Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Tight Fit!

These are our Berkshire piglets grazing for sheep nuts alongside the Ryeland lambs, the largest of which is Daffodil who was bottle fed and the only survivor of the four bottle fed lambs from last spring.

Patches confirmed a rule of smallholding first thing this morning, that an animal can get itself through a hole half their body size. Well she confirmed a variation of the rule actually and by the time I found her she was a good way along the road to piggie heaven. Her neck is thicker than my thigh and somehow she managed to get her head through a hay net hole some four inch square. Where she had dug this up from remains a mystery but it was clear from her distress and difficulty in breathing that unless some help was given soon she wouldn't need any help at all.

Worse still she had twisted the rest of the net around her body, it was dark and to top it all I was carrying a bucket of pig pellets. For a moment hunger overtook panic and she lunged at the bucket tripping over in the mesh and tightening the grip around her neck. I usually have on my belt a sheath knife, in fact I am so used to carrying it I wandered into town last weekend with it still attached. Halfway down the highstreet I realised and spent the other half conspicuously pulling my coat down over my buttocks to hide the offensive weapon. Actually given the locality I could have pulled it out, brandished it around and no one would have batted an eyelid.

Anyway back to the pig in crisis, she lying on the floor of the sty squealing wrapped in the net like an extra in Gladiator, me knelt over her with my huge weapon drawn, looking much like Russell Crowe, trying to find something to cut in the dark. First wild stab in the dark and I was grateful I had not ever sharpened the blade as I sliced a chunk off my finger. I managed to get the blade between pig and nylon cordage of the net and began to cut her free. Patches did not react like the Aesop's fable lion caught in the net freed by the mouse, she did not lie still patiently waiting to be released. I suppose it might have felt like I was strangling her as I pulled the blade and sawed back and forth. She went mental, and squealing erm well squealing like an about to be stuck pig bit my already bleeding hand and suddenly free of the net ran around the sty shouting her contempt until she remembered the bucket of feed, dived in and consoled herself with food.

Gratitude is not one of her traits.

If you want gratitude get a dog.
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