Lost. Found. Never Really Lost In The First Place?

Jerry is backJerry Swinefeld, the 700ish pound Hampshire hog that calls Tails You Win Farm his home, is a bit of a Houdini hog. Seriously. Yesterday he vanished into thin air. And this morning?

Yep, snoring away in his stall, right where he should be.

How the hell does he do that?

This creature is larger than my smallest horse. Larger than my miniature donkeys. Big enough to command a little respect from even our big horses and mule. He sends coyotes running in terror. And yet, he can just seemingly pop in and out of existence on a whim.

Maybe he really is a magical pig. Maybe I’m actually a witch and I just don’t know it! It’s my own little Harry Potter world. Harry Potter had an owl as his special, magical companion. Figures I would get a giant, lumbering hog.

But I’m not the one with the magic. It’s all on Jerry. Yesterday, he disappeared; he was no where to be found. He did not answer when Jim whistled, as he normally does (that whistle means dinner). He did not answer when I called out for him, as he sometimes does if he feels like it. He was not napping in any of his favorite hideouts.

However, today when I went to look for him again, I found him sound asleep, back inside his stall, inside the barn, inside his fenced pasture.

Huh.

Well, no harm done (as far as I know). I checked on Jim’s cherished, still-ripening, late-season tomatoes and they were all present and accounted for. Whew.

You see, I wasn’t really too concerned about Jerry being lost. He’s a big boy and can take care of himself. I was more worried what havoc he might be wreaking in an unsuspecting world. One year he took a bite out of every cantaloupe Jim had growing in his garden. He didn’t just pluck one and eat it. Nope, he did the Goldilocks routine: This one isn’t ripe enough, this one is too ripe, this one is just right.

But so far it appears he truly just went on a little walk-about, as one friend suggested. Then he apparently got sleepy and magically popped back inside his fence. Poof!

I suspect his magic has more to do with “hey, look what happens when I shove all 700 solid pounds of myself against this fence” than it does with magic wands and invisibility cloaks. That means I need to head back out to the barn with some tools to see what damage has been done. You’d think a hog-sized hole in the fence wouldn’t be too hard to find, but there have been times when we never could figure out his escape route.

Delta and Ferris

Delta Dawnkey and Ferris Muler on a sleepy Sunday morning.

In the meantime, Jerry got to have a bite of breakfast and I got to enjoy a lovely early morning visit to the barn. My horsey friends will understand this immediately. There is nothing better than visiting with your horses/donkeys/mule in the night or in the early morning. It’s a very serene time in the barn and so very good for my soul.

The flies are still asleep (do flies sleep?), the temperature is pleasant, and everyone still seems a bit drowsy. The start to this Sunday was rainy and gray, no spectacular sunrise to light the day, but that just made the inside of the barn seem even cozier. I spent some great quiet time just moving from animals to animal, saying good morning, and giving scratches in all the right places.

Horse lips quivered in appreciation. Ferris Muler played with the hood of my sweatshirt as he always does. My miniature horse rubbed his head on my hip (I’m a great scratching post). My big red appaloosa, Dublin, put his nose against my cheek for a thorough sniff.

I’m pretty sure I now have horse slobber on my face. My clean jeans are now filthy. My hoodie may have some carrot crumbles hiding in it. And I’m starting the day with a huge, relaxed grin on my face.

All is right in our world today. I got the boost that even good old caffeine can’t deliver. And it’s all thanks to a mischievous, sneaky pig.

Yesterday I believe I ended my post with the worlds “dammit Jerry.” Today I think I’ll end with something a little different.

Thanks, Jerry. (Now stay put, damn you!)

And in This Corner…

Jerry at the porch

Jerry Swinefeld in his full glory.

In the straw-filled corner, weighing in at approximately EIGHT huuundred pounds, it’s the ravenous, no-meal-is-too-big, porker from the pasture…Jerrrrrryyyyyy “The Haaaaaam” Swiiiiinefeeeeld. And in the dusty corner, weighing in at 100-someodd pounds (Seriously? As if I would go ANYWHERE near the scales within a month of the most gluttonous holiday season of the year.) it’s Naaaaancy “I have a Big Stick” Gaaaaallimooooore.

