Monday, September 15, 2008

Here piggy piggy

On Saturday I built a pigpen with electric fencing and then went and bought two gilts - unbred weaned piglets. My plan was to use portable electric fencing and a solar fence charger so I could let the pigs rotatill up a patch and then move them around till they cleared out all my trouble areas. Unfortunately my PhD did not include training on pig pen construction.

I got the pigs from the Hoovers - a conservative brethren family that sold pork at the farmers market. They are getting out of the business since Indiana passed a law that requires farmers to register with the state and report number of animals and type to get a premise ID number. This premise ID number is required for sale, slaughter, show, or transport of livestock now. They consider this to be the mark of the beast so they are getting out of the hog business. But that is a different story. Nice family. I was really tempted to take a picture of their 8 kids sitting in the back of my work pick-up in their matching straw hats, handsewn blue shirts and dark pants.

When I got them home I put the first pig in the pen and went back for the second one. In just minutes afterwards the first pig pushed right through the electric fence and ran out past Leila into the tall grass and corn fields. I was carrying the other pig and couldn't chase it. I put the remaining pig in the pen and felt the electric fence. Nothing. So I changed chargers to a plug in one and the went looking for the pig. There are a lot of places for a small pig to hide in a corn field.

Well we had the one and he seemed to be respecting the recharged fence so I went to see if we had some cattleguard fencing to build a more robust pen. On my way back to the house I heard the pig in the corn and started chasing. Then Sam saw it and charged. Sam can move like lightning when he feels like it. I thought the piglet was a goner. I decided that Sam was going too if he ate my piglet.

I chased them both until I was clotheslined by some tievine growing between the corn plants. When I was scrambling like Velma looking for my glasses I heard Sam's frantic barking. He had cornered the piglet on the far side of the field. I ran over there and he backed off. I lunged for the piglet and he escaped again. Sam followed. I was crestfallen. As I walked back to the house I see Sam herding the piglet back into the pen, but he wouldn't go in because the electric worked now. Amazing he actually did the right thing.

The pigs both got out later because the fence shorted when Leila brought them some food, but we got them both back in eventually and went to sleep knowing we had to do something different but hoping it would hold until Monday.

Then the remains of Ike blew through. The wind and rain grounded the fence and when I came to give them a pile of green beans to eat they spooked and took off. This time I am afraid they are gone for good.

I have a lot of pent up swear words right now that could express my feelings.


Becca said...

Ah . . . pigs.

I have to admit that, instead of my own pigsperience helping me be empathetic, it only made me giggle all the more.

And I love the phrase, "Mark of the beast." I'm so glad you included that with your story.

We miss you guys.

Doncha wanna move back to the Gem State?

Erin said...

I loved the "Nice family." line :)

Too bad about that Mark. Sounds like it's the hogs that come from the devil :)

Allison said...

I just love reading your narratives! You should write a book, you are an excellent writer! The pigs sound exhausting. How did the kids do with them?