Tag Archives: pigs

Pigs in Heaven Part Deux


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.)


Pigs in Heaven


A few weeks ago, I house sat for a friend. My friend – I’ll call her Dahlia to protect her identity – needed time away from the farm. And I was always ready to go to the country. So I packed up my dog and my laptop and headed for her place.

All went well – Dahlia’s dogs and my dog got along famously, and I fed poultry and gathered eggs and took care of the four Tamworth pigs that were fenced in the summer garden area to root and till the soil for next year. They respected the electric fence and happily munched their way through the old stems and stalks, and slept piled into a giant, snorting pile of bristly red bodies. Each one weighed over 200 pounds, and I could almost see them grow fatter each day.

The last night I was there, a rainstorm whipped through the area. I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking about the electric fence. I hoped that nothing was near enough to blow onto it, grounding out the electricity. But, I thought, it was too dark to check. It was what it was.

At first light, I started a pot of coffee, pulled on chore boots and headed for the garden.

No pigs.

I scanned the horizon. No hunchbacked forms climbing the hill behind the pen. No happy grunts coming from the nearby chicken house. The pigs had made a run for it. In an instant, my schedule for the day changed.

Now pigs don’t do anything they don’t want to do. Pig owners know that the only way to coax a pig back into its pen is with really good treats. I ran back to the house to collect the best of the best – apples, bread, whole corn, and peanut butter. I threw everything into a bucket and headed up to the nearest woods line, shaking the bucket and calling, “pig, pig, PIG!” every few steps.

No pigs.

After an hour or so (or less, but when you are searching for missing pigs it always seems like hours) I trekked back down to the scene of the crime. Then, I saw the trail. A line of rooted-up grass right along the house fence, leading straight down to the road.

A pickup stopped in front of me as I trudged to the pavement. “You looking for pigs?” the driver called. “I almost hit one back there.” I waved a thank you and headed in the direction of his pointing finger, and he gave me a smile and drove off.

The pigs were in the neighbors’ yard, digging up flower bulbs from newly mulched beds. The neighbor came out with his dog, and the dog set off barking after the pigs. They promptly chased the now-very-nervous Cocker Spaniel around the yard. “I’m sorry,” I muttered to the neighbor. “It’s okay,” he answered. “I would help, but I’m off to work!” He waved gaily at me and left in a cloud of dust. He was no fool. Whatever he had in store at work was heaven compared to chasing pigs.

I shook my bucket of treats and called out to the pigs, and they briefly stuck their flat snotty noses up into the air and sniffed, determining if my bucket was worth their time. But, they decided there were places to go, people to see. They wandered up and down the fields, sniffing and tasting. A man came out of his house with a big black dog – both annoyed. The dog growled and barked and nipped, and the man held a shovel like a semiphore flag, and both the dog and the man only served to annoy the pigs. I followed behind them like a lost little sister, swinging my bucket. The best I could do was try to keep them out of the flower beds and off the back porch. I slapped them on their round flanks, grabbed their ears and yanked, and clicked and clucked at them. I had called for reinforcements, and I knew my friend Molly (also a pseudonym) would be there as soon as she could. But I also knew, that in this case, two heads were still no match for four pig-heads. It was a waiting game.

Then, the pigs found heaven. For pigs, that is. They wandered down to the edge of the road, and just before stepping onto asphalt, the lead pig stopped and swung her head toward the thin line of trees that marked the edge of Dahlia’s property.

Hickory trees.

Now, for you readers not familiar with porcine likes and dislikes, nuts are high on the list of favorite things. Hickory nuts are especially favored – kind of like Godiva chocolate for the discriminating pig.

My bucket of goodies meant nothing. “Pig, pig, PIG!” I called. The four Tamworths ran as fast as their little hooves could take them to the trees, and just before they got there they lowered their wedge-shaped heads and plowed into the thick blanket of leaves.

The bliss! Eyes closed to tiny slits, smiles on rubbery pink lips, the pigs had found Nirvana. They ate and ate, throwing leaves into the air and gulping mouthfuls of hickory nuts – they had to stop between banquets to catch little pig naps in the soft undergrowth.

All I could do was hold my bucket, and watch,and think about the coffee that was waiting for me back in the kitchen.

To be continued……