Homeland Farm

Homeland Farm

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pig Tales

         I love pigs. They are very comical and fun to watch when they eat their dinner. Oh sure, they have a bad rap about smelling bad, and living in a "pig sty" but if you have ever had a pig, you know they are clean animals that pick one spot in their pen to go to the bathroom. I wish my cats were as tidy.
        I remember about 30 years ago when my sister, brother and I were discussing what to get our mother for Mother's Day. She wasn't big on chocolates (then), and my father always gave her flowers, so all the traditional gifts were out. Then it hit me.
        "How about a piglet?" I asked my fellow siblings, sure they would think the idea was as dandy as I did. My brother, who was thinking she would much rather have a BB Gun, wasn't so sure about a piglet. My sister just out and out thought the idea was "stupid."
        When I approached my father with the idea however, he thought it was a great idea and got my sister and brother to go along with it by saying he was sure our mother would be the ONLY mother to be getting a Mother's Day pig.
          We waited anxiously for her present to arrive that next week, dropping hints about what an unusual gift she was going to be getting, and how excited we knew she was going to be. Finally, one afternoon, a truck pulled in and drove out behind the house, where it backed up to the pigpen.
           "It's here! It's here!!" we yelled, as we dragged our unsuspecting mother right through the middle of the freshly tilled garden. We arrived at the pen looking like three little mud balls and a big momma mudball, panting and out of breath.  The man let down the tailgate and out came not one, but two pink little piglets, by far cleaner then any of us at that moment.
         "Happy Mother's Day!" we yelled at the brown oject between us.
          "Oh," she exclaimed, emotion choking her voice, "for me?" We turned and looked at each other, thinking how lucky she was to have kids like us. We looked at her again, and saw what we just knew were tears of joy rolling down her cheeks.
         "I am sure your father had a hand in this," she said, as she kicked the dirt off her once white sneakers.
          "Oh yes," Kim said," it was our idea, but he thought you would really be excited to be the only mom anywhere getting Mother's Day piglets."
          " I see, " replied mother, through gritted, and quite possibly gritty teeth. She turned and started to walk back toward the house, as we bent over our new friends, scratching their backs with a stick. We heard some mumbling as Mother walked around the edge of the garden, and headed toward the house.
            "What did she say?" I asked Kim, bent over the side of the pen with the stick.
             "I'm not sure," Kim said, "something about wait until Father's Day."
            Those weren't the last pigs we had here at Homeland Farm. We had several over the years, and I think the last one we had was a big pig by the name of Spot. I remember one incident with Spot that had us all laughing, well, maybe not all of us.
             One hot summer day, I was pestering my mother to take the siblings and I swimming. She said we could go "later." I always said I would never say that to my kids, as it usually meant "never." Do I say it? of course. It is another legacy passed down through the generations here at Homeland Farm.
           Anyway, she said she would take us, but we needed to get our work done first. She was inside cleaning, and she told me to go outside and shell some peas. So, I took my basin and sat out in the back barn doorway, where it was cool. A nice breeze always seemed to blow through the barn, even on a hot day.
           I was sitting in the doorway, shelling peas, when I looked out at the garden, and saw some odd vegetable movement. The cornstalks were jumping and moving, and I could hear them snapping from where I sat. I couldn't see anything from where I was, but I figured I had better go look. I walked out past the rows of corn and saw the culprit. Our pig Spot was loose, and wrecking havoc in the garden. One hill of cukes was torn up, half a row of corn was trampled, and the pig was now trashing the tomato patch.
          "MOTHER!" I hollered."THE PIG IS OUT!"
          "What?" she yelled back, as she came out on the back porch, wiping her hands on a towel.
            "The pig is out and is loose in the tomatoes!" I hollered back, sure that would bring action. And boy, did it ever. She was out that door and running toward the garden full tilt. I ran toward the pig, with my arms outstretched, trying to shoo it back into it's pen before my mother got to it. The pig, not knowing a friend when it saw one, darted past me, and came face to face with my panting, outraged mother, I watched as my mother, looking around at the destruction that WAS her vegetable garden, lunged forward and grabbed the pig around the neck. I watched the next sequence of events in total helpless amazement.
           The pig, not liking the half nelson my mother had on it, wiggled and squirmed until it had first one leg, then a second through my mother's arms. By now, she was half laying on the pig, arms around it's middle. As I watched, the pig tried to get away, but my mother didn't loosen her grip, and looked for all the world like she was trying to squeeze those tomatoes back out of that pig.
         Ole Spot was making the most awful squeeling noises I had ever heard in my life, not one or two short squeels, but a full on blast that might have doubled for an air raid siren. I know it had my grandparents and Uncle Billy out on their porch in no time!
         As I watched, the pig, who weighed about 200 pounds, started gaining ground, until my mother's grasp had slipped to one fat haunch, and then finally, one leg. Now if you have ever tried to hold a pig by one hind leg, you know the effect. A pig can shake it's hind leg like a jackhammer, and that's exactly what this pig started doing to my mother. Her arms and upper body were shaking back and forth like it was hooked to one of those machines at a weight loss farm that is supposed to shake the fat right off you.
          Spot started running on three legs, weaving in and out of the corn, shaking her hind leg about one hundred miles an hour, all the while squeeling bloody murder. My sweaty, determined mother hung on to the other leg for all she was worth. It was when they made their third trip past me, that I finally snapped out of my reverie, and snatched up that other hind leg.
         The scenario continued. A big, fat squeeling pig running through the corn rows, now on two legs, shaking both hind legs one hundred miles an hour, my mother and I both attached and hollering "Whoa pig!" If this had happened years later, after we saw the movie "Babe", we could have just said "That'll do pig, that'll do." Maybe she would have paid more attention, who knows.
          But, she didn't pay much attention. I don't know how many laps we made total, but there wasn't much corn standing when we were done. The pig finally got tired, and we were able to walk her back over to her pen, and with our last remaining strength, shoved her in the hole she had escaped from and blocked it with a piece of wood.  She lay there exhausted, and probably wondering if a few tomatoes was worth being driven like  a wheelbarrow by a couple humans for half an hour.
         I looked over at my mother, sweat running down her face, as she kicked tomato gunk off her shoes, and pulled corn leaf pieces off the front of her tee shirt. "So, about that swim......"
A much more successful garden then the pig years
A Hoe'in Brogan
Good Looking Veggies Farmer Daigle!

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