Cane Creek Farm's happy pigs and chickens and sheep and ...

At Cane Creek Farm, Eliza MacLean raises heritage hogs, chickens, donkeys, sheep, cats and gunieas on her diverse farm. Each animal plays a particular role in the health of the farm’s soil and Eliza moves the hogs around the farm on a rotating basis. She and Ross are close friends, collaborating on the mobile butcher shop that they take to market each week and relying on each other for support and success.

While we were shooting, we wandered into a field on the edge of a patch of forest and happened upon a sow giving birth. She had clipped a bunch of long grass and had buried herself beneath the mound of vegetation for shade, but was still clearly very hot and breathing rapidly. A couple of tiny piglets that had just been born were already up and nursing, their tiny legs wobbly as they tired them out for the first time.

It was a typical hot, humid summer day and Eliza wanted to help cool the mama sow down a bit while she was in labor, so she ran back to her house, which was on the other side of the field, and grabbed a beach umbrella. She staked that umbrella in the ground close to the sow and we quietly watched for a few more minutes before deciding to give her some privacy as she continued with labor. I’ve been on many, many hog farms over the years, but I’ve never seen a sow in labor and more than that, I’ve never seen a farmer so dedicated to the well being and comfort of her animals as Eliza. I could tell that she saw her animals as not just part of her farm, but as part of her family.