but here is a synopsis dear reader from Wiki:

Berkshire Pigs are a rare breed of pig originating from Britain. In New Zealand it is estimated that there are now less than a hundred purebred sows.
In Britain breeding is maintained by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust at Aldenham Country Park, Hertfordshire and the South of England Rare Breeds Centre in Kent. It is listed as 'vulnerable' as there are fewer than 300 breeding females.[1] In the United States, the American Berkshire Association, established in 1875, pedigrees only hogs directly imported from established English herds, or hogs tracing directly back to such imported animals.[2] The pig is also bred in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, under the trademarked name Kagoshima Kurobuta (かごしま黒豚, lit. black pig).

They are making a comeback as this other website states because:

One of the breeds that farmers are finding to work well for these consumers is the Berkshire. They’re hardy, they have good mothering capabilities and they perform very well outdoors, especially when grazing on pasture. Their meat is darker than commercial pork and far more flavorful than the pork found in your grocery store freezer.

So we make our way out West to Buckeye Arizona and soon find ourselves on in what is really becoming a rarer sight in the Metro Phoenix area....farmland. After turning down a country road we spot a line of trucks next to a small farm.

Other folk looking to get a hog. You have to love the American Pick Up Truck.

This pig won't be staying at either of the houses, but instead Michael has a stall he will share with another student named Jeffery (I hope I have spelled that right) and they will care for it on right at the High School Michael attends. His school is actually very well know for its Agricultural department which is worthy.

We get there and sign up for the auction and go look at the pigs. In the center of the picture we meet Jeffery and his parents who are cattle people from Colorado. Very nice people who live just down the street from us out here too.

What I think are Berkshires end up being called China or Poland Pigs. The difference is the floppy ears. Berkshires have pointed ears. Everyone knows that of course.

Michael and his friend/mentor Josh look over the Berkshires while waiting for the auction to start. This is more of a raffle though. You get a number, if you want a pig, you place a "bid". If you are the sole bidder, the pig is yours for a set price. If you have to compete, your number is placed in a bucket, and they draw out the winner.

Tony is a great help as he did this as well and knows his pig.

This makes its easy on us and Michael takes one of the first Berkshires that comes up. Jeffery gets another one so they are two happy young men.

Here they are loaded in the back of the Tundra and ready to go.

I present you with Hamhock Berkshire Perez

The two new Pig Farmers are now at the High School.

Now it is time to get the pigs to the stall. These pigs are still little but are 40lbs of bacon that don't like to cuddle. Jeffery is the first out of the gate.

Jeffery has the needed determination and his pig is pretty much ok with getting a free ride to his new home.

Hamhock though is a true Perez.

From the start he is no follower and wants to see the world.

Exit stage right!!!

After a lot of work we manage to convince him he needs to go to the pen.

He does get a grand escort all the way to the new pen.

In the end he likes his new digs a lot. I am sure we will have more pictures between now and the fair in April.

See you all later.

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