Thursday, January 10, 2013

Brawlers & Brothels

When I opened the barn door yesterday morning, I wasn't expecting a welcome committee. But right there inside the latched door was Lunchbox and Thermos, looking up at me and snorting. Gibson was at my side, and if you could have seen the look on his face you would have thought someone just filled the barn with a hundred white plastic buckets and flashlight beams (he's really into buckets and flashlight beams).

I slammed the door.


These were not the cute little piglets I picked up squealing at Antlerstock. Lunchbox and Thermos were both around a hundred sixty pounds now. I could hear the chickens inside squawking and flapping around. It sounded like two drunk bar brawlers got into a lingerie shop. Behind the red door was a parade of squeaks and grunts and feathers flying. Gibson looked up at me and then back at the door with his tail wagging. I knew I had to get the porkers back into their pen. In my quick glance I saw their escape hatch. I would have to get inside, round them up, shut the gate they busted through, reinforce it, and then check for damage. I had to do all this while a Border Collie was begging to get into the fray, a horse was heckling me for breakfast, the goats were nagging, the chickens were screaming, and without so much as a pocket knife in my arsenal.


What transpired was nothing short of amazing. I didn't have a pocket knife But I did have a bag of cracked corn. I told Gibson to back up and lie down, then set him into a stay. I asked him to stay the way people say the last phrase of a commencement speech. I really, really, meant it. He looked deflated, but obliged. I then cracked the door open and slid inside, closing it behind me. The pigs were running amok, but turned to look at me as dramatically and quick as a pair of cartoon characters. I could almost hear their thoughts out loud.

"Hey, Hey.... It's Food Lady! She's got the food bag! We already ate all the chicken feed, and a chicken, this place is a beat scene! You think she brought takeout again? Dibs! Dibs! Diiibbbbs DIIBBBBSSS!!"

And they both came barreling towards me. As they ran at me, and the door to freedom behind me, I took the entire bag of cracked corn and dumped it inside their pen. Instead of knocking me over and running away they made a quick corner turn and ran back into their home. I had a few seconds to scramble to re-shut the door behind them and soon as I closed it Lunchbox whirled around to get back out. Suddenly, the cracked corn wasn't as interesting as the Chicken Ranch. This is true for most American males.

I had to hold the gate shut by hand. They had escaped by breaking down the wood board that created the doorstop. It was a simple design, a basic latch, and worked up to the point of over 300-collective pounds of porcine force wailing on it. I needed to get something else to hold them while I went and boarded up their pen door. But the second I left the gate they were on it. Gibson was watching with pure agony of a lie down. A lie down during livestock chaos is border collie water boarding. I called him to me.

The pigs stared at Gibson. They stopped eating, stopped pushing against the door. Whatever was going on between those two species was some deep mojo. Gibson went into his crouch and blinkless stare and the pigs softly grunted, but held back their protest. This gave me exactly 30 seconds to scramble around the barn for a piece of green baling twine and frantically tie it around the posts. The gate was momentarily secure. I told Gibson, "That'll Do!" and he looked up at me like he was rolling on crystal mushrooms. Pigs get him wonky like that.

I got some boards, I got some nails, and I hammered a few planks of scrap wood over the brawlers gate. They ate the corn and promptly took a nap. I am missing one rooster and an entire 20-pound bag of chicken feed. It was a wild party.

I called the butcher and moved the slaughter date up a week.



Blogger SouthernHeart said...

Thank you for the laugh this morning. I needed that. Sorry it was such an ordeal but the word picture you painted was truly funny! When you're enjoying crisp bacon or a honey baked ham, no doubt you'll laugh too. ;-)

January 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger John Taylor said...

LOL! Oh my you add a real hobbit style adventure!

Grace and Peace,


January 10, 2013 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Ok, it's all coming back to me now. The pig amnesia is gone! That's why I don't have pigs yet! I sure do remember it all now. And the total fear of being eaten alive.

January 10, 2013 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger barbsbirds13 said...

Would we conclude now that it's always a good idea to enter the barn equipped with a bag of cracked corn?

January 10, 2013 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Lelainia N. Lloyd said...

