“To market, to market, to buy a fat pig.” So went a poetic nursery rhyme along about the time that I was so small that I had to stand up twice in order to make a shadow.

Well, I’m getting a little carried away with my thoughts, but the actual fact is, we did not go to market to buy a fat pig. We didn’t have to; we raise porkers right here on the farm.

But in reality, the fate is one and the same. We feed them so they can feed us. Porkchop, Hammy and Bacon, our three Berkshire pigs, now guesstimated at a little over 200 pounds each, were sent off in a big truck to be introduced to the butcher’s block by those who are licensed to do such. They will be back home, in select pieces, wrapped and packed into our freezer in approximately one week.

In the meantime, I have been busy weeding and picking excess stones from our new garden area. The fact is I hate picking stones, but I do enjoy gardening and watching things as they grow. Having been introduced to a hoe at a very young age, I do know how to do it with considerable ease, and I also know how to comfortably lean on its handle while I watch the birds and butterflies that are plentiful in our area.

As there are few big trees in the immediate area, thanks to the hurricane two years ago, the birds are limited to perching on the garden stakes that we use as markers.

That allows me to get some very close association with the birds, and they often sit there studying me as I study them.

At the moment, I have three pair of bluebirds, one pair of chickadees and a house wren nesting in houses that we have put up for them. As short-cut lawn surrounds the garden area, the bluebirds are continually active there as they are basically ground feeders eating the creepy crawlies on the short-growing plants; ideal garden companions.

The bare ground garden attracts the killdeer, the horned lark and the chipping sparrow, while the hay field that surrounds us is home to the meadowlark, bobolink and song sparrow, all of which frequently use the garden stakes to perch on as they burst out in song.

Incidentally, I have a little song sparrow that has become exceptionally friendly. He often sits on a stake – often less than eight or ten feet from me. There, he sings and sings again and again, but the startling thing about his singing is that no sound comes out.

At first I thought I had lost my hearing, but after watching him many times with his head thrown back, his mouth wide open, and his little tongue moving up and down, I realize he was voiceless.

But that doesn’t stop him – I saw his little lady friend carrying dried grass for a nest in the grassy  field nearby.

Take care, ’cause we care’.       



Barrie Hopkins