Life’s give and take
So late yesterday afternoon, Aggie- our Tamworth sow finally laid down on a nice bed of straw and decided to push some babies out.
It was an uncomfortable process to watch. Aggie’s not a small girl and that’s something we were concerned about going into this process. Overweight and large hogs can run the risk of having to much fat blocking the birthing canal which can be as long as 5-6feet. That’s a lot of distance for a baby to travel and especially to be cramped.
So we stuck with Aggie most of the night to watch and monitor. Things were going pretty smoothly but after her third baby arrived, she seemed to be tuckered out. It is not uncommon for hogs to deliver a few babies and then decide to take a break and then try again.
The three babies settled in for the night and Aggie appeared to calm so Bubba left in the wee hours of the morning to sleep for a bit and then return first thing.
Unfortunately, despite the best attempts of Bubba, babies and Aggie (mostly Aggie) none of the babies survived and Aggie was unable to successfully deliver the rest of her litter. Not only were we devastated because we were planning on these piglets for our farm growth and profit for the year, but more importantly we were devastated because Aggie worked so hard to give life, risking her own in the process, and it slipped away.
I try not to get overly spiritual in this venue- realizing that many of you may not be comfortable with it and I’m not a big advocate of bible thumping. But in scenarios like this, and especially during Easter week, I have to remind myself that farming requires a faith component that is tested. A lot.
Farmers pray for rain for the crops to grow, or in Oregon- for it to stop so crops won’t drown. We pray for mild winters so the animals won’t be cold or get sick. We pray that the harvest will be abundant and provide for those needing it. And we pray for the sow, that she could give life so that others could sustain theirs.
And even when those prayers are prayed, and even if the crops drown or the winters are cold, or none of the babies survive and the sow is swollen with milk that will not be drank- we still have to be thankful that life is given and taken by someone and something that is greater than us. And that we don’t have to answer the question of why or how, that we simply are called to be faithful to the work- sacrificing ourselves with the understanding that we can only do so much and the rest of the space gets filled in by something greater than we can provide.
Aggie is spending the day in the sunny pasture today giving her body some much needed and deserved rest. Bubba went home after getting her settled this afternoon and is also getting some much needed and deserved rest.
And we will all try again tomorrow. Because that is what we are called to do.