A tale of piggies past

There’s one blog which I endeavour to read every day: http://thekitchensgarden.wordpress.com/  try it, you’ll love it! Its author, Cecelia, has just acquired two pigs and seeing them made me think back to the days when we kept pigs ourselves, in particular the time when we had two sows, Effie and Flora.

Flora's family

Effie's family

They were a Gloucester Old Spot/Wild Boar cross. Flora had the Wild Boar colouration with an Old Spot’s temperament, whereas Effie was a Wild Boar with spots! Flora was such a sweet girl with chocolate-brown eyes and gorgeous long lashes but looking into Effie’s eyes, you just knew that trouble wasn’t far away!

Plotting?

Effie was also the bigger vandal of the two. She couldn’t resist digging below the fence so that piglets could escape, then aggressively disapproving as we tried to catch and return them. Have you ever tried to catch a piglet? It’s like holding onto a hot, wriggling bar of soap! Kevin was constantly repairing her damage, usually with fairly hefty tree branches that we’d hung on to, along with a fair number of six-inch nails. Effie would stand by him, patiently watching every nail go in with that beady eye of hers. Then the minute he turned his back, she’d stick that snout of hers under the branch and proceed to lever the thing off, six-inch nails or not! Even though she’d get a slap on the rear for her efforts, she’d run off with an indignant snort but was never deterred from repeating the process the next time Kevin appeared with stout branch and bag of nails!

Probably her most wicked moment involved this drinking dish…

These days it belongs to the ducks but it originated in the pig pen. On hot days, Effie would grab hold of the thing with her teeth, then, quickly tip her head back, essentially giving herself a cold shower. That was all very well, but then there was no water to drink. Filling that dish was a constant chore in hot weather I can tell you! The area immediately in front of the pig house was fairly confined, being surrounded by an old, semi-tumbled wall. It was where we used to feed the pigs in inclement weather and where we positioned the drinking-water. One particular summer’s day, both Kevin and I were in this area, along with the pigs, discussing something or other. I was stood by the gate but Kevin was in a corner made by the pig house and the old wall. An inescapable corner. And Effie knew it! Out the corner of my eye, I saw her head go down, her jaws clamping onto the side of the dish. Yes, a shower was in the making, but not for Effie; not just a simple tipping back of her head on this occasion, but a vigorous shake of her head from right to left, providing Kevin with the perfect shower. In his corner. I’ll swear that pig laughed!

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