I can't believe how much time has passed since I've even been to my Blog. It seems that once Olivia's 12 babies (who are lovingly referred to as my "Minions") started to grow...I had less and less time for other things. Those 12 babies absolutely stole my heart and have become a huge part of me and my life today. They are 3 and a half years old and I couldn't imagine this world without them.
It was never really a question for me as to whether we would keep them all or not. I knew from the moment I saw their unexpected heartbeats on Olivia's ultrasound that I would never part with them, but there were many questions about how we were going to make that happen. Let me tell you, it's been quite a journey. With the sudden addition of 12 pigs (along with the other animals we already had here), we learned that we had too many animals on the amount of land we owned. This was a constant cause of stress for us...so, to keep everybody safe we started the process of buying more land directly behind our property. It was a huge process and took almost 2 years from start to finish... and was a real hit to our little one income, out of pocket sanctuary. In the end, our animals are now safe and that is what matters most to me.
Last year there was another real hit. We found out that our home had extensive rot throughout. I had been experiencing breathing issues that surfaced in the fall when weather dictated that it was time to close the windows and turn up the heat. I had many doctor visits and trips to the emergency room trying to figure out the problem. It wasn't until we removed a wall during, what we thought was a small renovation, that we discovered a massive ant infestation and walls that were barely holding the roof up. It was devastating to say the least. We have spent the last year rebuilding our home inch by inch. we spent the summer in a camper in the yard while we did the work. We were able to move back in by the middle of October of last year, but the house is far from finished. We are doing what we can, but it is a long process that we will complete as we are able. THAT WHICH DOES NOT KILL US MAKES US STRONGER.
We also realized just over a year ago that one of my minions (Nimmi) has epilepsy. She has full out seizures about one every three weeks...with occasional clusters between. It is heartbreaking to watch and took me witnessing several before I could do it without bawling. Our vet says it is epilepsy due to the fact that she has no other symptoms that accompany the seizures and she has not declined in health since they have started. She seems fine, although we do worry about her eyesight and she is unable to tolerate what she perceives to be a stressful situation. She is far more timid and skittish than the other minions and does not take well to new people or even crowds of people she knows. We have brought her into the house and she will live out her days as a house pig because the other pigs don't understand the seizures and will attack her when she is having one.
We have also added 2 new pigs since my last blog entry. Snorkel came to us last summer. I had been in contact with his owner for several years prior, who was on again off again with the idea of keeping him. He was becoming too much for her to handle at times, but she also loved him a lot. Due to family issues last summer, she decided he had to go. He has fit in here perfectly and is a very sweet guy. He doesn't stand up for himself with the other pigs, so he lives in the main yard where only Todd, Grandma and Nimmi go. Him and Todd are buddies and he follows Nimmi around like a puppy when she is outside. He's very tolerable of Grandma and her cranky ways and does not retaliate in any way when she goes after him. He's the only pig here who seems to realize that she is an old lady, blind and deaf and doesn't pose a real threat to him. He takes her crap with nothing more than a little complaining...and moves on. Such a good guy. The second new pig is Dixon (aka: Loudy Monster). He is a regular farm pig...the kind born and raised to be slaughtered. :'( I came across an ad that said there was ONE piglet left in a litter of 15. I usually try to avoid such ads, but this one blindsided me. The fact that he was the LAST pig, awaiting his horrific fate, was just too much for me...so now he's here. His mother was about 600 pounds, and although Dixon towers above all the pot bellied pigs here, we don't think he will reach that weight...as we don't feed to fatten, we feed for health. He has definitely been a handful from day one, but he is a sweetie at heart and has appointed Leland his BFF. (His presence and determination to be close to Leland at all times is just what Leland needed to overcome his strange, antisocial ways and he's now doing well out with the other pigs.) Dixon is so big, yet the smallest minions can push him around. We are still praying everyday that our fences will continue to hold him! He tests our patience regularly, but we love him a whole lot.
All in all these last few years have been busy and I regret letting my Blog slide as I have. I am recommitting myself to it, as I noticed today after being gone for so long that there are still many people viewing it from all over the world (75 000 views...almost 200 yesterday alone!) I had no idea. I am so happy to see people reaching out for information on these wonderful animals who mean the world to me and I appreciate every single one of you! :) I also apologize for all of the unanswered comments. There were just so many when I came back on today, some dating back over a year. I deleted them to keep from being overwhelmed with questions that are probably no longer relevant to you anyways, and promise to check for comments on a more regular basis in the future. Today is a new beginning.