Happy tenth birthday to Watson and Holmes – two glorious residents of Spitalfields City Farm in London. Prior to the annual Oxford-Cambridge Goat Race, Spitalfields races these two magnificent pigs.
Although it is no longer March of Pigs, I cannot help but share what I find to be an inspirational story about feral pigs in Canada. Originally imported from Europe in the late 1980s for meat, these noble creatures have truly made the great north their own. They mate with domestic pigs, live off the land and build their own above-ground structures known as “pigloos.” They have a special combination of wild and domesticated traits that have helped them become 600 pound super pigs. Amazing.
So after giving this some thought, I have decided to stick with pigs. Although I pay to keep the webpage with the title “goat of the day” I am just going to keep on rolling out pictures of pigs. Maybe no one will know the difference!
Domesticated pigs evolved from Eurasian wild boars, Sus scofra. About 9,000 years ago, humans selected particular traits from these boars to keep; however, domestication was a long and varied process across the world. Interestingly, pigs – perhaps like many domesticated animals, did not follow a straightforward path from wild animal to farmyard domesticate. Like goats and dogs, there are many breeds of pigs today including heirloom breeds that harken back to previous traits that were favorable for pigs, like my friend here today who I met years ago in Coffee County, Georgia at General Coffee State Park.
Pigs have feelings too! Perhaps after a few weeks of March of Pigs you may have noticed that pigs are actually quite expressive. That’s because they feel a wide range of emotions, just like humans. Pigs can feel joy and happiness as well as suffer from negative emotions like sadness and grief. Pigs are not only emotional creatures, but have been observed to show compassion for others, and feel distress at seeing their animal and human friends suffering. They have distinctive personalities, some are shy and some are gregarious just like us. In addition to having excellent memories, it is very likely that pigs have complex feelings and thoughts, and are even able to understand symbolic languages similar to higher primates and dolphins. Amazing!
A friend of mine sent this photo along. It reminds me that even though things are totally upside down it is important to take care of yourself. Have a shower, enjoy a film, immerse yourself in a good book, call up an old friend, find an online fitness class, whatever you do to make you feel like you and help you get through.
In the UK, although we are in lockdown, we are encouraged to spend about one hour outside for exercise. We can either go alone, or go with other members of our household. In an otherwise difficult situation, I am grateful for the time. Getting outside and breathing the fresh hair is good for your physical and mental health, and it is essential to stay as active as possible. Just make sure to keep six feet from other people and you are good! Get out there and enjoy a little sunshine.
I suppose given the day’s events we can justifiably say, avoid shaking hands with one another for the time being. Although I hate to wish the virus on anyone, it seems somewhat fitting that after defying world health experts that some people ended up with the virus in the end after all. I would recommend taking different actions like elbow bumps; however, maintaining six feet or two metres distance precludes that as well.
So, for the weekend, perhaps plan the ultimate staycation. Please note, it’s ok to snuggle with those who you live with, although avoid touching anyone else and keep washing your hands!
It may seem like a strange thing to say, but during this time of social distancing, isolation and lockdowns make sure to rest. It is easy to think now that you are bound inside that you can get loads of work done, learn new things, and accomplish all sorts of things when the outside world was accessible. All of that is great, and I encourage you to challenge yourself, just so long as you take care of yourself as well. Keep washing your hands and stay safe.
Although you may be stuck inside, we are fortunate enough to live in times when we can still connect with one another. Maybe everyday take a moment to send a message to someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile, just to say hey. Cultivating connections will help us all get through this.