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We could not let National Pig Day go by without writing about our favorite pig, Charlotte!

Charlotte has quite the story of arriving at our farm. My dad actually found her running down the road near their house. My girls instantly snatched her up and took her in as one of their own.

For the longest time Charlotte thought she was a dog, as she had free range of our yard and followed the dogs and kids around. She pretty much went wherever Ellie went. She even went on our nightly walks with us!

At the time our yard was dug up because we were prepping for a patio. People would drive in and look at us like we were crazy because we had a pig wandering around. Charlotte even got to meet people from all over the world when we took her to see Ragbrai on the corner near our home!

As she got bigger and our patio got finished we quickly began to realize that she was no longer going to be able to have free range of the farm. She was quite the "cultivator." ūüôā So... we made her a nice pen outside where she could play in the mud and get under shelter so she was out of the elements.

Fast forward to Charlotte getting a little older and we found "Walter" and Charlotte and Walter got married (according to Ellie.) When she had her first litter of piglets she was pretty grumpy (can you blame her) she had never been through labor and had no idea why she was hurting. It was a little hard for the girls to understand because typically you pat her back and she flops over and lays so you can scratch her belly. First time mom stuff-she didn't want anyone near her or her babies. I am pretty sure she probably would have put signs on her pen that asked everyone that entered to wash their hands to prevent spreading illness to her babies or if she were like me when I was a first time mom keep the kid covered up in the grocery store and pretend like shes sleeping so no one tries to touch the baby. Yep, she was pretty crazy with that first litter.

She was much calmer with her second litter of piglets and wasn't nearly as grumpy. You know like the second child thing; first one you are unsure of how things will go, you don't really want anyone in the room to see what's going on, by the second you are like sure those 7 student doctors can come in and check things out as long as they bring ice chips and smile. That was pretty much Charlotte on this second go round.

Now that her piglets have been weaned she is back living with her roommate, Walter. So... in about 4 months we should have piglets again. Actually, the gestation period for a pig is 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days. Now you can't say you have never learned anything from my blog. ūüėČ I am sure by this round of piglets, Charlotte will be ok with us being around and I am positive she won't have many pictures or even have a little piggy book for this third litter, and she would probably be glad for us to take all of them for a sleep over so she could get a full nights sleep, you know the third child thing.

Do you have any fun pig stories? Are you celebrating National Pig Day? Ever found an animal and took it in to give it a home?

Happy National Pig Day from the Gravel Road-



It's Wednesday! Please welcome my guest and fellow North Iowa Blogger, Val from Corns, Beans, Pigs and Kids.

What Inspires Me Wednesday - My Community

Community.  Community can mean a few things.  It can be tied to location or tied to common interests.  I'm lucky and get inspired by both realms of my community.  

Latimer, Iowa I married into the Latimer, Iowa community over 11 years ago and even as a young woman dating a local before that, I found the community very welcoming.  You don't find that warm hospitality everywhere you live or visit and it's been something I've appreciated and aspire to share with everyone I meet.

I love that even though we are a small community (town of 475), we have big ideas and don't let being small in size stop us from making our community to best place to live no matter your age, race or gender.  Five years ago, as a young Mom, I saw a need for a library in town.  I went to the city council and asked if I could put up a Little Free Library in downtown on city property.  They unanimously said yes, despite never hearing of such a thing before I brought the idea to them.  They believed in me and they believed in the goals of the Little Free Library, and I'm proud to say Latimer, Iowa was one of the first communities in North Iowa and really, even in Iowa, to put up a Little Free Library.  The community has rallied around this project and continues to use it all year long and donates books to me to keep in stocked.

Another project that our community rallied around was building a Splash Pad in one of our town's parks.  A Splash Pad is no small project, in fact ours cost over $92,000.  But in about 9 months (from the fall of 2017 to the start of the summer of 2018), our community fundraised, built and opened the Splash Pad!  How amazing is that!  The Splash Pad allows our community members to cool off and have fun in somewhere that is local and free.  My family became regular splashers this summer and we look forward to spending time at this local amenity again this summer.

Women in Agriculture 

Another community that inspires me is the world of women in agriculture.  Growing up on a farm where my Mom was incharge of the pig nursery (baby pig barn), drove tractor and was apart of daily operations, I always saw that this life was possible, but yet the world still didn't see her as a farmer.

After I graduated college, I started meeting other women in agriculture that inspired me to not let my gender slow me down in a male dominated field and change the minds and impressions of society.  I met these women in person at conferences such as Iowa Farm Bureau's F.A.R.M. team, Commodity Classic and different commodity group meetings.  As part of the ASA Dupont Young Leader program I was inspired to start my blog, Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids over seven years ago.  Since starting my blog, the opportunities to meet even more women in agriculture from across the country and world, both in real life and online has increased.  I have gotten involved with groups like CommonGround, a local Women's Grain Marketing Club and Outstanding Farmers of America.  I am proud to be a farmer and want other women who are driving a tractor, taking care of livestock, marketing their crops and organizing their farm's financials to feel like they too are farmers.

What about your community inspires you?  How are you inspiring your community?

You can follow Val on:



Twitter: @PlaggeVal



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