Pigs, Ponds and Pitchin’ In

Sunday August 3, 2014

This week we are housesitting for Justin and Katy, Katywil neighbors and brewers extraordinaire (Stoneman Brewery). They are raising 3 pigs for meat. Right now they are 4 months old, and are very cute and funny. Given their impending fate, I hope they become a lot less cute very soon. Over the next few months they are supposed to gain a few hundred pounds.

3 Little Pigs
3 Little Pigs

We are enjoying taking care of them, being entertained by their antics and learning about pigs. We are surprised how energetic they are, they bound around playfully like dogs. We are also surprised how clean they are, every day they use the same spot in their pen as the designated bathroom spot. They put themselves to bed every night around 6:30pm. The energy of playful pups!  Justin and Katy are feeding them primarily spent brewers grain (no surprise there!) and they seem pretty happy and healthy on this diet. Our goats also love the spent brewers grain. Last week Justin gave us a large tub full of grain that was still fermenting a bit and the goats absolutely love it. I am the one who gives them the grain every afternoon, and it has definitely currently earned me “Favorite Patent” status.

One of my personal favorite spots to hang out in Katywil is down by Haynes and Nancy’s beautiful koi pond. Sitting by the pond contemplating life and taking in the spectacular valley view, all is peaceful and quiet.

Haynes and Nancy's lovely pond
Haynes and Nancy’s lovely pond

On the pond there is a large pretty lotus plant that just flowered, and lots of beautiful water lilies. There are also 3 bull frogs resident in the pond, they make a noise like a very loose cello string being plucked. Monique, Mikayla and Mason have spent many hours trying to catch and pick up these bull frogs.

Monique and Mikayla trying to catch bull frogs…again.
Monique and Mikayla trying to catch bull frogs…again.

Currently there are 3 houses under construction in Katwil, all due to be completed and ready for move in around the August- September timeframe. Lynn’s house is one of these and will be finished in September. For the past 10 months she has been living is a very cute “tiny house’ next to her big house while her big house is being built. Inside her tiny house she has a sleeping loft, cathedral ceilings and beautiful exposed cedar and pine woodwork.

Lynn's tiny house next to her big house being built
Lynn’s tiny house next to her big house being built

Lynn already has her well drilled and installed, however on Monday the trench work will begin to get water from the well to the house. There were unfortunately two piles of wood where the well is located that would have to be dealt with before Monday morning. So, time for a work party. On Saturday Paul, Judy and Monique joined Ed, Charles and Lynn with chain saws and tractor. Paul and Ed sawed the larger logs into smaller logs appropriately sized for Ed and Charles’ wood stoves. Lynn, Judy, Monique and Charles loaded the cut logs into the tractor.

Monique going for perfection when she was loading the tractor with logs
Monique going for perfection when she was loading the tractor with logs

Charles and then later Judy drove the tractor loaded with logs back and forth alternating between Charles and Ed’s houses to unload for later stacking in their wood piles ready for winter heating.

Driving the tractor is fun!
Driving the tractor is fun!

With all of us pitching in, we had both piles moved in 3 hours. Lively fun conversation while we worked made the task much more fun and the time flew by. And we were all pretty tired after those 3 hours. And when we were all done, Monique got to climb on and sit in the backhoe sitting next to Lynn’s unfinished house!

Little Girl, Big Backhoe
Little Girl, Big Backhoe

 

Saturday afternoon our neighbors Ed and Emma took Judy and Monique for a hike to Catamount State Forest. (Side note: a catamount is a wild cat, cougar, mountain lion that used to lived in this region. They are believed to be extinct. The last Catamount in Vermont was shot in 1881. As you enter Colrain there is a large iron Catamount figurine prominently positioned leaping of the cliff.) .

The Catamount leaping off the hillside as you enter Colrain
The Catamount leaping off the hillside as you enter Colrain

Back to the hike in Catamount State Forest. It was a short hike up to McCloud pond, about a mile.   But within this short distance we saw an amazing variety of mushrooms. Emma was able to identify a few of them. If anyone else reading this is a mushroom expert and can help us our with identification, please let us know (Haynes, are you out here???).   We also saw an “Eft” for the first time, which is like a small salamander (officially called the Eastern Newt Eft).

Eastern Newt Eft
Eastern Newt Eft

They are common around here, and very cute. The hike was an out-and-back hike to mcCloud pond, a pretty lake that was covered with lilies and lily pads.

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Indian Pipe?
Indian Pipe?

 

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Lily on the pond
Lily on the pond

 

Ed, Emma and Monique at McCloud pond
Ed, Emma and Monique at McCloud pond

Finally I end this week with a whimsical photo of a fun topiary in someone’s front yard in Greenfield. We passed by on the way back from church on Sunday. Simple and fun, Paul now want to have one of these in the yard of our new house!

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3 Comments

  1. Lucy Gierhart said:

    Judy & Paul, It is so fun to read of your adventures in your new life in Massachusetts! This is the culmination of so so so many dreams and hopes for your family. Katywil looks like a wonderful place for your family to land. Grace and peace to you as you work to make your home there!

    August 7, 2014
    Reply
  2. Alicia Hadley-Hanson said:

    Good to hear your latest adventure. Thought I saw a picture of Monique holding a frog and then couldn’t find it again. Also what is your mailing address? When will Monique start school? love and hugs to all of you 🙂

    August 6, 2014
    Reply
  3. Cindy said:

    Fantastic photos. I love the ones of Monique, you (Judy) driving a tractor, and are those all mushrooms?? What color and peace being reflected in the nature that surrounds you. Looking forward to visiting someday after your house is built. I admire your hearty and hard-working nature! Keep on going!

    August 5, 2014
    Reply

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