Helpful, understanding, non-judgemental neighbors are hard to come by. We are certainly blessed by the fact that we moved in next door to the Harris'. It seems no matter what kind of crazy, mid-night-animal-chasing routine we're up to it doesn't faze them. In fact, they usually have kind words of advise, or, like we witnessed with the pigs: jump in and help. (I don't know if I blogged about the time Todd had to borrow their animal thermometer to take one of the cow's temperature. Rectally. And Gordy offered to help then too...)
No matter how hard one tries you CANNOT rope a pig around the neck and lead it. They are barrel shaped and it will always slide off their head. Even in our 30's we are still learning...
Despite popular belief pigs do not respond well to "Here piggy, piggy, piggy. Sue-ey. Sue-ey." TV can be so misleading.
It is neither easy nor appropriate to perform aforementioned activities with a 4 month old baby strapped to your back. I should have been the one shaking the grain can.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Herding Pigs 101
So let me rewind a little for you all....
Remember when we got the pigs? I was about 10 months pregnant (at least if felt like I was 10 months pregnant), 2 days away from giving birth, the size of a house, angry at the world, and, after we'd come to the agreement that two pigs would be nice, he comes home with three. Three wonderful, cute, amusing little piglets that grew into hell-raising hogs.
They have all but destroyed the area behind the barn. Destroyed not like "Hey - it'd be nice to have pigs in there to till up that weedy soil." Destroyed more like, "Wow. Those mountains and valleys of mud and pig poo make it look like the Himalays in our back yard." No doubt we'll be spending most of the summer trying painstakingly to rake it flat again.
Anyway, the time has definately come to move those monsters to the lower part of the field: the part furthest from the house and completely wooded - which is helpful in two ways.
1. It will provide them with endless roots to root at and,
2. From the road you can't even tell we have pigs. Or smell them.
Todd decided arbitrarily to single-handedly move the pigs down field. Kinda like the Pig Whisperer - only different. I watched from the kitchen as he carefully shut all gates leading outside the pasture, donned his mud boots, filled his bucket with hog feed and went at 'em. Opening their gate and releasing the electric fence was not enough to coax them out. He shook and shook and shook that bucket of grain and was only able to get one to follow him anywhere. About 15 minutes later (and one very timid pig) they managed the 100 yard bridge from pasture to woods. However, both other pigs were having nothing to do with leaving their pen. I let him chase them around for a little while, then strapped the baby in the backpack and headed out to help. The neigbor, Gordy, obviously realizing we were in WAY over our heads, offered to help too. So, half an hour later we managed to get the pigs out. Todd shook the grain and Gordy and I chased them with pitch forks and brooms countless times around that pen until we managed to corner them and force them from the pen. Fun, huh? Not as fun as the 100 meter dash from the pen to the woods....
The rest of the herding went off without a hitch but it retrospect it left me wondering (and appreciating!) a few things: