Minecraft Adventures B2G1 Free
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    The Powell's Playlist | August 11, 2015

    Felicia Day: IMG Felicia Day's Playlist for You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)



    These songs go along with some of the chapters in my book You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). Hope you enjoy! 1. "Sooner or Later" by... Continue »
    1. $18.19 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$6.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton Nature Studies- Mammals
1 Burnside Pets- Pet Tales

The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood

by

The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood Cover

ISBN13: 9780345481375
ISBN10: 0345481372
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 2 left in stock at $6.95!

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Runthood

Christopher Hogwood came home on my lap in a shoe box.

On a rain-drenched April evening, so cold the frogs were silent, so gray we could hardly see our barn, my husband drove our rusting Subaru over mud roads sodden with melted snow. Pig manure caked on our boots. The smell of a sick animal hung heavy in our clothes.

It did not seem an auspicious time to make the life- changing choice of adopting a pig.

That whole spring, in fact, had been terrible. My father, an Army general, a hero I so adored that I had confessed in Sunday school that I loved him more than Jesus, was dying painfully, gruesomely of lung cancer. He had survived the Bataan Death March. He had survived three years of Japanese prison camps. In the last months of my fathers life, my glamorous, slender motherstill as crazy about him as the day theyd met forty years beforeresisted getting a chairlift, a wheelchair, a hospice nurse. She believed he could survive anything. But he could not survive this.

The only child, I had flown back and forth from New Hampshire to Virginia to be with my parents whenever I could. I would return to New Hampshire from these wrenching trips to try to finish my first book, a tribute to my heroines, primatologists Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas. The research had been challenging: I had been charged by an angry silverback gorilla in Zaire, stood up by Jane Goodall in Tanzania, undressed by an orangutan in Borneo, and accosted for money by a gun-toting guard ten thousand feet up the side of a volcano in Rwanda. Now I was on a tight deadline, and the words wouldnt come.

My husband, who writes on American history and preservation, was in the heat of writing his second book. In the Memory House is about time and change in New England, set largely in our corner of the world. But it looked like it might not stay ours for long. For the past three years, ever since our marriage, we had lived, first as renters and then as caretakers, in an idyllic, 110-year-old white clapboard farmhouse on eight acres in southern New Hampshire, near mountains that Thoreau had climbed. Ours was the newest house in our small neighborhood. Though our neighbors owned the two- hundred-year-old “antiques” that real estate agents praised, this place had everything Id ever wanted: a fenced pasture, a wooded brook, a three-level barn, and forty-year-old lilacs framing the front door. But it was about to be sold out from under us. Our landlords, writer-artist friends our age whose parents had bankrolled the house, had moved to Paris and didnt plan to come back. We were desperate to buy the place. But because we were both freelance writers, our income was deemed too erratic to merit the mortgage.

It seemed I was about to lose my father, my book, and my home.

But for Christopher Hogwood, the spring had been more terrible yet.

He had been born in mid-February, on a farm owned by George and Mary Iselin, about a thirty-five-minute drive from our house. We knew George and Mary by way of my best friend, Gretchen Vogel. Gretchen knew we had a lot in common. “Youll love them,” Gretchen had assured me. “They have pigs!”

In fact, George had been raising pigs longer than Mary had known him. “If youre a farmer or a hippie,” George had reasoned, “you can make money raising pigs.” George and Mary were quintessential hippie farmers: born, as we were, in the 1950s, they lived the ideals of the late 60s and early 70speace, joy, and loveand, both blessed with radiant blue eyes, blond hair, and good looks, always looked like they had just woken up refreshed from sleeping in a pile of leaves somewhere, perhaps with elves in attendance. They were dedicated back-to-the-landers who lived out of their garden and made their own mayonnaise out of eggs from their free-range hens. They were idealistic, but resourceful, too: it did not escape them that there are vast quantities of free pig food out there, from bakeries, school cafeterias, grocery stores, and factory outlets. George and Mary would get a call to come pick up forty pounds of potato chips or a truckload of Twinkies. To their dismay, they discovered their kids, raised on homemade, organic meals, would sometimes sneak down to the barn at 4 a.m. and eat the junk food they got for the pigs. (“We found out because in the morning wed find these chocolate rings around their mouths,” Mary told me.)

On their shaggy, overgrown 165 acres, they cut their own firewood, hayed the fields, and raised not only pigs butdraft horses, rabbits, ducks, chickens, goats, sheep, and children. But the pigs, I suspect, were Georges favorites. And they were mine, too.

We visited them every spring. We didnt get to see George and Mary oftenour schedules and lives were so differentbut the baby pigs ensured we never lost touch. The last time wed visited was the previous March, at the close of sugaring season, when George was out boiling sap from their sugar maples. March in New Hampshire is the dawn of mud season, and the place looked particularly disheveled. Rusting farm machinery sat stalled, in various states of repair and disrepair, among the mud and wire fencing and melting snow. Colorful, fraying laundry was strung across the front porch like Tibetan prayer flags. Inside the house, an old cottage in desperate need of paint, the floors were coming up and the ceilings were coming down. Late that morning, in a kitchen steamy from the kettle boiling on the woodstove, we found a seemingly uncountable number of small children in flannel pajamastheir three kids plus a number of cousins and visiting friendssprawled across plates of unfinished pancakes or crawling stickily across the floor. The sink was piled with dirty dishes. As Mary reached for a mug from the pile, she mentioned everyone was just getting over the flu. Would we like a cup of tea?

