This Little Piggy. . . .
I hope people found a warm place to curl up in over the past weekend. It was cold and windy here for the Victoria Day Weekend. We even had a few snowflakes. For Canadians this weekend is traditionally the beginning of summer. It is the first weekend to go camping and fishing. There certainly have been a parade of RV's passing by my place on the way to the bush for the myriad of lakes to camp by on the crown land. It is also the first weekend we dare to get into our garden and try to plant some things that a frost won't easily kill. Few Canadians pay much attention to the actual celebration of the birthday of Queen Victoria (which is actually May 24 ) and our present queen, Queen Elizabeth II. There are some public celebrations and fireworks but I think there is more interest in having a long weekend than actually celebrating this historic uniquely Canadian holiday. ( Even Britain does not celebrate this day.) As a shrinking percentage of us with British roots within Canada, I wonder how much long we might seriously recognize this day. French Canadians do not recognize it in Quebec. Also the Inuit of Nunivut don't celebrate it surprisingly as aboriginal people in Canada have a direct and special relationship with the crown. This weekend is often just referred to as Two Four Weekend, a double entendre reference to May 24 and the popular Canadian designation of a case of 24 beer. a two four.
If I remember, when I was a child it was a more important occasion than an opportunity to party with some beer. Or maybe with an English grandmother and a royalist mother I just thought it was more important. We also were not well off enough to have a cottage or even go camping.
How we used to chant, "The 24th of May is the Queen's birthday. If you don't give us a holiday we will all run away." We would have our fireworks in the back yard.
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I had a pig adventure over the weekend that left me exhausted. My Duroc pig, Ruby, slipped out from behind the electric fence. I got up to feed the two sows and realized she was not there. I searched the yard and scanned the adjacent field where I thought she might be.
About 10 o'clock a truck stopped in front of my house and said a large pig was up the road toward town heading my way.
I guess she was heading home. Little did I know!
I drove up the road and found her about 1/2 mile toward town. She was laying along the neighbour's fence enjoying a respite with some cows on the other side. She got up when I arrived and to my delight seemed ready to come home. Even without a little feed to tempt her she followed the car home as a called her with my two calls. " Piggy, piggy, piggy come!" and my irresistable Arkansas Razorback call, "soooo. . .EEEEEE; sooo. . . .EEEE!"
We got home easily. We even slipped by the neigbour's dogs. I counted myself lucky.
I could not get her to cross the line of the fence even when I removed it. She is afraid, very afraid, of the electric fence. So I left her in the yard outside the fence where she seemed content to rest and share her adventure with the other sow, Babe. This did not last long. She seemed to be restless with wanderlust and I saw her heading across the corner of the field toward the road we just came down.
I jumped in the car with some feed in a pail and drove up around the corner to head her off. To make a long story short, I could not turn her around with or without the feed. She was determined to head toward town again. I kept driving by her to intercept her and turn her around in a futile effort. She got back to the place where I found her about an hour earlier, where she stopped to look longingly at the cows on the field.
I did manage to get her moving back toward the house, with great difficulty. As we passed the next farm's lane she headed up it and I could not turn her around. Finally, she took the bush. Out of frustration and exhaustion, I gave up and went home figuring I would hear when someone spotted her. I was not home ten minute and my farm neighbour was at the door and said that the pig was in his front yard and his wife would not be pleased if the pig rooted up the lawn.
Tired and reluctant I said I would come right over. He and his father on their four wheelers helped me get Ruby moving out the lane until she took the swamp next to the road. They buggered off! I followed her into the swamp. I stumbled after her falling on my face in the wet muck a couple of times. We passed out of the swamp onto a small field next to the lane where we went round and round several times. I finally got her on the laneway again, but as we passed the point where she took the swamp before, she took it again. I followed.
Through the swamp she lay down next to the fence around a field of cows. I needed to lie down too. I was exhausted and my arthritic knees were painful. I left her there and went home for a coffee and a rest. Returning, I first went to town to get some gas for the car before resuming my round-up. At the store, I learned that Ruby had been in town overnight and was spotted several places. The owner of the store said the pig scared him when he heard her early in the morning, thinking she was a bear. He did say, "She is a friendly pig. It seems she likes to be around people." It was from there that she was heading home when I first caught up with her a couple of hours earlier.
I returned to where I left the pig lying down and she was gone. I called and called, "Piggy, piggy, piggy, come! and "sooo. . EEEEEE; sooo. .EEEEEE!" with no luck . Home again for some rest.
I was not home more than 10 minutes and the phone rang. The neighbour. on the edge of town, just beyond the neigbour's farm, called and said the pig was in his yard, (about a mile from home). Reluctantly, and even more exhausted, I drove over only to see the pig coming down the road about 1000 feet from the neighour's place. I went and spoke to him and got him to come and help me on the round-up. He came in his ARGO driving behind the pig and I drove in front tempting her with feed. "Piggy, piggy, piggy, come!" "soooo. . . ..EEEEEEE; soooo. . .EEEEEE." She seemed willing to come home again . It went fairly well.
I still could not get her behind the electric fence.
After a short rest, she headed out across the field to pick up the road, again. I followed her onto the field and chased her around and around the small hill on the field managing to keep her from breaking for the road. Finally, ready to drop from exhaustion, (No, not the pig. . .me!) she slipped by me and headed to the road. I headed for the house and the car so I could head her off again. I got June to drive while I struggled to get the pig turned around. We were only about 1/4 of a mile from the house, still adjacent to my land. When we reached the hill in the road she headed into the bush and field to cut across corner toward the house. I followed and June went on to the house. Then she turned and passed me again out to the road heading away from home again. This time I warched her enter another neighbours lane. When I saw that I returned to the house to get June and the car again. I was beyond exhaustion and could not walk after that sow.
We turned into this neighbour's lane and she was lying resting next to his shed, halfway down the lane. The neighbours were there putting in their garden so he helped me get the pig heading out his lane again. I managed to get her up the hill and down the road passed the neighbour's dogs and home at last for the third time.
Still I could not get her behind the electric fence.
There I sat on a five gallon pail with feed on the ground all around me trying to tempt Ruby to cross the line where the fence was previously strung. She would not cross. Babe, the other pig, must have thought it was her special day with all this extra feed to eat. Just as a fellow drove up to return the buck rabbit I loaned him, with whom I was about seek sympathy by teling him my tale of whoa, Ruby dashed across the line onto the inside of the fenced field. Thus ending Ruby's walkabout.
I had spent most of the day chasing a pig. I began to think "To market, to market you will go!" For now, I am still recovering and live in fear of her next bout of wanderlust.