piglet in the kitchen
Sunday, May 21 2006
Last night I was developing a complicated web/database system that lay well outside my usual focus of building web tools from functions based on extremes of generality. Nonetheless, it ended up being engrossing work and the sun had begun to lighten the sky before I realized how much time I'd managed to burn through.
It made for a very sleepy afternoon, even though I had social obligations, chief among these being that book reading at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Gretchen, who had organized the event, was fretting because the weather was being about as unpredictable as weather can get. One moment it would be sunny and clear and the next moment a dark cloud would pass overhead and a deluge of cold rain would fall. One such deluge had the hallmarks of a planet in its death throes. Winds howled with such power that I was sure they would throw my solar panel from the roof (they didn't). Then as lightning scratched plasma graffiti across the sky, balls of ice started pelting the ground. Our dog Sally, who has a thunder phobia, was absolutely miserable. Even our cat Lulu, who is normally a big fan of such weather, came running in from the woods once the ice balls started tearing up the vegetation. Interestingly, I saw two or three hummingbirds at our feeder while a few hailstones were still falling. I can't imagine a hummingbird being able to fly in such conditions.
We'd lost power to our house by the time we left to go to the reading. The weather at the time was clear, cool, and sunny, but that only lasted for the duration of our drive. Once we got to the sanctuary we found ourselves uselessly battling the elements with plastic sheeting, hoping to keep rain off the band's equipment. Yes, for some reason there was a rock band setting up.
Co-ordination of an event is a tricky thing best not left to committee. While Gretchen had arranged for a wine tasting and readings from a book, the other organizer had booked what she'd claimed was a jazz band. Actually, though, it was a freshly-minted garage band comprised of students from Bard College. Once they started playing it was clear they weren't a jazz band at all. They did do a few countryesque songs, but none of it was really appropriate for a wine & book event.
The weather had recovered and the sun was out. I found myself avoiding the other event organizer, who had tried to conscript me into directing traffic. Eventually I snuck off to a distant part of the farm where I found an abandoned residential trailer. I went inside to see if it had anything worth scavenging and found such things as a print of the Last Supper, pastel-colored ceramic tchotchkes, and a few articles of clothing. In other words, no. I found a notepad that momentarily excited me, but there wasn't anything written in it at all. As I stood there, a Phoebe flitted in through the window, and, momentarily disoriented by the fright of being so close to a Homo sapiens, attempted to dash out through a pane of glass. He caught himself at the last moment and braked to a stop, eventually finding another way out.
The reading itself went very well even though the weather (which had turned bad again) and the garage band had conspired to scare away a large fraction of the visitors, particularly friends Gretchen had convinced to come.
After the reading our friends Penny and David as well as our neighbor Andrea came over to our house for snacks and wine. We'd also brought home Franklin the piglet, the little guy we'd met the other night at the photogenic vegan Buddhist birthday party. Though we'd been warned about what a "handful" Franklin is and how he'd be all the evidence we'd need never to have a baby of our own, we'd be fostering him for a night just because the cuteness factor.
The dogs were fascinated with him, Sally sticking close by for the whole of the evening. She was a little too interested in him, if you know what I mean, because you'd turn your back on her for a moment and then when you noticed her again she'd be humping him. He didn't really seem to mind one way or the other; all he cared about was extricating all the kibble that had accumulated behind the hydronic radiators near the food bowls.
It's difficult to say whether or not pigs are smarter than dogs, but they definitely get into more mischief. This has something to do with their snout-based manner of interacting with the world. Dogs tend to paw at things or grab them with their mouths, and not many opportunities are presented by these actions in a typical house. Pigs, on the other hand, tend to root around continuously. They poke the tough tips of their noses into every crack and then jackhammer with their powerful necks. All sorts of opportunities were revealed by this behavior when undertaken in our kitchen. Franklin quickly opened the dog food bin and began engorging himself and we had to put it up on the counter. Then he jackhammered the bottom of Sally's food bowl (which sat otherwise out of reach in a tray holder some 12 inches above the floor), spraying kibble everywhere. He could open all the lower cabinet doors and it seemed likely he would soon discover the pet door for himself. Though he wasn't potty trained, it didn't take long for him to decide upon his favorite places for doing his bidness.
Franklin with David.
Franklin with Gretchen.
Franklin with Sally.
Me & Eleanor.
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