Pigs are known to be smart but these two Wessex Saddlebacks of ours, Bratwurst and Crackling, purchased from Rose in the enchanting little town of Eketahuna, are trying to convince me that their destiny in life is not to be bacon and pork, but to be archaeologists. Some weeks back, Builder Bruce and his lovely daughter Charlotte helped me put wire rings in the pigs’ noses so they wouldn’t root up the ground. What a performance! Pigs squeal when you just pick them up, let along poke a sharpened piece of wire through their snouts. I won’t say it doesn’t hurt them, because it does, but no more than oh, if you’re a man over the age of 40 reading this, than when you were circumcised, and can you remember that? No. And I bet you squealed like billyo. The pigs lay down in the shade for an hour or so, and looked at me balefully, but soon they were up and about, their tails curly once more, especially when I went back down there with a bucket full of nicely cooked barley. But it hasn’t really stopped them rooting:
So far they have uncovered a muesli bar wrapper (bet they were brassed off to find nothing inside it), an empty potato chip bag, masses of rocks and stones but no heart-shaped ones, plastic wire and some polystyrene chips. There’s a tale behind the polystyrene chips. This site is extremely windy. In August 2006 when Holmes Construction began building our house, they brought out a Port-o-Com, which is a portable office made like a shipping container, and wired it in site, and also a big pile of polystyrene slabs for the foundations. Next day they returned to find the wind had picked up the Port-a-Com and dumped it five rows into the vineyard, whilst the polystyrene had been broken into millions of small pieces and scattered over about five hectares of vines.
Sorry pigs, nice try, but you are not put on this earth to be noted archaeologists. Don’t be offended. There is nothing wrong with ending up a nicely roasted midloin, with crisp crackling and apple sauce made from Mum’s braeburns. And what sweet pork it will be, now that I’ve got them to eat their peas. The first day I dished up peas for them, they went for me! Pigs are meant to eat anything, but they turned their noses up, snuffled around in the bucket and when they found peas was all there was for breakfast they chased after me and bit me on the backs of my jeans. I had to swing around and lash out with my gumboots, wag my finger and warn them the bacon man would be coming sooner rather than later if this behaviour continued. That’s all there is on the menu, I said. By end of day, they had, disconsolately, eaten their peas. Sigh. It’s like having children all over again, except we don’t eat our children do we.