I did not know pigs would kill a rooster. Geez. I assume they ate him all up?

January 10, 2013 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

what's the new official date of demise? the 20th?

Oh, and absolutely hysterical. Well done.

January 10, 2013 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

I agree with SouthernHeart ~ Hilarious but sorry that you had so much turmoil. It sounds like you did the right thing in moving up your slaughter date. I hope you find your rooster ~ would the pigs attack him or is he just hiding?

January 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger kwdiving said...

Wonderful post! Thanks for the giggle. Sorry about the rooster though.

January 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

OMG! I laughed for 10 minutes! Great description, I could just see it! We had pigs on the farm when I was a teenager, and they used to bust out every so often. We'd run them all over the place until we finally got them back in their fence, and then collapse and laugh hysterically. You can just about see them thinking. No roosters were murdered at our house, though.

January 10, 2013 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

I have to say that this post was a hoot. Thank goodness they came to greet you @ the door. I could imagine you and Gibson trying to herd them back to the barn.

I just read Novella Carpenter's book Farm City and she has several chapters on raising pigs in Oakland, California. She used to dumpster dive @ a gourmet restaurant to get extra food for them. They used to escape every now and then and I believe they ate some of her chickens when they did as well.

January 10, 2013 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

Also curious about the rooster....

January 10, 2013 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

that reminds me of a time gone by when this city gal was newly married to her TrapperDude and the 3 lil piggies we were raising KEPT escaping...I believe they chased me more than I chased them!
It kept the Husband in laughter on a daily basis ;)

We don't raise pigs anymore.

January 10, 2013 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Robin Follette said...

"...wasn't as interesting as the Chicken Ranch. This is true for most American males."

Best laugh I've had this week! I'm so glad I'm found your blog.

Pigs are like goats. If there's a way out they'll find it. Too bad about the rooster.

January 10, 2013 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

no idea what happened to the roo. no evidence was left, no feathers or blood. He is MIA.

January 10, 2013 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

thanks guys!

January 10, 2013 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

this was so much fun to write

January 10, 2013 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

this was so much fun to write

January 10, 2013 at 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderfully done,had to choke back the laughter since I'm at work.

January 10, 2013 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

Maybe Gibson wants to be a hog dog! They say they have to be very brave and very clever to be a hog dog. It's not for every border collie.

January 10, 2013 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

Truly epic post. Your descriptions of Gibson are especially priceless!

January 10, 2013 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

"I called the butcher and moved the slaughter date up a week."

That sums it all up, doesn't it? Thankful for a happy ending, although not for the rooster, alas :(

January 10, 2013 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

Where was that picture taken? That sign is a hoot!

January 10, 2013 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Marilyn Noakes said...

You had me laughing also! but I know how hard it can be to work with pigs by yourself. So give yourself a pat on the back because you did good!Like your video on Archery also.

January 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Marilyn Noakes said...

You gave me a laugh also! I do know how hard it is to work with pigs by yourself if you are a woman. Give yourself a pat on the back because you did good! I really enjoyed the Archery video.

January 10, 2013 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

You are so lucky to have Gibson! What a disaster, when animals escape. Keep up the good work, and I love your blog. Sharon in Oregon

January 10, 2013 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Mary Schroeder said...

Almost died laughing

January 10, 2013 at 7:29 PM  
Blogger bree said...

Great fun reading this!!!

January 10, 2013 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Wellfleetgal said...

Absolutely hilarious.
Way to go, Farm Woman (and Border Collie).

January 10, 2013 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...

Never a dull moment at CAF!

January 10, 2013 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger Ruth Dixon said...

Oh goodness, I can see it perfectly... why, you ask? Because I've had similar games with pigs and tho I love the critters (and the goodies they provide) I hate dealing with their antics. HATE IT! Thank you for reminding me it is humorous...

January 10, 2013 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger The Kelly's Adventures in KY said...

Quite the rambuncious duo! Bet they are looking more and more tasty now! Good job Gibson!!

January 11, 2013 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger The Kelly's Adventures in KY said...

Quite the rambuncious duo... bet they are looking more and more tasty. Good job Gibson!!

January 11, 2013 at 7:50 AM  

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