There are still plenty of lessons to be learned at Seven Trees. This week’s homework from the school of life is : never buy a pig in a poke.
That saying is used, with slight variations, in many countries. In medieval hard times, pigs were scarce and cats were common, so unscrupulous people would put a cat in a leather or burlap sack, called a poke, and sell it as a weaner pig. No doubt with instructions not to open it until the hapless buyer was at home. Which is also where the expression “the cat is out of the bag” came from.
Now it has come to be a caution against buying something that you can’t thoroughly inspect before purchase. And while we felt we had ‘inspected’ Link, we were still too inexperienced to make the best judgement call following that inspection.
Link has something called ‘malabsorption’ which can be congenital, and can be aggravated by a harsh weaning process. The lining of the small intestine doesn’t switch from mothers’ milk to pig chow smoothly, but a conscientious breeder will take steps to mitigate any problems. And sometimes a pig is just born unable to make the change. Pigs are very similar to humans, physiologically, and like more & more people have gluten intolerance and other digestive issues, pigs do too.
In any case, Link isn’t doing well, and we’ll most likely end up putting him down so he doesn’t suffer any more. He’s been to the vet, and is getting the best care we can give him, but he still isn’t digesting food. His brother, Patty, on the other hand is a robust little monster, and doesn’t seem to miss Link much.
We’re also getting ready for our trek to the Small Farm Journal auction in Madras, OR next week. On our way south, we’ll be stopping in Thorp to interview a pony mare that is the closest match to Gemini we’ve seen yet. If we like her, we’ll put down a deposit and pick her up later in April. We’re hoping to score some nice team harness, not to mention a cart/wagon/carriage that two spiffy black ponies can pull with pride.