Now for the rest of the pig tale…
My friend Molly arrived, carrying a bucket of apples and a looped rope. By then, I only had corn left in my bucket, having used the rest of the treats to create a Hansel and Gretel-ish trail during my wanderings with the pigs. We stood together and discussed the problem. Molly said she had called another friend, whose husband Dan was on his way. While we talked, the pigs started to move about in the trees, and Molly decided she would try to lasso one of them and lead them back home. She stepped up to the pig and gently dropped the loop around the pig’s thick neck. Then she pulled.
Remember the little tidbit about pigs not doing anything they don’t want to do? Here’s another one. Pigs don’t like being leashed.
The pig squealed and backed away with Molly in tow. She gamely held on, the pig bucking and hurling its heavy body in every direction, and Molly wrapped the rope around a tree trunk for added leverage. But there was no solution – without the tree, her arms would be ripped away from her body (Ok, maybe not, but it seemed that way). With the tree, she couldn’t lead the pig anywhere. The pig was released and immediately plopped into the leaves, exhausted and upset.
We both went back to watching.
I had the bright idea of bringing my own dog down to meet the pigs, as I had seen how interested they were in the Cocker Spaniel and the big black dog. Maybe, I could get them to follow the dog home. So off I went to collect her.
The pigs were a bit curious. The dog, a sheepdog, sniffed them and realized they weren’t sheep, and looked at me as though I had lost my mind. I took the dog back home so I could go back to watching the pigs.
Dan arrived, with more loops of rope. He spent a few minutes watching the pigs, too. A decision was made – instead of leading the pigs to the fence, why not bring the fence to the pigs? So Molly left to gather up the electric fence. Dan decided to pick up the loose end of the rope still attached to the lead pig. Grunting and squealing ensued, and I truly believe at one point, the pig did fly. But Dan held on – I was impressed. Finally, the pig stopped, tiny eyes closed tight, screw tail stretched out straight, sides heaving. Every so often it opened its bloodshot eyes and looked at Dan. It was most definitely sizing up its competition, and planning its next move.
The other three pigs came running to see what happened. They huddled together and sniffed their roped colleague, grunting condolences.
Dan held the end of the rope, muttered something that sounded like “come on, you piece of…pig,” threw the end of the rope over his shoulder and put his entire weight into his work. He dragged the pig, inch by inch, up the hill. “We’ll tie it to the ATV,” he grunted, yanking and pulling the protesting pig through brambles and up the embankment to the ATV parked at the top. As he pulled, the other pigs followed their comrade, but stopping now and then to taste something along the way.
Dan tied the end of the rope to the ATV and I drove it slowly toward Dahlia’s property, the pig planting its feet and plowing through the dirt, and sometimes trotting alongside. Once well within Dahlia’s property, we decided the fence would do the traveling, and we corralled the pig inside wire before releasing it. It immediately stopped puffing and squealing, and set to work pulling up grass. Dan went after the other ones, now wandering back to the hickory nut banquet table, and after hauling the second pig up, the remaining two decided it would be easier if they just moseyed inside the fence to join the others. A flip of the switch on the charger, and we called it a pig pen.
Now, readers, I am leaving things out – there was a lot more walking, driving, running, swatting of pig rears, discussing pig fates, sweating, cursing, and laughing than I have included in here. But as in all stories, it has to change a bit to fit the page and the readership. And I’m sure the pig’s perspective is completely different than mine. I can tell you, I am thankful for friends who were willing to watch and chase and haul and share in the experience that day. And, should my wish of a self sustaining place of my own come into being…I have decided I can survive quite well without pork.
(All the names have been changed to protect the exhausted and humiliated. Except the pigs – they were actually pigs and will remain so on the record.)