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Wayward boar hog turns out to be a lover, not a fighter

September 12, 2011|By TIM ROWLAND
  • Tim Rowland
Tim Rowland

“Oh” is such an innocent-sounding word. Used in casual indifference, mainly, it’s the verbal equal to the ellipse.

Except at Little Farm by the Creek, where “Oh,” as it is generally exclaimed by Beth, is an indicator that the world as I know it is about to cave in. “Oh” can mean anything from the water softener sheared a line and the basement is full of water to three pistons just fell out the bottom of the pickup tuck.

So when Beth took two steps out of the office last week, gave a little start and said “Oh,” I sensed trouble.

I was right. A lot of trouble was standing out in the yard in the form of the mountainous boar hog named Chester, calmly snorting up chicken feed like it was cocaine. His mate, Tillie, also had escaped, but (being the smarter of the two) she was easier to get back into the pen, even though she was probably the ringleader in the escape effort.

This left me to face off with Chester. Beth, placed in this all-too-frequent scenario, generally has two questions: “How can I most efficiently control this animal?” and “How can I most efficiently control my husband?” who by this time has blown his stack.

Fortunately for everyone, she had to head out for an appointment at that moment, leaving the farm to two massively ticked-off creatures, who proceeded to chase each other around for a half-hour.

And that’s when Chester first saw Magellan, the massive pet Duroc (neutered) male hog that resides in the south pasture. I’d heard about apocalyptic fights between male hogs, so my heart sank. And sure enough, Chester bristled up and trotted over to Magellan’s pen.

There, better than half a ton of porcine sound and fury faced off. To my horror, they stood jowl to jowl, snout to snout, tusk to tusk, and locked eyes for a full 15 seconds and then — promptly fell in love.

I kid you not, little valentines were floating out of their skulls the way they do in the cartoons. They grunted affectionately, and sniffed and nuzzled. Who knows what other godless stuff they might have gotten involved in if there hadn’t been a heavy-gauge fence between them?

Meanwhile, way up in the north pasture, Tillie can see what’s going on, and the poor girl was howling at the top of her lungs for Chester to STOP it and to get his bristly behind back home this MINUTE. It was too much for her, really, as she watched Chester and Magellan whisper sweet nothings, completely ignoring her tirade.

“I don’t know what to say, Tills,” I said as I worked on the fence. “He left you for a dude.”

I’d read about this kind of thing happening in the tabloids, but never dreamed I’d see it firsthand. Chester goes better than 500 pounds and there was no way, no how, I was going to get him to move.

Eventually it was his stomach (he is, after all, a pig) and Beth’s return with a feed bowl that did him in. I’d concocted about a dozen schemes to get him back — all pretty “I Love Lucy”-esque, in retrospect (if I couldn’t get the pig back within his fence, maybe I could put up a new fence around the pig) — but Beth is better at this sort of stuff than I am.

While I was awaiting her return, my neighbor drove up. We chatted a bit and I mentioned the wayward pig. “Well,” he said, “it’s another story.”

It was the truth. No matter how bad things might become, I usually can still get paid for it.

But even so, it helps explain why I want to give up farming.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant at www.herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable’s WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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