Holding Eddie's bowl at just the right angle so she can eat comfortably and stay covered up
Well, dear reader, it has been a Monday to top all Mondays! At seven o'clock this morning, The Bibbed Wonder stuck his head in the door and yelled, "Hey-yo! I need help!" That never bodes well…ever. Eric's now elderly pig, Eddie, short for Edwina, was injured in a nasty fight with Cleetus, the boar. Her back leg appears to be stoved up and sore. Eddie has had enough of Cletus and his picking, antagonizing, and tormenting. Earlier in the week, she moved outside to sleep in the hay bales to escape Cletus. I get that; I do. Cletus is not happy unless he has everyone stirred up and fussing. He is the source of all the barn drama.
In Eddie's attempt to escape the annoying Cletus, she moves outside only to be followed and tormented by Cletus. Eddie ended up in the middle of the field in a mud waddle. We believe that she could not maneuver out of the mud waddle with her injured leg and got stuck. Eric needed me to help him get Big Ed out of the mud. I wore my rubber muck boots out into the field. As I carefully tried to get on the other side of Eddie to help her stand, my boot got stuck in the mud. When I say stuck, I mean I was S-T-U-C-K! Eric had to get off the tractor to help me "unstuck" myself. I could break the suction from my left foot and plant it on the bank of the waddle. I balanced on one foot with The Bibbed Wonder's help, pulled my foot out of the boot, and had him free the boot from the vacuum the muck and water created. My boot came loose with a satisfying slurp. Much to my annoyance, pulling myself from the suction of the mud made me pee a little…. I announced loudly, "Dammit, I peed!" Once out of the mud, I slid my foot back inside the boot and tried to avoid going back into the mud. I'm sure The Bibbed Wonder had all kinds of unpleasant thoughts about me as I got stuck in the mud. Sigh…
There was simply no way we would get Big Ed out of the mud without the aid of large equipment. We created a sling of sorts with two tow ropes. One rope was around Eddie's waist, and the other was just behind her front legs. Trying to get Eddie to stand long enough to get the tow ropes around her was a feat in itself. Once the tow ropes were in place, Eric attached them to the tractor's bucket. He then lifted her as gently as he could from the mud. I stood off to the side, spotting her as he slowly lifted her from the sucking mud puddle. If she had just been still, all would have been well. However, pigs are not known for their cooperation or calmness.
The noises Eddie made were nothing short of frightening. Angry pigs, injured pigs, annoyed pigs, playful pigs, horny pigs, and hungry pigs sound like monsters. Their voices are so low, so loud, and quite frightening. I'm sure our neighbors were wondering what was going on. The noise was so unnerving that I dribbled in my drawers just a bit…again…sigh. Poor Eddie dangled in midair, squealing like, well, a stuck hog…stuck like couldn't move, not stabbed. The other girls and Cletus were roused from their slumber and came sauntering across the field to investigate.
Pigs protect their own. They are fierce in their protection of each other. Once they saw poor Eddie hanging just above the ground, fighting furiously to free herself, they came charging across the field. As they got closer, The Bibbed Wonder yelled, "Get in the tractor! Hurry up!" I did not waste a second. As I stood precariously hanging onto the side of the tractor, Eric yelled, "Get down! Get down! Get down!" I then jumped down from the tractor footrest; he threw the tractor in the park and jumped down to literally beat the pigs away from Eddie.
Pigs are jerks. They are like older siblings in that they can beat up and torment each other, but no one else better mess with them. If one shows weakness, they will be knocked about and bullied until they are injured or even die. Cletus knocked Eddie about from the back while one of the Large Black Hogs picked at her from the side. Eric had to kick them both in the snout to chase them off. Charlotte, who is the least trustworthy in temperament, charged at Eric. She, too, was met with a swift kick to the snout. Eric does not make it practice to knock about any of the animals. Like people, all animals respond well to kindness, gentleness, and patience. However, in this precarious situation, extreme measures were needed. The pigs looked insulant and slightly put out, but they cleared the way and left Eddie and Eric alone.
