Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Pigs on the run!

There are some days that I don't really know what I'm going to post about until it's time to sit down and do it.
Though, most days offer up new experiences to share.

I had a few things in mind throughout the day for tonight's post.
A young man I spoke to gave me the perspective of someone who did grow up farming and would like to carry on running the family farm.
Another choice was bringing up the issue of meat processing and regulation since it's that time of year.
But as I was driving home in the dark this evening, something else caught my attention.
It looked like a calf moose running around on the road very close to home.
As it veered back and forth just out of the headlights, my heart skipped a beat as I realized that it was a big black pig.
Not any old black pig; but our big black pig.

I pulled into the driveway hungry and tired from the day, but dinner would have to wait.
We have a lot of time and money invested in our animals and losing any of them would be a serious loss.
It really isn't the money as much as it is our meat for the Winter.
Most of the time, we're vegetarians since we normally only eat meat from our own backyard.
But we have been longing for a Winter of regular pork and chicken meals.
Whenever we lose a chicken, it is a meal gone from our table.
Losing a whole pig would be a heartbreak.

I told Kira about the pig on the road, and no sooner had I finished talking when I heard the grunting of the big red pig in our yard.
So that's two big pigs out, in the dark, and separate from each other.
I lured big red into the young pig's compound with some food and then made the mistake of feeding her.
Secure for the time being, I went in search of the black pig.

The sound of the food bucket banging against the wood that serves as a pig dinner plate, brought the black pig out of the dark and into her own yard, so I closed the gate.
The escape had been under the electric fence where a depression in the ground offered some wiggle room.
The fence was overdue for a battery and the line was in need of clearing,
and many of the insulators were broken.
Lately, these pigs have been fed after dark and I don't normally have the wherewithal needed for checking everything thoroughly.

So back to the house I went to bring big red back to her own compound.
Unfortunately, I had fed her, and a fed pig is a recalcitrant pig.
Pigs are ruled by their tummies, and once the belly is full,
you're out of cards to play.
The sound of the food bucket brought her close to me, but she was distracted.
She followed me into the woods to her pen but wouldn't pass through the open gate, even though there was food offered.
Instead, she kept on going down the trail and into the darkness of night.
I stood helplessly for a few minutes while I gathered my wits.

The fence still needed a battery and so I headed back to the house to fetch a replacement along with some new insulators and another bucket of bargaining food.
By this point my patience had ebbed away and the next step was to make sure the black pig stayed put while I hunted big red down.
Yes. Hunt with a gun.
I had no intention of allowing her to roam the countryside freely during deer season.
It would make a good story for a lucky hunter, but would leave my family baconless for the coming cold weather.
I would shoot her wherever she was, even though it meant a long night of work.

When I returned with the fresh battery, I found that big red had also returned and was heading back towards our house.
I gave her one more chance to get into her yard, which she did, obviously sensing her imminent demise.
One more bucket of food was laid out for the pair while I worked on repairing the fence line.

Pigs are easily persuaded to obedience by food.
But not always.
Big red was supposed to have been brought to the dinner table last year, but was too nervous going through a gate.
Now I know to expect trouble when it's her turn to ride the gravy train.
When that time comes, plan B will be ready to go; I'll be ready to dispatch her wherever she is.
And after the trouble tonight,
that time needs to come sooner rather than later.

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