Matt’s pigs are hard to contain. The porkers are always hungry and since the grass is greener on the other side the five-strand, high tensile electric fence, who can blame them for looking for any weakness that offers egress to a bigger world?
And take my word for it. They do. Driving or walking down the lane that connects our house from the rest of the farming operation — a stretch of about a third of a mile — you are likely to come face to snout with a 700-pound black Berkshire pig. Very often this goliath is followed by four or five youngsters, each probably weighing in at well over 100 pounds.
I don’t begrudge the pigs their scavenging. There’s even a name for a small group of woodland porcine foragers: a sounder. But I don’t fancy a sounder in the yard or, perish the thought, my garden.
Still, when I drove up to the house this weekend, there was abundant evidence that a rampaging hog herd had made quick work of the lawn and the garden. And because pigs are social by nature, whenever a few of us were in the yard or even the kitchen, the pigs materialized, grunting, snorting, scuffling, rooting, and even napping.
My brother says that pigs constantly check in with each other with friendly shoves and jostles, accompanied by rude-sounding rumbles and snuffles and snorts. Matt’s beasts are so massive and rotund, when they group together in hoggish solidarity, they reminded me of a herd of hippos just emerged from the Zambezi River.
Full-grown pigs have very large teeth and use the choppers to worry any thing they can reach, including the birdbath and the decorative oversized metal sunflower in the garden. As soon as the fatties moved out of the way yesterday, Dick and I transported these to the garage for the winter, out of harm’s way.
But that was about all we could do — except leave. I hope in our absence, the porkers looked for food somewhere else. Maybe a field well removed from the garden and our backyard.
copyright © Mary Goodbody