I understand if you think this match sounds a tad one-sided, but I have a big stick. A really big stick. Let me explain.

Among the many animals living at Tails You Win Farm you will find two rather large, fabulous hogs. Spamela Anderson is the grand dam of the place. She has been a fixture in our lives for nearly 12 years, since the day she was liberated from our city animal shelter, thereby escaping certain fate as a slab of bacon.

Jerry Swinefeld is our younger hog. He came to us through a pig rescue group (yes, they exist) after escaping a vicious dog attack as a young pig and hiding in the woods for two days with open, infected wounds including one ear completely torn off. How terrible, you say? Not so much. One ear forever lost…one long, comfortable life forever gained.

Jerry and Spammy

The good old days…Spammy was still at her physical peak and Jerry was younger and smaller.

Back to our lopsided match. The bout described in paragraph one came to fruition because Spamela is an older gal, and Jerry is in his porcine prime. They get along very nicely nine times out of 10. They snuggle together in the straw on cold winter nights. They root in their pasture together. They wallow in the mud together on hot summer days.

And then there’s mealtime.

All love is lost when it comes to jockeying for position at the dinner trough. Years ago, when Jerry was a young whippersnapper, Spamela ruled the pigsty with no problem. She was a benevolent queen. As long as she got to eat first, at her choice of the feeders, all was well. This was back when she was a big gal tipping the scales somewhere over 800 pounds herself.

Spammy profile

Sweet Spammy

Now, however, Spammy is growing old. By the way, it took a bit of research to uncover the natural life expectancy of a hog. Good grief we do love our bacon. FINALLY, I discovered that a pig can live to be a teenager…16 years being the maximum life expectancy. For the larger hogs, like Spamela, that maximum may be a bit lower. So having nearly reached 12 years, Spammy is, well, she is definitely in her golden years.

With age, Spammy is also growing smaller. She is a bit of a little old lady pig at this point.

Jerry, on the other hand, can be summed up in two words: FREAKING HUGE. Seriously. This hog is massive. He would make your jaw drop if you stood near him. That is, if you were brave enough to stand near him.  Appearances aside (and Jim’s opinion aside), he really is a sweet hog. He likes to have his tummy scratched. He likes to have his back scratched. He likes to have his chin scratched. See a pattern here?

But, all scratch-the-sweet-piggy stories aside, the life stage and body condition differences bring us squealing back to the “Thrilla with Hogzilla” moment in the barn last night. It is safe to say that Jerry officially discovered the chink in the armor that once gave Spamela the upper hoof in the feeding chain.

Whereas once upon a time Jerry would have never challenged Spamela, now, my formidable friend has decided that whatever his pink counterpart is eating SURELY must be tastier than what he has been served. Dinnertime, if left to the big guy’s plan, has become a giant game of musical troughs and Spamela is definitely being shorted by the eating machine that is Jerry Swinefeld.

So that’s where I decided to step in. Yes, me and my very big stick.

I position myself between 800+ pound Jerry and the “dainty” Spamela. Somehow, armed with my very big stick, I manage to convince Jerry to simply enjoy his very adequate dinner, thereby allowing dear Spammy to eat in peace at her own pace.

Some call the idea of fending off King Hog in this manner over-the-top dedication (actually…none but me have called it that). Some call it bravery (again, not so many). Some call it absolutely-f’ing-have-you-lost-your-mind-nuts (there it is!).

But hey! It’s a REALLY big stick and I shake it at him. I hit the ground with it. Sometimes I give him a little smack in the butt with it. How can this not work?

Vegas odds makers are skewing things heavily (pun intended) in Jerry’s favor, but I still say the smart money is on me. I am David to Jerry’s Goliath. I won the first round, I will win again. I really will. (Saying that as much for my benefit as yours.)

Let’s all forget last fall’s story of a mafia hit man tossing a rival mafia boss into a pen of hungry hogs where the evidence was quickly and completely obliterated. Yes. Let’s forget that story.

Another feeding time approaches. Gotta run get my stick. See you later. Hopefully. (I joke! Good piggy. Goooooood piggy?)

Peace in the barn

Peace in the barn