We got Eddie carried to the goat side of the pasture field, the gate shut and locked, without any other pigs making it over. Once away from the other pigs, Eric lowered Eddie to the ground, hoping she would walk to the barn on her own accord. Unfortunately, this is not the way things went. Big Ed was able to walk maybe twenty feet on her own. Exhausted, cold, and injured, she lay down and refused to get up. We allowed her to rest for ten minutes and then tried to help her to her feet. Again, she growled, squealed, and bellered, stirring up the other pigs safely on the other side of the gate. After much encouragement, explanation, and gentle pats, we understood that getting her to the barn with her abilities was impossible.
Again, we created a sling out of the tow ropes and gently lifted Eddie just off the ground. Eric slowly made his way to the barn while I spotted Eddie, ensuring the ropes did not slide, or her feet dragged on the ground. It felt like it took us forever to get her just a few yards. The Bibbed Wonder would gently lower her to the ground every few yards to give her a bit of a rest. It took us forty minutes to make it halfway across the pasture field. I ran ahead to open the barn doors, let the goats out, and shoo them away from the barn doors so we could get Eddie inside the barn.
Once Eddie was within just a few feet of the barn door, she began to struggle. Eric gently lowered her to the ground. We quickly removed the ropes, and Eddie clumsily made her way inside the barn to the back, where a large pile of hay awaited her. Once she settled in, we covered her with a blanket of hay, shooed the goats back outside, closed the barn doors, and gave Big Ed a large bowl of feed mixed with warm goat's milk and marshmallows. Eddie ate until she was satiated, then began making a nest in the hay and settling in comfortably.
Besides a few brush burns from the tow rope, Eddie appears unscathed. She has a small gash on her left hip, probably from being bitten by one of her bunkmates. It appears to be scabbed over and merely superficial. It is her hip that seems to be giving her the most trouble. Pigs are not known for their gentleness or empathy. I'm sure once Eddie showed weakness, she had a target on her. Now, safely removed from the other pigs, she can rest, relax, and heal peacefully. The goats give all the pigs a relatively wide berth but avoid Eddie in particular. She is not the most pleasant creature on the farm on a good day.
Once she settled into her new quarters, she was content to make a nest, bury herself in the hay, and commence sleeping. It was a very stressful morning. If I had had my wits about me, I would have snapped a picture of poor Eddie hanging precariously in midair. However, there was too much going on and too many angry pigs to deal with to take the time for a photo op. I also don't believe Eddie would like to be photographed in such an undignified pose—our poor Eddie.
After getting Eddie settled, I took my Heavy-B for a walk. I knew two people we allow to hunt on the property had gotten deer over the weekend. Two successful hunts mean two large gut piles. Bus, of course, sniffed out the gut piles and gorged himself on them. I love my boy, but he is disgusting. Just as I sat down to begin writing my blog, I heard the horrible sound of Buster getting sick in the living room. I jumped up to try to get him outside, but alas, I was too late. I walked into the living room to find the most enormous pile of vomit I have ever seen. Since I am recovering from a three-day bout of stomach flu, this did not sit well with me. I can't think of anything else to polish off such a glorious morning…sigh.
After I share my tale of woe with you, I look forward to a long hot shower with some fresh-smelling goat's milk soap. My scent of preference is Comfort and Joy. Anything will smell better than a pig or dog vomit. After a morning such as this, I honestly think I could sell everything and move to a condo on a tropical beach. However, think of how boring life would be. Who would entertain you with tails of pigs hanging off the tractor like a pinata, gross dogs doing gross dog things, and, of course, goat's milk soap? It is a heavy burden I bear to entertain you, dear reader. On this chilly December day, stay safe, be smart, help even grumpy old piggies if needed, keep your dog leashed during and after hunting season, and wash your hands for the love of all that's holy. After all, there is a nasty stomach bug going around.