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My boyfriend, Ian, was the first to inform me that pigs are much smarter and cleaner than most people believe. They are not rolling around in mud puddles out of dirty pleasure, but rather to cool down. Pigs are unable to sweat! (Poor things!) According to a PBS special entitled The Joy of Pigs, pigs are smarter than any other domestic animal and are naturally lean until humans overfeed them. Shouldn’t we ban phrases like “you’re such a pig” then, and replace “pig” with “human” in all appropriate contexts, especially in the midst of an obesity epidemic? They even choose to excrete far from their living and eating areas, if at all possible.

Pig soap seems particularly pertinent then! I made these for Ian’s birthday a few weeks ago, since he likes DIY/handmade gifts that are also functional and he happens to be, well, obsessed with animals. I used pig cookie cutters, which I placed in a regular rectangular soap mold. It came out rather easily, so I was able to use the leftover outside glycerin as well; I filled it in with a different shade of pink. It’s a little smudgy and imperfect, but it was my first one:

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We fell in love with a little place called The Farm Sanctuary, i.e., Ian wants to live and work there. The Farm Sanctuary is a refuge for animals, rescued under different circumstances, where they can live out their lives without being used by humans for meat, milk, eggs, etc. Thus, it is a vegan farm. Visitors can stay in cabins, accompany some of the farm workers on tours, eat a vegan breakfast, and hang out with sheep, ducks, pigs, etc. One can even get married there, in the barn or just on the farm, and only vegan dishes and cake are allowed!

This year, I planned a surprise birthday party for Ian (and friends) at a bar called the 4th Avenue Pub, a few days earlier than his actual birthday. He was quite surprised! I had decided that on his real birthday, “farms” and “animals” would be the theme. So, I surprised him with a trip to the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, and to an all-vegetarian restaurant called Red Bamboo. My original idea was to take him to a nearby restaurant called Flatbush Farm, and the bar attached aptly named Bar(n), but the food is meat-heavy, expensive, and too fancy.

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One of the other presents I made and gave to him was this bath scrubbie or puff. (What are you supposed to call them???) I don’t think he had used one until we moved in together a few years ago, but I’ve been buying them for him because a) he liked mine and b) he realized the soap lasts longer if you use them. It was one of those crochet patterns that only has a few rounds total, but you have to repeat some steps 48, or 300 times, so it ended up taking longer than I had expected. It is made of two strands of cotton yarn, one of which is slightly rougher than the other. I saw someone on Etsy selling these for $3.75; when you factor in the cost of yarn alone, they are actually losing money, so I am probably not going to try to sell these at all, since I don’t want to compete in a net-loss market!

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