When we lived in New Zealand (it makes me sad even to write that – it feels like a past time in history, and I want NZ to be in my now… sighs… having more than one homeland is hard!). So, digressing again… when we lived in our countryside some in New Zealand I wanted animals.
It was half a joke, since although we had ‘land’, it was only three-quarters of an acre and I knew we weren’t really going to have a cow or anything like that. But I did hope for a goat or two.
The Mr said no.
I went to the A&P (agricultural and pastural) show and they had MINIATURE DONKEYS! Way too gorgeous. Come on! A miniature donkey would be ideal, no?
Hmm – yes, I kinda agree.
A pig? Just a small one? They are gorgeous.
So for quite some time we were in this loop.. what about one of those miniature highland cattle? (Have you seen THEM? Oh. My. God. Too gorgeous. And, sadly, not quite miniature enough.)
So around we went.
One day I’m bustling about the house and there’s a funny noise. Like a rummaging, snuffling kind of noise, After a bit it begins to freak me out a little. I can’t work out what it could be. It sounds like it’s coming from… under the house?
Our house was raised. We lived on a mud flat. It got a bit soggy sometimes (and more – it wasn’t unheard of to find ourselves surrounded by water, with ducks swimming under us).
I go outside and peer into the under-house gloom.
Something is definitely down there.
It’s not a duck.
It’s… Something rat-like.
I don’t like possums. Aside from being an official Pest in New Zealand, they have mean looking yellow teeth.
Whatever it is under my house, it’s very much a Something I’m not feeling great about having under my house.
There’s only one thing for it. I put on my scruffs and crawl under the house.
The Something crawls out in the opposite direction, towards our driveway.
I wriggle back out and quietly tip-toe round to the drive.
What IS that thing? A guinea pig? It is! It’s a guinea pig.
I tip toe closer. It’s quite a big one…. I really should have worn my glasses.
Closer I creep.
DEAR GOD – it’s a piglet. A really little one! A real piglet. And really a little one. A real life little teeny piggy on my driveway. WHAT?
The Mr appears and is instructed to keep an eye on it while I grab an old towel to gather it up in.
Oh my word, it is the cutest, littlest, most gorgeous little piggy. I can’t remember if we took a photo, but if I ever find one I will post it here. In the mean time, here’s a video of Kunekune piglets, which is what it was. TOO CUTE.
Ours, snuggled in my arms in a towel, still has the remains of its umbilical cord dangling from its tummy, that’s how new it is.
But how did a sparkly new (well, muddy new) kunekune piglet get under my house? Our nearest neighbours are a goodly distance away across some paddocks. And I can’t even think that any of them has a mummy pig…
After getting some liquid into piglet with a syringe we go for a walk. (I have syringes because I have become the stinky duck lady of Helensville, and regularly rescue abandoned ducklings and raise them until river-ready, or even take in the odd stranded bird for a night before depositing with the proper, experienced stinky bird lady in a nearby town).
Perhaps we take piglet with us on our walk, perhaps we snuggle her / him down in a box and go on our own, I can’t now remember. But we visit every nearby neighbour to enquire, and every one declares No Missing Piglet. Not even an expectant sow.
Well, as far as I’m concerned, Mother Earth has birthed that piglet under my home for a reason. She or he is meant for me. Because I want animals (over and above our two beloved cats that is).
‘We’ll have to keep it.’
‘It’s a gift from Mother Earth. We have to keep it.’
‘It’s a kunekune’
‘I know. Gorgeous.’
‘It’s a kunekune.’
‘Who knew they were such CUTE piglets.’
‘Naomi – it’s a KUNEKUNE’
‘… I know …’
‘It’s going to grow.’
‘…. I know ….’
‘It is cute, I agree. But I just don’t think we can keep a kunekune piglet that’s going to turn into a massive kunekune pig, hon.’
Damn the Mr.
A bit more Country
Our nearest as-the crow-flies (just-hop-over-the-fence-and-you’re there) neighbours would, and could, keep a teeny ickle piggy.
They didn’t heave heaps more land than us, but a reasonable bit. And they had paddocks with fences and stuff. And they were just a little bit more Country than us.
In fact, piggy went to live with them in their house. Yes – inside the house. With the family. She was loved and pampered. Possibly more so than the children – that was kind of how it was in that household – until she got a bit bigger (I think it turned out she was a girl). Then she was re-homed to friends of theirs a bit further north.
Or that was a story and she became bacon?
When you live in the country, sometimes that’s the way it is and you just have to take it.
Cos who doesn’t love fresh bacon, eh?!
(Joking. I wouldn’t have eaten her. In fact, the family she went to had a rule that sheep for eating had no names, sheep with names were pets or for wool only. And piggy had been given a name (I wish I could remember it), so I’m sure she’s still there, enjoying her old age. …)
But here’s a great Kiwi article on tips for growing bacon pigs, in case you’re that way inclined.
Thanks for visiting. We currently, and hopefully for quite some time, abide in France. Do swing by again to read whatever nonesense, observations, rants and enchantments I’ve poured into WordPress.
Read more about our New Zealand adventures in my book ‘Jumping Off The Edge Of The World’ – Available on Kindle or in Print!