The beginning of summer is that time of year when thousands of normal human beings are overcome with the urge to rush and explore forests, mountains, lakes, and the great American outdoors. However, when you live on a ranch, these “adventures” have to happen close to home, and this early summer morning was no exception. I like to start my day with prayer, meditation, and exercise. The main purpose of this is to practice my breathing techniques for when the first unexpected disaster occurs and to try to prevent cardiac arrest. I also try to prepare my thoughts for the day and remind myself that no matter what happens, God is still in control. Well, the exercise is just to know that I have it in me to run for help if needed, or just plain run for my life.
I had just started my yoga exercise when an alarming siren of the most unearthly squeal I have ever heard pierced my ears with chilling intensity. Fearing that someone had been shot, or worse, I instantly ran to the blaring noise to find a weaner pig with its head stuck on my patio! This was not an oink, grunt, or snort but a full-on blood-curdling squeal! Our patio has a rock encased flower bed, if I can call it that, since it’s never grown a flower in its life, but I can only presume that was the purpose of the contractor’s vision. Or, perhaps it was created to be a future grave for an animal, which in our case, makes way more sense.
It is not so conveniently located next to a random pillar on the patio, leaving a narrow opening that obviously fits a pig head perfectly. When I first discovered what was happening, my initial thought was, “Wow, another “great idea” of my husband’s to get weaner pigs so that our daughter could experience all aspects of ranch life.” The ironic thing is that I seemed to be the one getting all the wonderful experiences!
This particular year, we had six pigs in total and were about to lose one to stupidity. Actually, six is optimistic. We had five… plus Wilbur. Wilbur was the runt and completely blind. Ironically, Wilbur didn’t even manage to get his head stuck between the rock wall. I now know where the term “guinea PIG” comes from. Wilbur’s brothers and sisters tested poor Wilbur daily to make sure whatever they wanted to do would be safe for everyone. They sent him into the electric fence to see if it was on and pushed him through the cattle guard to see if it actually worked in keeping pigs out. I always have heard how smart pigs were and if they could see that the cattle guard didn’t keep the cows out, why would it do its job keeping pigs out? There were so many trials that simply were not fair to poor Wilbur, but really quite humorous. I felt I could almost see the others sitting back chuckling with each watching the experiences they had Wilbur engaged in. Consequently, he was the toughest pig of the litter, and with all credit due to him, he did not find himself in the fate of the stuck pig.
The second thing that came to mind after realizing I will never understand my husband’s thought process, was why are pigs in my yard and on my patio instead of the confines of their pen? I later found out that he thought it would be a good outing to let the weaners into the creek pasture for the day to get some exercise and root around to eat snakes and frogs for protein.
Besides explorations, the start of summer brings on summer projects and my husband had hired a painter to match the shop color to our house. Upon my findings of the little porker with his head stuck and his buddies tearing into the yard, I quickly grab the first logical thing I see which happened to be a broom. I start whacking the porker on the rump to hopefully spark his adrenaline and free him from the head catch and free me of his ear-piercing whale. As the whacking and squealing continued with a host of weaner pigs sitting close by watching the events unfold, I realized that a new spectator had also joined the show. Our shop painter, who I will not mention by name to protect his identity, heard the commotion and came to the house to see if he could be of assistance only to be shocked into a deer in the headlights glazed over paralysis of epic proportions. I’m confident the last thing our painter was expecting when he peered around the corner was a woman in a sports bra swatting a pig in the butt with a broom. I matched his paralyzed gaze as I did not expect anyone to be witnessing the beating! However, to the rancher’s wife’s credit, the beating did the trick and the weaner pig sprung to the freedom of salvation by multiple whacks of bristly straw to the rump. I’m sure he was thinking about how he could be involved in such a comedy of inhumane animal cruelty! After I single-handedly freed the porker, instead of marinating him in sweet n sour sauce, I shamefully began to apologize to our painter for any inappropriate visuals he may have witnessed and that I would help with any future counseling expenses he incurs. He laughed out loud and said he would be fine and appreciated the unexpected excitement as he blushingly said he better get back to work. He said he was just happy that no blood was shed because he was convinced a killing was taking place by the sounds of it. Lucky for this little piggy, he didn’t go to market! Where was my husband, the ultimate culprit of this disastrous start of the day? Of course, out of service!