Chances are the first animal you’ll meet if you go to Blue Tin Farm on Cross Point Road in Edgecomb is a 1-year-old Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named Rosie. She weighs 450 pounds, and she’s a house pet — a pampered, spoiled house pet.
The prima donna at the farm, Rosie was a spoiled little piglet, too. She was raised on goat’s milk — in the house.
Crystal and Seth Lewis are the caretakers of the farm, and the “parents” of Rosie. Crystal's parents, Penny and Russell Theall, who own the property and the house, are Rosie's “grandparents.” Crystal said her mother loves Rosie as much as she does. “She’d race around the house with my mom, who’d babysit her all day.” Crystal said. “I stopped babying her when she got to be around 40 pounds and was too big for me to carry up and down the stairs.”
Crystal said Rosie has now transitioned to an outside pig, sort of. “We tried to make her a pig again, but because we raised her, and she’s not really a pig, she’s never socialized well in a group of pigs. The bullies pick on her and her feelings get hurt.”
According to thepigsite.com, the rare English Gloucestershire Old Spot breed, an endangered species, is “ideally suited to an outdoor system — provided they have a warm and comfortable hut they will thrive outside all the year around.”
Rosie’s peers at the farm are all thriving in their warm and comfortable pig hut when not wallowing in the mud, but Rosie is, of course, a special pig. Though she doesn’t live in the house anymore, she did have the honor of being the only pig on the porch this past winter. It was enclosed with a tarp, and outfitted with a big hay bed.
But on April 14, Rosie was feeling a little out of sorts. Crystal's parents had decided that now that spring had officially arrived, the porch would be swept, cleaned up, and used for humans. Rosie, banned from her little haven, found solace in a pile of hay in a small barn, where she sulked for a few hours, but came out in time for dinner. She always knows when it’s dinnertime.
Rosie got sick last summer, and the Lewises were afraid they were going to lose her. A holistic veterinarian was consulted, and her instructions were followed implicitly. “Now we have a 450-pound pig who is our pet, because we decided if Rosie made it, then she deserved her spot on the farm.”
When her parents bought the property five years ago, Crystal and Seth knew the land around the house was the perfect place for their growing family of farm animals. “It was a no-brainer. My mother has always loved animals, and has always wanted to have some, and this is the best way – she doesn’t have to do anything, but she can look out her windows and watch them.”
Seth went to work and entirely renovated the 1770s house, and the couple and all their “pets” moved from Barters Island to the property in November 2016.
Crystal, a certified veterinary technician, said she never wanted pigs after a stint at Tuft’s University when she had to draw blood from one. “It was the worst experience ever. I said I would never deal with pigs. Now here I am with a yard full of them. And they’re hysterical.”
One of the pigs has just had a litter of piglets. Rosie and the piglets command a lot of attention at the farm, but they're not the only stars of the show. There are chickens and rabbits, too.
And then there are the goats. There are 12 baby goats hopping around in a pen a few yards away.
Anyone who has anything to do with Facebook these days is familiar with the sight of bouncing baby goats. They’ve become a favorite theme for videos — for obvious reasons. The videos are delightful, but nothing in comparison to seeing them in real life.
They really do bounce — literally.
In 2008, Seth gave Crystal two Nigerian dwarf dairy goats, Buttercup and Snapdragon, for her birthday. Now there are 40 of the West African miniature breed — not counting the 12 babies — at the farm. Five of the mama goats have given birth, and around 10 more are pregnant. The next ones are due on May 18.
Crystal said she felt a need to raise her animals in their natural environment. “My whole life has been involved with animal rights people who take care of animals, and at the end of the day I feel better that every one of these animals get to wallow in the mud, dig up rocks with their noses, and eat acorns.”
The animals are okay with Crystal not getting up at the break of dawn. “I often don’t get up till 6:30, and nobody stresses out that I’m not up at 3 a.m. But the minute I step out the door, and they can see me, it gets crazy. Then it gets really loud.”
As much fun as it is to visit the animals at Blue Tin Farm, it is, after all, a business. Goats are milked for cheese, lotions and soaps, and some of the pigs (not Rosie, of course), are raised for meat. They’re a heritage breed, raised purely organically.
Crystal will be selling her Blue Tin Farm products at the Boothbay Farmer’s Market this summer.
Call 207-522-5149 if you'd like to schedule a visit to the farm, the goats, and Rosie. Weekends are preferred.
And for anyone driving down Cross Point Road, please be cautious. Rosie, sometimes a bad pig, has been known to sneak out and wander down the road.