more fiasco farming



Those pigs. They've taught us a thing or two. 

Right when we think we've got it figured out, we're officially registered as a pork producer, we've got a market, we've got the whole paddock to butchery process in hand, they remind us just how clueless we really are. 

On Monday, Adam was due to take two pigs up to our local abattoir. It's pretty straight forward and he's loaded and unloaded a few pigs in the past year. 

The last time, he left the trailer and the loading ramp in the paddock overnight for the pigs to get used to, and with a bit of food at the top of the ramp in the morning had no trouble. It was only when he was unloading the pigs at the other end that he noticed a random cable dangling at the back of the trailer with chew marks on it and realised they'd eaten the cable and the socket off the rear trailer lights. We assume they ate the socket. It was never seen again. 

So this time was the first time he didn't leave the trailer in the paddock overnight. Might have been the first problem. Second was that he was in a hurry. He's usually very calm with the pigs, I'm sure that's why they are so calm, but he was going off to work on another farm for the day and was doing the abattoir run very early. Pigs don't like to be rushed. 

He went out to the paddock at about 5.30am to load them. When he wasn't back inside to pick up his stuff before he left for the day by 7am, I started to wonder. By 7.30am I sent a text asking if he needed help. He replied that no, there was nothing I could do but maybe cancel the abattoir, he might just kill the pigs in the paddock. 

I strapped Ivy into the backpack and went to have a look. There was Adam, not at his calmest, and two pigs not in the trailer. Even with two of us, they were particularly determined not to go up the ramp. 

I pointed out that at least he still had rear trailer lights. 

This point wasn't received with the enthusiasm I'd expected. 

I had three children to get breakfasted and dressed and two to get off to school so I left him to it, assuming he'd be away within half an hour. He's done this a number of times. Never been an issue. 

After the school drop off, he was still out in the paddock. 

I didn't want to ask about cut off delivery times. 

I didn't want to ask about the other farm job. 

I didn't want to think about having to call the restaurant that had booked one pig and tell them it wasn't coming. They had probably built a menu on it for all I knew. 

I was metres and metres away in our loft and I could hear cursing. Loud, loud cursing. It was only then that I saw the film crew's vehicles next to the hayshed, in between me and the cursing, and I had perhaps neglected to tell Ad they were coming (in my defence they called me at 8.30am to say they were coming. I was otherwise occupied.)

Throwing Ivy back in the backpack, I high tailed it down to the paddock where the very loud bad language was coming from and suggested there were microphones on the other side of the hayshed if he needed one. 

So the pigs did not get loaded. 

We tried to organise to deliver to a different abattoir the next day but the fates are conspiring against us this week. I called the restaurant. It's all OK for next week. Adam spent a couple of hours building a pretty impressive loading ramp attached to a pen the pigs'll be confined to next time. The gentleman who Adam was supposed to be working with that day sent a message consoling Adam on his 'boaring' day. Har har.

And youtube footage of one pig UNDER the trailer, another (wrong) pig ON the trailer and Adam thrashing the ground with lantana branches in frustration is yet to show up. 

Chickens are easier.




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