Thyme For Ewe Farm is
home to two Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs. The more spotted pig
on the left is Kelmscott Muriel Penny. On the left is Kelmscott
Josephine Matilda. Penny is an eight year old sow and Matty is a
seven year old sow. They've lived here on the farm for six
years. Matty, also known as Tilly, is supported by the Peter Wingfield Fan Club
call her Tilly but to keep our critters straight we call her Matty
because we had another Tilly on the farm.
Notice Matty's tail sticking out? The picture caught her in
mid-wag. She wags her tail when she's happy. She's just
finished breakfast and is heading for her morning nap.
When Matty was in need of a new home I (Robin) tried hard to ignore the
email that circulated on homestead and farm email lists for
weeks. We didn't have a barn or even a fenced in area where we
could keep a pig. Gloucestershire Old Spots are a critically rare
breed of pig. Unfortunately she didn't fit into a breeding
program and needed to be moved to make room for a more useful
sow. If she didn't have a new home to move to her future was
short. I kept myself quiet for two weeks. I read the emails
from very upset people who wanted this pig saved. A fan club had
adopted her through an ad in The New Yorker. Some of the members
had driven to Maine to see this pig in person. This really wasn't
just any pig. This was Tilly and these folks loved her.
They used to send her fruit baskets on her birthday and for
Christmas. I knew Steve would be furious with me if I volunteered
to take this pig but I was weakening. Finally, a few days
before Tilly was to be made into bacon I did it. "Tell these
people I'll take her." I'd mentioned her to Steve a few times
hoping he'd say taking her was ok. He wouldn't be completely
shocked to find out we now owned a 250 lb pig.
When Steve got home from work that night I had to sheepishly tell him
that I'd said I'd take the pig. All he said was, "I'm surprised
it took you two weeks." When we arrived at the farm to get Matty
we learned of three other pigs needing homes. We volunteered to
bring them home and place them. Matty was a lot bigger than the
we expected. She rode home in the back of the pickup (inside the
cap). There was no way we could add three more pigs to the back
of the truck so we made
arrangements to come back with a livestock trailer the following
weekend. Two pigs were placed elsewhere and Penny lives here with
The pigs have been a delight. They're like having 600 pound
quiet, lazy dogs. They love to be scratched. They're very
calm other than an occasional snarling match over the food dish.
We've had them out of their pen for days at a time and not worried
about them wandering off. If we put down a bed of straw for them
they'll wander a little then return to the straw to sleep. The
spend far more time sleeping than anything. Passersby will stop
to watch them when they're out. They really are awesome pigs.