Houidini gets a buddy

By Laura Conner Massengale
Houidini gets a buddy

I am carrying a harvest basket near the “chunnel” I made to protect the chickens from hawks and still give them plenty of room to roam.

Welcome back to the homestead! Our summer has been bursting at the seams with laughter, tears, challenges and harvests.

With expectations of a bountiful harvest this season, I planted a variety of fruits and veggies. I used multiple raised beds as well as containers for individual crops. I tried my hand at many plants I had not grown before, including pimento peppers, purple viking potatoes and a pumpkin plant that had a mind of its own. I worked hard throughout the season to use natural remedies for optimal plant health. I made garlic spray to keep away pests and used eggshells and milk to conquer tomato blight.

The North Carolina weather being what it is, particularly this season, many rainy days stifled much of my garden's productivity. However, the crops that did survive made delicious dinners for my family, and I soaked up the delight of enjoying the fresh taste of food I grew myself.

For my work as an emergency room nurse at the hospital, I transferred to a night shift position several months ago to allow for more time to work on the homestead. My nights are now filled with the roar of a busy emergency room, and my days are filled with the persistent buzz of grunting pigs and bug-chasing chickens. Although sleep is a rare occurrence around here for me most days, the homestead is well cared for and that makes all the hard work worth it.

The warmer season brought us the hope of squeaky little piglets. Lady-Bug, our little female mini pot-bellied pig, spent much of the spring with an ever swelling tummy. As the time drew closer, our excitement grew as large as her round belly. Unfortunately, Lady-Bug's first farrowing experience did not go as planned and ended in the loss not only of her life, but her one surviving piglet as well. Although the experience was a devastating one, it was an unmistakable reminder that nature is not in our control. Farm life isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

We recently decided to add a few more happy faces to our homestead. We adopted a rescue pig from Gaston County as a companion for Houidini, our male pot-bellied pig. Pigs are very social animals, and Houidini was lonely without his little Lady-Bug. It has been fun to watch the boys get to know each other, and I know Houidini is much happier with a buddy.

We also were thrilled with the arrival of Daisy, a micro-mini piglet who flew on a plane to our great state, all the way from Michigan. She is our very special homestead house pig. She lives inside with me, my husband and the pups. It has been quite an adventure with a piglet in the house, but she has brought such laughter and fun. If Daisy is willing, I hope to get her certified as a therapy pig so she can share her piggy snuggles with those in need of some sunshine.

The coming months, we hope, may bring reality to lifelong dreams for my husband and me. We are busy preparing our homestead to be put on the market next spring and searching for the perfect piece of property for our big farm. It is an exciting time for us. There are many pieces that need to fall into place, but I have faith all will work out as it should.

As the summer draws to a close, I look around my bustling homestead and am filled with a deep sense of peace and love for my little slice of the world. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this very thankful redhead.

I hope this season was filled with laughter and love for you and yours.

Until next time...

About the Author

Laura Conner Massengale and her husband, Gabe, are members of Piedmont EMC and live in Orange County. From time to time we will publish her reports on their homesteading adventures. Follow Laura's blog at homesteadredhead.com

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