We were in the middle of dinner when we remembered that the pigs still had to be moved. It was about 6pm. Dad and oldest Son had headed off to Georgia on a father-son adventure that morning and so we women folk were holding down the fort. Of course we had a list to help us remember all the things that Dad and oldest Son do, (They sure do a lot!) and then we remembered that one last thing we had forgotten; moving the pigs. So off we trooped to complete the task. Middle Sister had spent an hour or more creating the new paddock and now all that was left was to shoo them in, right? Wrong. Their shelter still needed to be pulled into the new pen, that was easy enough, the only problem was that it had been there for a while and after rain and piggy mud puddles on hot days, the shelter had turned into something of a castle surrounded by a moat. Hills of nice, packed dirt rose up steeply on the insides of the shelter creating a stubbornly rooted abode. Using the tractor we appropriated the front loader to lift the shelter over the hills. Now the shelter was pretty heavy and caused the back tires of the tractor to lift slightly (With second Sister still in the seat) sending Mom and oldest Daughter into a slight panic. Second Daughter assured them that she had the situation well in hand. After pushing at the front end of the shelter she made her way around the moat to the other side and pushed at that end. The back end was really stuck and didn’t appear to want to give at all.
“We’ll just have to expand their current pen and give them some more pasture” Someone said.
“But Dad said he didn’t want them tearing up that part of the pasture.” Middle Sister said, gesturing to the new paddock she had set up on the other side, “I set up the new paddock where he wanted it.”
“Well, he’s not here to give us advice on the shelter,” Someone shot back. (He was also out of cell range)
Middle sister, who had worked so hard on the paddock that afternoon, among her other chores, began to get teary.
“Its ok!” I comforted, stretching out my hand towards her.
“No its not!” She said, rubbing at her eyes with a short, jerking motion. (We had now been working on this project for about an hour.)
Second Sister saw the tears from her perch on the tractor and the Stone-Wall Wilson gene kicked in. A determined gleam shone in her eye as she pushed the tractor into gear and gave orders for little brother to run up and grab her boots. (Did I forget to mention that the majority of us were wearing flip-flops. Yep. Just call us the flip flop farmers)
Up crept the tractor tires again as she used the front loader to lift the back of the shelter over the hump. After much lifting and pushing and shoving the shelter was successfully dislodged from the hill and over the moat. We cheered. surely the next part, moving the pigs, wouldn’t be so bad. About that time, brother came running back with the boots and the pig round-up began. The herding them up wasn’t so bad, we got them up to the edge of their old paddock just fine and then they came to a dead stop. They refused to cross the line. Now, if you’ve ever been out to our farm and walked back to see the pigs, you’ve probably noticed that all it takes is a little old bitty wire to keep them in. When moved to a new paddock, it only takes about one or two times for them to find the fence, realize, “ouch, this thing bites!” and then they are (pretty much) forever trained to never cross the line. Well, here we are trying to move them, we’ve removed the wire at that corner but they won’t cross the invisible line. We coaxed and pleaded. We ran up to the house and found some succulent watermelon rinds, but to no avail. They settled themselves right down in the corner and started digging around in the dirt, just inches away from their new paddock. We started to press them a little, urging them to cross the line, then the pigs started getting nervous and then, oops! One broke through the ranks and dashed back to the far corner of the old paddock, followed by the rest of the herd. We repeated this process about three more times. Time is ticking, the sun has disappeared behind the trees and the mosquitoes are starting to get bad.
To be continued…