Whew. Mitchell and I finally find ourselves sitting down in the living room together after putting the kids to bed with a little free time. This cool air and earlier sunsets are a welcome respite from the frenzy of summer. I tell myself that not every summer will be as busy as this one was. After all, not every summer will we be required to set up fencing and a garden plot, coordinate a complete rebuilding of the foundation under the barn, replace the wood stove, build chicken tractors, seed pasture… the list goes on. Oh yeah – and all of this with a new baby in the backpack. Now, I am under no misconception that we won’t be busy here on the Jones Farm every summer, but maybe in the summers to come, when things are a bit more established, we will at least feel like we can come up for air once or twice.
When life gets busy, certain things take priority, and others are shuffled down the to-do list for another day. Mowing the lawn was one of these perpetually shuffled tasks; always present on the to-do list. While I love the look (and smell) of a freshly mowed lawn, Mitchell couldn’t care less if the lawn is mowed with any frequency at all. In fact, he sees it as a waste of carbon, and thinks long grass is great non-game species habitat. Fortunately, for whatever reason, the sheep will not graze the grass directly surrounding the house, or it would be pasture and I wouldn’t have any lawn to mow. For these reasons, along with the fact that I enjoy doing it, I am the one who mows the grass. Last Saturday I decided that I would not shuffle this task down the list one more time, and invited my mom over for some “Nan” time with the kids while I took care of the lawn. Well, as you can imagine, after being neglected for a couple weeks in a row, our grass had become, well, luscious. There isn’t a whole lot of lawn to mow, so I cannot justify a ride on lawnmower. Besides, I am young and able, and enjoy the exercise. However, this long grass was giving the push mower a run for its money. I hadn’t completed the first pass along the edge of the garden fence when the mower deck clogged with cut grass and the engine quit. “Great. This won’t take long at all *eye roll*” As I walked around to un-clog the grass, I heard a very strange sound coming from Reuben’s (the pig’s) pasture. I decided I’d better see what he was up to. And it was a good thing I did.
We set circular rubber tubs in the middle of a big tire to hold the pigs’ water. The tire makes it heavy enough so they can’t just flip the tub over as soon as we fill it. Well, somehow, Rueben had managed to flip the tire up, push out the rubber tub, and was wearing the tire like a tu-tu. (I was really quite upset with myself that I didn’t think to take a picture, but Mitchell pointed out that he was glad that my first response was to take action instead of a picture.) Now, to say that Reuben is a big pig is an understatement. I knew right away that this was not a one person job and went inside to get my mom. Luckily, my mom was here (and she is one of the most determined people I know – an excellent candidate for the job), and both the kids happened to be napping at the time, so we were able to give our full attention to the task at hand.
The tire was very tight around his middle. He had clearly been working for a while to try to get it off … in the wrong direction. Now, because Reuben is such a big pig (quite obese, to be honest) he couldn’t bring himself to expend the energy necessary to run away from us. Instead, he just stood there squealing at the top of his lungs anytime we touched him or the tire. We could not get that tire to budge. It was smack dab in the middle of his barrel shaped torso. We had to decide on a direction to go with it though, and ultimately decided that back over his head would be best. We pushed, we pulled, Reuben screamed, we considered trying to cut it off, decided that plan had a couple flaws, pushed some more, and finally got it to budge. We were able to work the tire back towards his head until it was just behind his front legs. Now what? First we tried to lift one of his front legs to push the tire past it, but that proved to be a massive misunderstanding of Reuben’s weight. Then, we thought we might try to push him over on his side – another miscalculation. In the end, we just kept pushing. We pushed the top of the tire down over his head and he was able to step out. He then finally stopped screaming and collapsed on the ground where he took some time to recover from all of the excitement. We were quite covered in pig mud, and quite glad to have solved such a ridiculous problem.
I took a gamble and put the water tub back inside the tire and filled it back up – they say that pigs are the smartest domesticated animals, and if that’s the case, the chances that he’ll find himself in the same predicament again are slim. My mom went back inside to wait for the kids to wake up, and I returned to fighting with the lawn mower.
I didn’t finish the lawn that day, but like I said, some things take priority.