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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pigtails 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe other night at dinner the conversation somehow turned toward pigs. Pigs’ appetites are legendary, but something we certainly can’t fault them for since humans are the ones who have selectively bred them that way. At time their voracity can be put to productive use, like at my grandmother's farm property. One of the ponds had became infested with water moccasins, a very aggressive, territorial species of poisonous snake that has been known to chase 'trespassing' humans onto dry land. The pond, once a delightful swimming hole, had become a seething cauldron of snakes. My grandmother was discussing the situation with her neighbor. “Let my pigs take care of that. Pigs will eat anything.” The pigs were set loose on the property and in less than a week the pigs had devoured every single snake. They then started swimming out to an anchored styrofoam and wood raft in the middle of the pond and taking huge bites out of the Styrofoam until they sank it. They ate everything in sight and thank God no children wandered onto the property because the pigs probably would have devoured them as well.

E's uncle used to keep pigs on the family farm outside of Nashville. One night during a terrible rainstorm the pigs escaped their pen and the entire herd galloped across the highway to the neighbor’s yard on a foraging raid. E’s uncle got a phone call in the middle of the night from the panicked and furious neighbor. “You better get out here right now! Your pigs – sob - are digging up our grandpa!” The pigs had broken into the family plot and were trying to get at the body of the family’s recently deceased patriarch which their snouts could smell through the earth like a mouthwatering truffle. What a scene that must have been, all of those pigs squealing and rooting and tearing up the grave in the driving rain, backlit by flashes of lightning. It must have been like something out of a horror movie. E’s uncle had to drive up all the way from Nashville in the middle of the night to go round up the lot of them. That was the last year that E’s uncle kept pigs.

Suggested reading: The Good, Good Pig. Naturalist Sy Montgomery beautiful memoir of a pig she adopts. An ailing runt that her pig farming neighbors don’t have the heart to take back behind the barn and brain with a shovel, Christopher Hogsworth is adopted by Sy and her husband. He grows into a loveable 500 pound monster who alternately delights and terrorizes her small town in Vermont. Warning: May put you off your bacon. It did for me for the most part, but I still like proscuitto. I'm like the loathesome Walrus in Lewis Carroll's poem The Walrus and the Carpenter. I'll still eat it but feel really, really bad about it.

Comments:
Your great story reminded me of one of my favorite reads as a lad - the "Freddy" books, by Walter ?. I read them all and still remember the various adventures of Freddy the Pig and all the animals on Mr. Bean's farm. They didn't, however, spoil my appetite for a good pork chop!
 
...that's unfortunate for the pigs. ^^
 
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