I think I finally have the pigs contained. I think.
Yesterday afternoon, my study work (still plowing through my herbal certification course!) was interrupted by voices shouting, "Caity! The pigs are out! The pigs are out!" I slammed my work book closed and threw it on the bed. I would have to finish studying the differences between alterative herbs, analgesic herbs, and antacid herbs later. I rocketed out of the bedroom and as I looked out the window to the front of the house I saw not only Sausage (the usual troublemaker), but Mike as well. Both calmly trotting past the house to some unknown destination. Darn it. There goes my afternoon. I grabbed a bucket of food scraps from the counter (which was supposed to be their dinner!) and enlisted the closest sibling to help me capture the porkers. I've been working with the pigs as much as I can in the pen, trying to teach them that my presence, and my "pig call" means food. Now was the test. I rattled the bucket of food and called out the oh-so-original call of "Pig, pig!" "Pig, pig!" Mike and Sausage turned around, and wonder of wonders they trotted right up to the bucket. So we made the trek back to their pen with me walking backwards muttering "pig, pig", and one of my sisters following along 10 feet behind to encourage the pigs to keep moving.
We got back to the pen, and in in karate style I kicked the wall down to their pen so they could get back in. For you see, it's a semi-permanent wall; there's no gate. No nothing. It started out as a corrugated sheet of metal roofing and ended up as a solid wall to keep pigs in a pen. I had no idea how the pigs managed to get out of the pen, but I knew they had to get in somehow. That, and plus it's just fun every now and again to get to kick something as if you are some well trained ninja. Or maybe that's just me...
With the boys back in their designated area, I had to figure out how to KEEP them in there. After some thought, my sister and I pulled out some 4' high woven wire fencing and commenced to hammering the metal weave in the pig pen. If they got out of this then they were Houdinis. Both pigs sat on their haunches like dogs, as they watched us work with our tools. I grinned at their goofiness in between my hammering. Mike eventually got tired of the noise and buried himself beneath a pile of hay. Sausage followed suit shortly after. What a rough life these pigs have.
Having pigs is teaching me how to have a better sense of humor and that's a fact. This was something like the fourth escape I've had, and I always have to tell myself while catching them to just "relax and laugh". I try my best to find the funniness of each situation; it beats getting mad. The pigs make me smile every time I go in the pen and I am loving their quirky personalities.
But despite the fact that I'm getting better about keeping my temper with escaped bacon, I still have my moments.
Today I was playing my Strumstick and was in the middle of sweeping through 'Alas and Did My Saviour Bleed', when another sister poked her head in the room and said the dreaded words: "Umm, Caity, your pigs are out again." I looked at her, with my right hand suspended on a downward strum and said, "You CAN'T be serious." Turns out she was serious. It still amazes me that this is the second time that the pigs have come up to the house, rather than hightailing it to anywhere else. Yesterday's sequence was repeated: One sister followed 10 feet behind (and in case you're wondering just how many sisters I have, there are 4 of them), while I carried a bucket of food scraps and calling "pig, pig". When we got back to the pig pen, I found the woven wire fencing completely mangled. The pigs apparently tore it down and then jumped over the metal wall. Alright Sausage, I'm impressed with your thinking capabilities. I had no idea what to do now. I couldn't kick the wall down again because the fencing was nailed in place still. I reached down to pick Sausage up, who was dancing at my feet, waiting for food. When my hand touched his body, the chubby little guy surprised me by lunging forward and leaping/scrambling over the metal siding and back into the pen. Eyebrows raised, I tried it with Mike. Same thing happened. Great, I've got jumping pigs.
This time, I truly was out of ideas on what to do. And what's more, I was borderline on being down right irate with my escape artist pigs. Can't they just stay put for crying out loud!?!?!? Is this going to become a daily happening??? Maybe suckling pig in the freezer isn't such a bad idea after all??
It was time. I needed a hog panel. Sixteen feet long and made of the toughest welded wire at the farm store, I figured it might keep my pigs where they belonged. I had planned on getting this panel BEFORE the pigs ever landed, but it was one of those things that just never happened. Always being put off because of its cumbersome size and the fact that we don't exactly live very close to town. But today was the day. Unless I wanted to be chasing the pigs again tomorrow, we had to do this and we had to do it TODAY.
At the farm store I made the split second decision to buy a cattle panel instead, which is bigger, but to my dismay I found that you just can't fit a 4.5' tall cattle panel inside a 15-seater van. We tried multiple ways of squishing that fence in there, but it wasn't going. So I went back to plan A, and bought the more expensive hog panel.
When I got back home, I found that the pigs had mangled the fencing yet again, but they were still in their boundary for the moment. I stomped over with my hog panel dragging behind me and told the pigs to move out of the way. I was on a mission. No pigs allowed.
The panel was up in less than 2 minutes and I shook my head as I wondered why on earth it took me so long to buy this thing. It's taller than the metal siding, and sturdy enough to keep even an ornery heifer at bay. Or a pig with the intelligence of a velociraptor (yes, I've been watching too much Jurassic Park lately...).
My fingers are crossed now that the panel will do the trick. I think I might finally have these pigs contained.