On Christmas eve monring, we let the 13 weaned piglets out of the lean-to portion of our new barn because their mother was finally dried up. One of our awesome weekly farm visitors, named Eric (who comes over and works 6-8 hours a day helping us build the barn other tasks,) has nick-named these 13 speedy piglets that run all around our farm, the “Pig Posse.” When we let them out and finally chased them in to the pasture with the other pigs, I went and started working on our minivan that had been parked for 4 weeks since it started leaking out all the oil every time we would add 5 quarts. I had just gotten the van jacked up on blocks and crawled under the van to inspect where the oil was coming out of when a green van from South Dakota pulls up and a gentleman gets out and says “you’ve got a whole bunch of pigs tearing up my Mother-in-law’s yard and rooting up trees, flowers, and pushing dirt all around the propane tank.” He continued to explain that he’s not mad or thinking we are incompetent farmers, but just being a good neighbor, cause that’s what neighbors are supposed to do, is let other’s know if something is wrong…it’s not like we expect you to know everything all the time. Sometimes as neighbors we just need to help each other out by letting each other know about problems or issues we see.” I told him thank you, and that he was being a great neighbor (even though he was visiting my real neighbor for the holidays) for seeing that something was wrong and bringing it to my attention instead of ignoring it and talking badly about us. I ran inside and gathered my army of pig chasers and we rounded up the hogs. We have an electric fence that keeps the hogs inside the pasture, and the way the electric fence chargers work is they send out one electric charge every second. These weaned piglets are still so small and fast that they can lift up the fence line with their noses and jolt under the electric fence as it skids across their backs in between charge pulses and “escape” to the other side before the fence deters them. We rounded up the piglets and fixed the electric fence line to work better against these little guys, and then took my kids over to the neighbors house with rakes, tools, and a “peace offering” bag of a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, some beef, and pork (not from these little piglet guys, although it was tempting We thanked them for being great neighbors and notifying us of an issue and wished them a merry Christmas. We then spent some time mending their yard and flower beds and straightening out the rooted up grass. When all was said and done, I found myself reflecting on part of my conversation with this gentlemen. He had said that he doesn’t expect us to know everything about what is going on on our property all the time, and so I just want to give a shout out of appreciation to all our neighbors that put up with our “non-conventional” methods of farming. Several of my neighbors have complained to each other about the way we farm and are bothered by the fact that we don’t farm the same way as today’s modern farmers do by confining our animals and following conventional dairy practices. None of these neighbors share their thoughts directly with us, but I sure appreciated this great neighbor sharing what he saw, and realized that I wasn’t aware of the situation and was willing to speak up about it. In summary, Merry Christmas, and may we all reach out to our neighbors and help our neighbors out by getting to know them and seek for better understanding of each other’s circumstances and experiences and help each other out where we can instead of talking negatively about our neighbors to each other. May you each have a great and happy New Year!