So I was up at 6am today, half an hour later than normal as I wanted to swing by the co-op in Sydney to buy some product bags just as it opened. I had asked Laura to feed the chickens and the pig when she got up but the temperature had plummeted so being the good husband/father I decided to light the fire.
I did so then poured some sow chow in a bucket and hooked up the nearly finished bag of chicken feed. As I rounded the side of the coop I was surprised that a chicken was out, then I noticed that all the chickens were out. I was sure I had tucked them in last night but maybe I hadn’t. As the hens flocked around me, eagerly pecking up pellets of food as I poured it in a line onto the frozen earth I looked up and saw that the back wall was off the pig ark I built last week. Not only was it off but it was across the two rows of polywire that conveniently stops our pig wandering around the farm, the neighbours garden, the highway…
I caught my breath and vainly marched round to the corral area where we feed her and where she sometimes just chills out. She wasn’t there. I headed back to the ark and rooted around in the mountain of hay, just on the off-chance that she had shrunk.
Then, after slowly rejecting the idea of jumping in the car, heading to Sydney and denying all knowledge I went back in the house, put on a jacket and got the flashlight.
Luckily she hadn’t gone far from home and I stumbled upon her snoozing contentedly on Doug’s doorstep. I couldn’t persuade her to go back to her house though, and spent an hour and a half following her around the field, trying to head her off or at least herd her away from anywhere she could do too much damage.
Eventually I arranged for Laura to take the bread to Sydney market and I went in the house to help her get ready. When I came out she was nowhere to be seen. I walked the perimeter then found her turning sod over on the banks of the brook. There’s no reasoning with a pig so I strung a short length of poywire across the downed fence between the brook and the road and headed back up the house to have a coffee.
Half an hour later I went back with Dusty to check on her. We found her snoozing in a thicket thirty or so feet up from where she was. I gave her an apple, let Dusty get acquainted by sniffing her privates (why do dogs do that?) then headed back up to the house. Surprisingly she followed. All the way back up to the house. But not to her roped off area, even though I had unwound the electric fence and hooked it away out of sight. Instead she headed back up to Doug’s and settled back on his porch. I went back in for a coffee.
Coffee does amazing things – it switches on all of your receptors at once. Most people find that they’re unable to focus and get all scatty – I get ideas, and this one was genius. While she slept I slung her fence up again, but this time around the porch, giving her just one place to go – down the path, into her corral and back into her designated piggy area.
When she woke up I watch, and waited. She assessed her situation, sniffed at the apples in her corral area, then went back to Doug’s and went to sleep.
I’m still waiting. And still drinking coffee.