churchill, act 2

we were sore in spots we didn't know we had from the prior day's events. i had nervous butterflies in the pit of my stomach all day, knowing that there was no getting out of it, no getting around it. churchill had to get in that trailer & i was going to have to convince his 400lbs of nervousness that he wanted to get in that steel box of scary.

we had actually traded that steel box of scary for a big trailer of luxury...and hopefully, much more secure than the last time. churchill isn't wild or mean. he was just scared.  i probably would have mustered superhuman strength too to get out of a steel shaped coffin hurdling down the road at what felt like mach ten.

anyways, feeling a growing sense of confidence about our new plan in the big spacious trailer as time got closer to the inevitable, we tromped back out to the barn with authority in our boots. patty o joined us for the spectacle. all the chickens gathered to peek through the cracks in the wall, all ready for the big show. we gradually took apart the grand fortress we had built the night before to keep him safely tucked into bed. it looked like we we holding a demon possessed something in our self-contructed penitentiary (they don't teach you that on pinterest!).

the plan was to back the trailer right up to the door of the barn, close the gaps with wood and ease him on with the lure of fancy food like banana peels & good old goat's milk. pat was to hold the stall open and block the gap, mom & i were to coax him on with our charm & wit. steve was to stand just outside of the trailer, in case churchill somehow muscled his way out either of the sides as well as run for any last minute crazy ideas.

well, we sweet talked him up and down to no avail. we left trails of food onto the trailer, just out of reach so he would have to step up to get it. he was uneasy. it could have been the sound of the noisy contractors chainsawing and banging away behind us or the constant helicopter drills landing and taking off at the nearby military base. or the chickens heckling him from outside or it could have been the ever fresh memory of yesterday. who knows. but he wasn't buying our most generous offers. we gave him back scratches in all his favourite spots. i even pulled out some pretty awesome baby massage moves (i knew they would come in handy someday... never in a  thousand years thought i'd be using them on a pig but c'est la vie). he was thankful for the massages but not enough to get on the trailer. after an hour of whispering sweet nothings into his ear, i reached for his love language.... bread... a pig after my own heart. i dipped it in goat's milk and paraded it around the top half of the trailer like it was champagne. he just looked up at me, with those sweet hazel eyes full of pity for a woman who would go to such lengths for a mere pig. i looked down at my phone and we had a whole 8 minutes before i had to leave to go get the kids from school. my mom reminded me of an old tarp trick we had seen on pinterest. i didn't recall the tarp trick exactly, but in a bit of a hurried panic pretended that i did and ripped a blue tarp out of a pile of construction built up against the house. i marched with gusto back into his pen & pulled out the tarp behind him and started flapping & shouting & flailing like a lunatic, loudly proclaiming sounds which have never had such utterance before in an attempt to scare the life out of the stubborn hog. it didn't work. i did scare everyone else though. after my grand production, steve poked his head around the trailer and matched by the confused looks on both pat, mom & churchill's face, said "um, what are you doing?". "i thought this is what i was supposed to do with the tarp" i said, meekishly, suddenly realizing that wasn't the tarp trick they were thinking of. i recovered the small scraps left of my dignity, folded the tarp into a tarp wall and with mom's assistance, walked behind churchill as a united effort and he trotted right up onto the trailer without incident in a matter of seconds. i secretly don't think it was the tarp wall trick that convinced him, but sheer respect for a woman sold out to her pig. we slammed those doors fast and buckled them tight. and we all let out an enormous sigh. steve pulled forward slowly, so as not to spook churchill to busting clear through the wall again, only to realize the van was stuck. we had unwisely tethered the trailer to our mini van and that poor van, after trips with bucks and goats and chickens, not to mention the four kids, had seen better days. we still had our balled winter tires on and they weren't fans of the barnyard muck. steve quickly mcgyvered a plan of using the old jeep to tow the van that was towing the trailer. it worked and he was on his way... with his rifle this time, just in case we had any highway emergencies. the trailer swayed back and forth, with churchill's uneasiness the whole way but steve made it across the finish line and united churchill with his new harem of sows.

still ever so nervous, i reluctantly left to go and grab the kids from school. it wasn't until i was stepping out my car next to professional parents stepping out of their spotless suvs, that i realized i was in poopy coveralls, smelly rubber boots and yet again pig plop splatter all over my face and then it hit me, that churchill was gone forever. that stubborn but loveable pig was gone and my heart hurt for just a moment.

i am relieved that churchill made his final destination but i do find myself strangely sentimental about him. steve say churchill's landed the jackpot dream job and i know that it is true. his new owners were super impressed with his manners and his beautiful colouring and they swore up and down that he had to be at least 500lbs. their instant love of him made it easier. i don't know why i sometimes have such a hard time letting go of things but i just do. it can be hard to say good-bye sometimes, even in the best of circumstances.

after all, he really was "some pig".