No thanks, Howard and I answered hastilybut we would like to see the pigs again.

The barn was not Norman Rockwell. It was more like Norman Rockwell meets Edward Hopper. The siding was ancient, the sills rotting, the interior cavernous and furry with cobwebs. We loved it. We would peer over the tall stall doors, our eyes adjusting to the gloom, and find the stalls with piglets in residence. Once we had located a family, we would climb in and play with them.

On some farms, this would be a dangerous proposition. Sows can weigh over five hundred pounds and can snap if they feel their piglets are threatened. The massive jaws can effortlessly crush a peach pitor a kneecap. The razor-sharp canines strop each other. And for good reason: In the wild, pigs need to be strong and brave. In his hunting days in Brazil, President Theodore Roosevelt once saw a jaguar dismembered by South American native pigs. Although pigs are generally good-natured, more people are killed each year by pigs than by sharks. (Which should be no surprisehow often do you get to see a shark?) Pigs raised on crowded factory farms, tortured into insanity, have been known to eat anything that falls into the pigpen, including the occasional child whose parents are foolish enough to let their kid wander into such a place unsupervised. Feral pigs (of which there are more than four million running around in the United States alone) can kill adult humans if they are threatened. That pigs occasionally eat people has always struck me as only fair, considering the far vaster number of pigs eaten by humans.

But Georges sows were all sweethearts. When we entered a stall, the sow, lying on her side to facilitate nursing, would usually raise her giant, 150-pound head, cast us a benign glance from one intelligent, lash-fringed eye, flex her wondrous and wet nose disk to capture our scent, and utter a grunt of greeting. The piglets were adorable miniatures of their behemoth parentssome pink, some black, some red, some spotted, and some with handsome racing stripes, like baby wild boars, looking like very large chipmunks. At first the piglets seemed unsure whether they should try to eat us or run away. They would rush at us in a herd, squealing, then race back on tiny, high-heeled hooves to their giant, supine mother for another tug on her milky teats. And then they would charge forth again, growing bold enough to chew on shoes or untie laces. Many of the folks who bought a pig from George would later make a point of telling him what a great pig it was. Even though the babies were almost all destined for the freezer, the folks who bought them seldom mentioned what these pigs tasted like as hams or chops or sausage. No, the people would always comment that Georges were particularly nice pigs.

The year Chris was born was a record one for piglets. Because we were beset and frantic, we didnt visit the barn that February or March. But that year, unknown to us, George and Mary had twenty sowsmore than ever beforeand almost all of them had record litters.

“Usually a sow doesnt want to raise more than ten piglets,” Mary explained to me. “Usually a sow has ten good working teats.” (They actually have twelve, but only ten are usually in working order.) When a sow has more than ten piglets, somebody is going to lose outand that somebody is the runt.

A runt is distinguished not only by its small size and helpless predicament. Unless pulled from the litter and nursed by people, a runt is usually doomed, for it is a threat to the entire pig family. “A runt will make this awful soundNynh! Nynh! Nynh!” Mary told me. “Its just awful. It would attract predators. So the sows response is often to bite the runt in half, to stop the noise. But sometimes she cant tell whos doing it. She might bite a healthy one, or trample some of the others trying to get to the runt. It isnt her fault, and you cant blame her. It screws up the whole litter.”

Every year on the farm, there was a runt or two. George would usually remove the little fellow and bottle-feed it goat milk in the house. With such personalized care, the runt will usually survive. But the class of 1990, with more than two hundred piglets, had no fewer than eighteen runtsso many that George and Mary had to establish a “runt stall” in the barn.

Christopher Hogwood was a runt among runts. He was the smallest of them allhalf the size of the other runts. He is a particularly endearing piglet, Mary told us, with enormous ears and black and white spots, and a black patch over one eye like Spuds McKenzie, the bull terrier in the beer commercial. But Mary was convinced he would never survive. It would be more humane to kill him, she urged, than to let him suffer. But George saidas he often does“Where theres life, theres hope.” The little piglet hung on.

