This portion will be very painful to recall, and write about. This chapter concerns our ownership of two pigs. Where or where was the big bad wolf when I needed him? Just thinking about it makes me upset, and I begin to beeble. In the experiences that I shall relate, I reach the apex of my climb toward total insanity.
I have confessed an interest in, even a liking for the feathered friends that came to live on our farm, but no matter how hard I try, I can feel only contempt for the four-legged muck-slingers that moved into the barn. Pigs! Just the sound of the word gives me shivers. I thought chickens had bad table manners!
It isn’t that I started out with hostile feelings. I must admit that I was not overjoyed by their presence, but I tried, I did try to like them. We named them, naturally, Tim and Tom. I really become disenchanted with the porkers during a three week period during the winter, when as fate would have it, Boss had flown away to some sunny island and I remained to do the chores.
Every day I would bundle up, fill a large bucket with water and trudge my way through the snow banks to the barn. Multiply the mixing of a bowl of yucky baby pabulum by about fifty and that is what I had to mush up for these impatient critters. As soon as they heard me they would begin their “hurry up and feed me” snorting, making all manner of disgusting noises. Between the odour in the pen, the slop that I was mixing, and the guttural noises, I normally drew near the brink of nausea, but that would have made things worse.
To understand what I would go through at feeding time you must see the pig pen as it was, so I shall endeavor to explain its setup. The pen was adjacent to the chicken pen with a wall between and a screen door from the pig pen into the chicken’s side. This information is important to a story I shall relate shortly. To return to the pig pen, the front part of the pen was boarded in up to the height of my armpits, and there was an entrance to the pen made in two parts. The lower part was stationary and the upper part slid up and down as a window does. It could be removed completely. The feed boxes were attached to the front wall at close to floor level. There were also two large tubs for water. Later, there was a divider down the middle of the pen to separate the pigs. This was necessary for two reasons. The main reason was that one pig was pushy and would eat all the food, after chasing the other one away from the trough. The second reason was that although these pigs were neutered, they did not act that way, and they constantly tried, each in turn to discover if they could do what they thought they should do, but couldn’t because neither had what it took and even if it did the other one didn’t. The frustration might have killed them and besides they’d never put on any weight with all that activity.
These swine were always hungry, and just as soon as I started pouring the slop over the wall into the feed troughs, which I did with great difficulty due to the height of the wall, they would dive right in and as a result they would be hit in the head, thus ending up wearing as much as they were eating. They would gaze up at me with this quick-sand like glop rolling down around their ears and over their eyes, and my stomach would do flip-flops.
Another problem I had was feeding the chickens. Normally I could have entered the chicken pen through the regular door, and not have to go near the pig pen. But at this particular time the chicken pen also was partitioned. I can’t recall exactly why now, but it must have been because we had chicks brooding in the front part. I could get to them without difficulty. The problem was, that in order to feed the other chickens I had to go through the pig pen. Remember the door I told you about a while ago?
Well, picture me carrying a bucket of water, and perhaps a can of feed, climbing over the lower half of the entrance to the pig pen. Once in the pig pen I had to reach through a hole in the screen door, unlatch the door, then climb over the lower boards which were there to keep the pigs from joining the chickens. It sounds like a fairly simple task, and perhaps would have been except that one of the pigs had vengeance in its heart. He probably didn’t like getting hit with the slop, and he chose to impede my journey through the pen and over the boards. It was almost as though he lay in wait for me, knowing I’d have to come through his territory sometime. I imagine this bit of buffoonery made its day.
As I was saying, it would lay in wait, and as I swung my leg over the gate into his pen he would run at me, snorting. It scared the daylights out of me the first time. I feel his greatest enjoyment was when I had managed to get the screen door open, and I was half into the chicken pen. It was then, when I was straddled the boards, that the little piggy would grab and hold tightly to the bottom of my pant leg. I would kick and wriggle my leg off before he would let me go. I’d have to rest a few minutes with the chickens before venturing back out to face the enemy. What bugged me was that the four-legged pant chomper would allow me to leave unmolested. I can imagine him sitting back there in the corner, grinning that vile piggy grin, and saying “Come again toots!”
To be fair, I have to admit that he never really bit me. I guess he was satisfied with teasing me. The only compensation I have is that I had the last laugh, and ended up chewing on his leg, after it had been cooked of course. It was I who was wearing that crazy little grin. Snort!
There was more to this but I ended it here, because what was written was more about the neighbors that I got together with. I don’t know whether to write more, and if I do, do I just jump forward to the orchards. How much do I remember????