Monday, April 9, 2007


Tuesday April 3 2007


We woke up this morning to 4 penned horses going bonkers and a pig! Just across the fence from them was a cute black and white big honker of a pig. Of course I had to pet it. It quite liked the attention and in fact as I petted her through the fence, she just sank down on the grass against the fence and my hand, sighed, and laid there grunting contentedly as I petted her. So while the horses were running in their pens and snorting loudly and threatening to break through their tape fences, I petted the nice pig. And, the Raven met the pig too!

We spent half the day in a bigger town 45 minutes away, Taihape (tie-happy) stocking up on supplies and errands. Taihape is, of course, the Gumboot Capital of New Zealand. That's Wellies, or mud boots to the rest of us. Maybe I should have picked a pair up because there's a lot of clouds in the sky, and there were an awful lot of low hanging clouds in the morning.

The foothills of the Ruahine Range are made of ash. Too much rain and they just disintegrate. You can see scars along the way where pieces of the hills just fell off and the sheer cliffs of ashy clay is exposed.

Back at Butch's farm, David took the horses one by one and lunged them in the round pen while Sandie and I took turns grazing them on the lush grass lining the road. The horses were given their grain, and I snagged a few handfuls for the pig. She almost expected it, was following me along the fence as I called her. The horses still didn't love her, and especially Zaandel wouldn't get anywhere near the fence. He watched me pet the pig but thought I was nuts.

Then we went over to Butch's, because he'd told us we could come take showers. We were not ones to turn such a gracious offer down! Butch made us coffee, sent us to the showers, and talked horses. Sandie got out her 2 nice photo albums of pictures she's taken (she's also a horse photographer) and she and David went through them with Butch. They talked horses and bloodlines, and, like learning a foreign language, I'm starting to pick up and recognize some of the names and lines, understand a few and put them together.

And we talked pigs. It's Butch's pig across the fence, and her name is Julia. He had a boar for her named Roberts, but Roberts wasn't holding up his end of bacon making, so no more Roberts. He sent some pig scraps back to the farm with us, and said "Just call her, she'll come." Butch had a book on his table, "Straight From the Horse's Ass, A Kiwi Cowboy Rides America" by Lee Hughes. Butch said he didn't read much, but he couldn't put this book down. I must find it somewhere. He said I could have it on loan for the week, but I knew I wouldn't have time to finish it. He also had "Five Hundred Horses", and "Ten Thousand Dogs", both by Peter Newton, and he said they were good also.

Anyway, lovely shower that, and a cuppa coffee. We left about 8:30 and as soon as we drove off Butch's lights went out - I think he was waiting for us to leave so he could go to bed!

Back at the farm I carried the bucket to the fence for Julia. She had been sleeping near the horses, and she must have known I was bringing her a bucket, because she was already waddling down the fence to me. LOVE THE PIG!!

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