But he didnt grow.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Jeane, February 10, 2008 (view all comments by Jeane)
Christopher Hogwood was the smallest of the runts. But he was so endearingly cute and plucky that his owners couldn't bring themselves to kill him. So Sy Montgomery and her husband Howard adopted the little pink-and-black pig and took him home. Unlike most pigs who are raised for slaughter, Christopher Hogwood was granted life just for the sake of living. Montgomery did everything she could to keep him healthy and happy. A lifelong naturalist with a deep love and connection to animals, she found herself enjoying his company and tending to his every need and sensitivity. The pig returned the favor. In ways simple and surprising, he brought neighbors, local children and people from the community at large into her circle of friends. If you want to know anything about pigs, or how they can be so appealing, this is a great book. It is full of lore about pigs in art, hogs in history, wild swine in nature. Pigs and their place in different cultures around the world. Montgomery explores possibilities about why pork is forbidden to Jews and Muslims, yet other cultures seem to venerate the pig. Examples of their intelligence are abundant. As well as pigs, a flock of hens with lots of spunk and good sense and a troubled border collie named Tess live between these pages. Together they and Christopher Hogwood make Sy Montgomery's home a little bit of animal heaven on earth.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
mary.hannah, January 22, 2008 (view all comments by mary.hannah)
I heard an interview today with Sy, the owner of the pig and she loved her pig so much she started crying about missing him. I was at work and she got me crying too!!!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
rlminnis, February 5, 2007 (view all comments by rlminnis)
This book is a wonderful, heart warming and tearful story about a farm pig and his human parents. The book made me laugh and made me cry! I loved it. Sy has done a terrific job in relaying her feelings for an animal many people do not think of as a pet. Pigs are intelligent, sensitive, loyal and very funny. This book makes you fall in love with Christopher, much like this little community did. Thank you Sy for sharing Christopher's life and entertaining us all with your story.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345481375
Subtitle:
The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood
Author:
Montgomery, Sy
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Human-animal relationships
Subject:
Pet owners
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Copyright:
Publication Date:
May 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8-PAGE 4C INSERT
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.50x5.80x.91 in. .82 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. A Dog Year Used Trade Paper $3.50
  2. The Dogs of Bedlam Farm: An...
    Used Hardcover $5.95
  3. Legacy of the Dog Revised & Updated... Used Trade Paper $9.95
  4. That Quail, Robert
    Used Mass Market $1.95
  5. Original Dog Bible Used Trade Paper $8.95
  6. My Cat Spit McGee Used Trade Paper $2.50

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Pets » Pet Tales
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Mammals » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Natural History » General

The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345481375 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Montgomery's books on exotic wildlife (Journey of the Pink Dolphins, etc.) take her to the far corners of the world, but the story of her closest relationships with the animal kingdom plays out in her own New England backyard. When she adopts a sickly runt from a litter of pigs, naming him Christopher Hogwood after the symphony conductor, raising him for slaughter isn't an option: Montgomery's a vegetarian and her husband is Jewish. Refitting their barn to accommodate a (mostly) secure sty, they keep Christopher as a pet. As he swells to 750 pounds, he becomes a local celebrity, getting loose frequently enough that the local police officer knows to carry spare apples to lure him back home. The pig also bonds with Montgomery's neighbors, especially two children who come over to help feed him and rub his tummy. Montgomery's love for Christopher (and later for Tess, an adopted border collie) dominates the memoir's emotional space, but she's also demonstrably grateful for the friendships the pig sparks within her community. The humor with which she recounts Christopher's meticulous eating habits and love of digging up turf is sure to charm readers. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "If you're comfortably carnivorous and want to remain so, don't pick up this book. Otherwise, I'd advise you to hasten to add it to your summer reading list. It's the lovely true tale of the enormous, amiable porcine personality who lived with (and delighted) naturalist and author Sy Montgomery and her husband (the writer Howard Mansfield) for 14 years." (read the entire CSM review)
"Review" by , "This is a book not so much about a barnyard animal as about relationships, in all their messy, joyous, and heartbreaking complexity."
"Review" by , "I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Sy Montgomery's story of Christopher the pig. What I found was a charming, touching, funny, and ultimately very powerful tale of an extraordinary, even complicated pig and his impact on some very loving, perceptive, and extraordinary people. This story is heartwarming but packs a wallop."
"Review" by , "I love this book! It takes us into the world of one pig with such delicacy, such gentleness and yet such depth, that you will never be able to look a pig in the eye again without recognizing the unique person living within. You become somebody who sees why Sy Montgomery loved a pig beyond all measure."
"Review" by , "Move over, Wilbur, there's a new pig on the block. Sy Montgomery has conjured a pure classic for the animal lover's soul. Poetic, insightful, funny, and deeply moving, The Good Good Pig is as hard to define as it is to put down. Who else but Sy Montgomery could introduce you to a hog and give you a such glimpse of heaven?"
"Review" by , "Montgomery's descriptions of Christopher's amazing adventures and celebrity status are hilarious, enchanting, and deeply affecting....Montgomery writes with extraordinary lucidity, candor, and grace..."
"Review" by , "While death haunts this book from start to finish, Montgomery learns a good deal from Hogwood about celebrating the evanescent pleasures of living. May well spark a stampede in porcine acquisitions, not as consumables, but as companions."
"Review" by , "All this is great fun to read, but when Montgomery talks about the 'deep' life lessons she and her friends learned from Christopher...the book treads dangerously close to becoming sentimental hogwash, a porcine Tuesdays with Morrie or Marley & Me."
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

       
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.