hogs (5 of 8) black and white pig

Emancipated Pig

Isn’t it nice when you discover talents that you had no idea existed? Apparently, I have a knack for coercing 200 pound hogs to do my will! You could call me a “pig whisperer” (but don’t). I discovered this aptitude when our not so little escape artist broke free from her pen…. again.

This happens to have been the fourth time that she has managed to find her way out. The first, she somehow managed to jump over the hog panels, tearing a huge piece of flesh on her groin and proving that pigs do fly. The second time was during an eventful transfer to a new location. The third and fourth (and hopefully final!!!) time, she somehow managed to break through at the corners of the pen.When she escaped the first three times, we were able to herd her Inside The White Picket Fence where she could be safe until we formulated a strategy for getting her back into her pen. For the first escape we used fence panels, one on each side of her, to guide her back. The second time, the panels weren’t producing the desired action from her so Bill lassoed her and walked her back on a “leash”
she dragged him back while nearly strangling herself. (I’m not exaggerating. Her eyes were bright red and literally bulging, her tongue was lolling out. By the time he made it back there, she was nearly out of energy. I was convinced for a moment that she wouldn’t get there in time.) It was decided then and there that if she couldn’t be managed during another escape, she’d have to be shot and we would muddle through the butchering somehow.The third escape happened one evening while we were working in the garden. Bill went for the gun and I went to open the gate of the fence. She was in no hurry to return to her pen and was wandering off our property through the woods. Bill and Jared had to work very hard to herd her back. Thankfully, we were able to eventually get her back in with the fence panels again. After breathing a sigh of relief, we noticed that she had been out for quite some time and had done extensive damage to the ground near her pen. (I am amazed by the tool that God has put in the nose of a pig and their instinct to use it. If you’ve never seen a pig at work on a uncleared land, you can not possibly understand how quickly they can destroy it. I’ve stood in awe as she has actually taken the hardest of ground and effortlessly rolled it back like sod. Next year, if we do this again, I’d like to put the piglets in the garden for a week before we plant and let them do all of the work for us :D) Jared expressed it best when he said that it was by God’s Providence that she decided to come towards us in the garden. She could have just quietly worked the ground in the opposite direction away from us and we wouldn’t have known she was gone until morning.This last event, the one in which I discovered my new aforesaid talent, transpired this weekend. From beginning to end, it was over very quickly, but it seemed like an eternity to me and since I’m telling the story, you have to read it in slow motion – just as it happened to me.Jared and Hannah had been outside, enjoying one of the few pleasant days we had this week. I was inside talking to Bill, glued to his hip as I often am when he returns from out of town, when we suddenly found ourselves trying to comprehend what Hannah was screeching as she tore into the house. When we understood the situation, that the hog was loose and that she was headed for our busy road, Bill calmly dictated directions to a very frenzied and panicking Jared to make an access for the fence and for me to ascertain if she left a gap in her pen large enough to herd her through. He then went to change out of his slacks and grab his gun.On my way out the door, I had the forethought to grab a bag of $1 bananas that I picked up at the store this week… just in case. I slipped on my outdoor shoes while quickly scanned to see if I could locate the hog and couldn’t.Before, I continue my story, allow me to explain something about myself. You need to understand that while I can be a very competent person, I can also be lazy and so I play the “girl” card whenever I see fit. I find it helps with the division of labor. No feminist, “anything you can do, I can do better” attitude for me. No, sir, I’ll take the help wherever I can get it! So I thought I was setting out to do the “girl” job. Simply get some information and report back to to headquarters. I had every intention of telling Bill what I found and then standing back and watching the show, perhaps providing minor assistance only if necessary just as I was now, or so I thought.Walking back, I kept an eye out to confirm she wasn’t in back there and much to my dismay, I saw her directly opposite where I was heading. There is a path that runs parallel to the back of our property. She was entering on one side and I was heading for the other. Somehow, I knew that if she saw me she would come to me. She’s been getting really excited whenever she gets a visitor, and I didn’t want her calling on me uninvited, so I ran.And I don’t run.By now, my adrenaline was really flowing and my head was swirling with thoughts of getting knocked down, trampled, and possibly eaten (and yes, I’ve read a hungry hog will eat a person!) by an overzealous hog. Although, I was pretty sure that the trampling part would have taken care of me for good.After ascertaining that the pen was not fully opened (she had somehow squeezed out through the bottom. I saw that she was indeed coming towards me as I had suspected she would. Frantically, scrambling to tear open the plastic bag and pull out the bananas that just wouldn’t come out, I searched for any sign of a man to come to my rescue. I was a damsel in distress in desperate need of a hero! But it was too late, she was right there and curious about what I had. If only there had been an opening like last time! I could have thrown the bananas in and shut it behind her!Thankfully, she was more interested in the bananas than she was in playing with me, so I spotted Bill who was making preparations to herd her into the fence again. I shouted to him my status and told him to get something to cut the fence open with and to hurry, she was with me. The hog lost interest in the bananas and started to wander off when I remembered complaining just two days prior that someone had left my tree pruners in the weeds nearby and thanking God for the culprits laziness, ran to grab them and cut the final “fastener”(obviously, I use that word very loosely!).Turning to run back and make the cut, I saw that she had returned and was standing between me and the corner I needed to open! With
weak knees, I faced my opponent head on, walking straight toward her. I reached over her, and was struck with the reality of just exactly how big she actually is – up to my waist- and that how this all shook down was entirely up to her, and I made the cut. She lost interest in me again and began to walk off. I secured the opening so it would remain ajar, and gathered the bananas and threw them into the pen, which I immediately regretted because she came back. I quickly started to pull up weeds and throw them inside the pen, hoping that she would “fetch” them. After a few handfuls, she took the bait and began to trudge in. Bill finally arrived, instructing me to not close the opening too fast lest I spook her and once I closed it, secured it for what I hope will be the final time.The mental fog began to lift, I began to breathe, and babbled the whole story out to everyone (tooting my own horn, just as I am right now ;D )8 days and counting, (and oh boy, am I counting!) We still have one battle left – getting her to the butcher. LORD WILLING, when she’s in my freezer, I’ll rest easier knowing she isn’t going anywhere but onto my menu planner!

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