We [thought we] had everything ready but one crucial piece – a way to transport our three little piggies. Sure, we have a pickup, but we needed some sort of cage or top so the oinks wouldn’t abandon ship mid-drive. Will Googled the crap out of pig cage, pig carrier, transporting pigs, and nothing of note came up. So we decided to get creative. We started calling friends of ours who had recently house broken dogs, to see if we could buy their crates. I managed to buy one off a colleague for a super-reasonable price, but Will deemed it too small, at which point I started Googling “tamworth pig weight 8 weeks” to no avail. Internet, that’s -2 for you.
So, by chance Will is on the phone with the dog rescue lady (we’re getting a Great Pyrenees after all, but that’s for another post), and mentioned that we had a dog crate and she says “Oh, just use a Goat Carrier” in a completely matter of fact tone. In the way I’d say “You should buy a belt” if someone told me their pants were falling down. I’m convinced that all country knowledge is like this, as sure enough the local Tractor Supply place had goat carriers in stock. It’s all about asking the right question (read: NOT pig carrier?). So now we have this large, bottomless cage that sits in the bed of the pickup and has a sliding door so you can easily get the animal(s) in and out without too much fuss. There it is internet, Pig Carrier = actually just buy a Goat Carrier. Consider yourself countrified.
This morning, we load up into the truck, Will, Alston and me, and head to Oak Hill Farm in Palmyra, VA. The piglets are adorable. The farm hands lures the mama pig into the stable and the piglets follow, so as to make it easier to catch them. He then picks up the piglets one by one and hands them to another guy to load into the cage, all while the oink is squealing her little face off. It is a blood curdling sound, hearing a pig in full panic. Poor Alston had no idea what was going on. But the whole process only took about five minutes for all three, and we were ready to get back on the road.
Before we left, Will started asking questions about fencing. He’d erected electric fencing, but the pigs were smaller than we expected (Watson-sized, actually, which is to say beagle), and the other day, while the juice was on, Watson tested the wires, got shocked, but instead of jumping back he jumped forward and ended up on the inside of the enclosure. So there was doubt about our fence’s fortitude. The farmer though it sounded like we’d be fine, or at worst we’d have to run another wire so there was more barrier lower to the ground.
The ride home, Will freaked out about the fence.
We get home, and pull the pickup into the enclosure. To play it safe, Will grabs only one pig from the carrier and sets her down. I swear after being out less than one minute, she nudged the fence, jumped a little and walked right on through.
Did I mention my husband is often right?
Will starts running towards the pig, so the pig starts running away, towards the road. Watson, who was hanging out on the front porch, sees running and naturally comes down to investigate. He catches a glimpse of the piglet and immediately takes chase, so now Will is running after the pig who is sprinting away from the dog, all while Alston shouts “Ma, pig! Ma, pig! Ooohhh pig!”
I manage to grab Watson and get him into the house while Will runs down the road chasing after a screaming pig. Somehow, and I still have no idea how, he manages to catch her, and so it’s back to the goat carrier until we figure out what to do.
This is when defeat sets in. There were a hundred other things on the to do list for today, but unless we expect the piggies to live out their days in the back of an F150, it’s fence time. I think we shouldn’t call ourselves farmers. We haven’t harvested anything yet. We should call ourselves fencers. We still had some hog wire left over from reinforcing the pasture’s horse fencing, but it’s another trip to the hardware store to buy metal posts to hold everything up.
Once the posts are in the ground and Will starts unraveling the fence, we joke about potential names for the farm… he suggests Third Time’s The Charm Farm – we get it right eventually. I go with Funny Farm – because you’d have to be crazy to try this.
After about two hours, the new, smaller hog wire fence is up and the piglets are in. We have the electric fence on as well, in case they root under the hogwire. Not that we think it will do any good until we string up yet another wire come Monday. Oh well, at least the pigs seem to like their new digs. Let’s just hope they stay put over night.
It’s lucky these animals are both cute and delicious, or there would be a feral Tamworth wandering greater Esmont tonight.