A pig’s din­ner of rou­tine

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Some­times rou­tine jobs on a rou­tine day take a less rou­tine turn. With Jock away at dog tri­als I walked to the ken­nels one evening to run and feed the re­main­der of his team left at home.

It’s a fa­mil­iar rou­tine of let­ting en­er­getic dogs off for en­thu­si­as­tic ex­er­cise , feed­ing pel­lets to pigs, shut­ting the team up with their tea.

It was driz­zling as I opened the doors and let an­i­mated an­i­mals race off for time out and toi­let . Push­ing the feed shed door open to get pig tucker re­vealed a four­legged su­per sur­prise.

A large black sow stuck in­side was rel­ish­ing rolls of dog sausage. The prob­lem be­ing that the latch wasn’t strong, so pres­sure from a push­ing pig swung the door in­wards, then op­er­ated like a cray­fish pot swing­ing back trap­ping the cul­prit.

We have pet pigs, liv­ing in pad­docks not pens so free to widely roam and oc­ca­sion­ally find a hole in a fence or un­der a gate. She was very happy to be in there. I wasn’t so pleased.

Quickly prod­ding her out I shut the door on the mess of chewed plas­tic wrap­pers, slob­bered sausages and spilt biscuits. Sow wasn’t happy to be out­side but dogs were and great ex­cite­ment started.

Thank­fully we don’t have close neigh­bours lis­ten­ing. Bark­ing, yelling, hol­ler­ing, snarling, grunt­ing, shout­ing , run­ning and puff­ing en­sued by porcine, ca­nines and hu­man . Even­tu­ally I man­aged sem­blance of con­trol as I closed the gate sep­a­rat­ing pig back in pad­dock and dogs out.

I traipsed back up the hill in the rain to carry on with rou­tine job in hand.

Push­ing the feed shed door open to get pig pel­lets sur­pris­ingly re­vealed an­other four-legged sur­prise – a large red sow stuck in­side rel­ish­ing re­mains of black sow feast.

Wiser this time I slammed the door leav­ing pig still in­side and locked all dogs up. Smart move I thought as I ex­tracted se­cond sow from shed and scooped pel­lets into a bucket to tempt her to fol­low me down the hill.

Pour­ing with rain by then. Hand­i­capped with soggy elas­ticwaisted pants drag­ging down­wards I ran as quickly as I could back down the hill for se­cond time, slith­er­ing on wet ground. One hand held strides up, one hand kept bucket out of reach of en­thu­si­as­tic sow fol­low­ing hard on my muddy heels.

Fi­nally, I shut the gate on pig pad­dock again. Very glad we don’t have close neigh­bours watch­ing.

Sloshed back up the hill, pushed the feed shed open for the third time. Thank­fully find­ing no more live­stock stuck in­side I fi­nally fed pel­lets to weaner pigs, col­lected half eaten dog rolls for dog’s din­ners, left the rest of the mess for next day job, found the gate where pigs had es­caped, trudged back to house.

Clutch­ing sat­u­rated pants but no longer any dig­nity my re­turn home was much later than ex­pected for sim­ple ev­ery evening rou­tine.

Note to self to wear wet weather gear even for quick rou­tine job. Note to boss about ur­gent re­pairs re­quired to strengthen latch on dog food shed.

Af­ter I was show­ered , clothes were washed and some sem­blance of rou­tine re­turned and so did my hu­mour. I re­alised again that things don’t al­ways go to plan to­day but there’s al­ways an­other day of ‘‘rou­tine’’ to­mor­row , plus new fod­der for a funny story when folk ask what-i –do-on-the-farm.

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