...and this little pig went to market and this little pig stayed home

this is my vow to the earth and all above and below that i will never, ever again trust a pig as long as i shall live. ever. i will never commit to transporting them, fraternize with them, deal or dabble in them ever again. and certainly never 400lb+ pigs.

churchill was the first animal to move into the farm. he moved in a month before we did. he was so small and scared but those eyes. those hazel eyes got me right from the start. we stuck with him as he acquainted himself with the electric fence for the first time. as we stood back and marvelled at our electric fence masterpiece, we flicked the switch and watched as he backed his manhood straight into the very electrified fence and then shot clear through the other end of the fence. it took us an hour to get him back in. and then repeated the whole thing the next day multiple times. but we stuck with him.

we stuck with him when those boy parts quadrupaled into the size of melons & we breifly considered devising a makeshift protective & supportive bra for those bad boys as the girls became extra fascinated with them and we thought his manhood to precious to risk. we stuck with him when he decided to have pig party and rip out all the feed buckets, waterers and the entire barn wall as well as the gate too many times to count and often in -40 degree weather.

but my affection for him grew as i would drive past our field to find churchill sprawled out in his glory while my mom, distracted from her fencing work, gave him a big belly scratch. or how he and major the 17h horse became best friends, often following each other around the field and found snoozing in the long bits of grass side by side. i have always had a soft spot for this pig. but not today.

the time had come. he had done his job on the farm and a decision needed to be made. the freezer or the market? uncastrated pigs often produce funky meat (and i secretly couldn't bare the thought of our farm sweetheart meeting an untimely end as a hotdog) so we sold him as breeding stock. and as per his size, we included delivery, confident that my sweet, darling of a pig surely wouldn't be a problem.

we borrowed a box crate from a neighbour to load in the back of our trailer, just barely big enough. the neighbour had advised us, with a certain devious chuckle, to spend the extra time thinking out the process of getting him into the metal box without getting him too excited because if he escaped we would never get him back. we took his advice, and carefully prepared a comfy, straw filled crate with loads of favourite foods to entice him into the small space and made a makeshift but strong maze of chutes to feed him into the box, hopefully without incident.

our first job was to separate him from the girls, who had made a colossal sized lake of poo-mud all around the gate, so thick that i sunk helplessly to the top of my boots upon entering. after several unsuccessful attempts at keeping the other three keen and affection girls away from me and the gate and getting churchill through the gate, my mom, always up for an adventure, jumped in to help. i transformed into a ninja giving warning kicks constantly into the air to keep the girls away (worse than kickboxing bootcamp!) while she enticed him through the gate with a bucket of treats. we slammed the pen gate behind him and quickly began securing it with binder twine so the other three rambunctious pigs would stay contained now anxiously separated from there lover. churchill took advantage of our split second distraction and casually ploughed through opposite gate, over a bag of feed and into an aligning pen which happened to house a delicate duck sitting on a nest full of eggs set to hatch any day now  as well as a wide open door to the wild, blue yander.  i may have sworn. loudly. we both jumped into the other pen to both slam the escape door and simultaneously distract him from eating the precious mama duck right off her nest. mom quickly grabbed an open dish of duck food while speaking sweetly in high tones of loveliness & calm to cox him back through the gate. he loved her sweet talking so much he followed her right onto the ramp and almost into the box until he changed his mind. i shut the barn door, unintentionally locking my mom onto the very small ramp with churchill who suddenly realized he didn't like this plan. he tried to back through the door, which i was holding shut with every ounce of strength i had left, after ninja kicking for 15 minutes straight. he threw our side chutes with ease while steve frantically tried to secure them down. in a brave move of solidarity, i jumped the door and joined her on the very small ramp. we calmly scratched his back & sung sweet songs of his greatness which seem to make him more upset. in the most courageous, swift move i have ever had the privilege of witnessing, my mom, grabbed him by the tail and "wheelbarrowed" him right into the crate, not at all afraid of the consequences that could ensue cranking a pigs tail that high. we barricaded the crate door by laying our lives across it until we could secure the bolt and then stuffed three solid bales of hay between the back of the trailer and the back of the crate, just in case.  we laugh-cried with relief. we had done it. we had done the impossible. moving a 400lb+ pig willfully into a small metal box.

we drew straws for who was going to have to drive him an hour and a half away to his forever home. i lost but i begged mom to go with me just incase. i quickly ran back to the house to grab my phone to text the expectant owners that we were on our way as steve pulled the trailer up to the top of the farm gate. i no sooner pressed send when i heard the van beeping frantically. i opened the back door and out of my mouth came a sound only steve can imitate, as my eyes beheld the scene before me. steve was running for his life to shut the main farm gate and churchill had charged through the side of the metal crate and was now at large and unhappy & offended about our suggestion that we were no longer his home, sweet, home. he had a little wander here and there until he followed us like a little puppy into a nearby barn where we safely barricaded him in until the inevitable morning when we would rinse and repeat the entire charade. well... hopefully not the entire charade.

i ran back up to the house after i realized i hadn't seen our four kids in a while and upon entering the mudroom, davith met me at the door and before i could say a word, he said "don't worry mom! i got it under control. i knew it was an emergency when you screamed and i put myself in charge. i did 1000 minutes playing downstairs with them and now we are playing a safe game of hide-and-seek". i hugged that little-big boy so hard...which is when i realized i was literally covered entirely with pig plop. all over my face. all over my phone. all over everything. i scampered up the stairs to take a quick shower before making dinner. it turned out a little someone was hiding behind the toilet (she's the best at hide-and-seek so i didn't realize she was there until a few minutes had past). i peeked my head out from behind the shower curtain to say a quick hello to liv, when she said "mommy, why you earrings poopy?" and then i laughed, and then i cried.

i shook from the tip of my head to the top of my toe once i realized we were moments away from a highway disaster. i have no idea how we're going to get him back into any trailer of any sort or how i could ever again confidently transport my pig with superhero strength and talents down any road, non-the-less and hour and half into unknown terrain. but let's leave that to tomorrow.

i will never, ever again... until tomorrow.