Published by the Rains County Leader on May 15, 2018:
I hope you’re not as tired of hearing about pigs as I am of dealing with them, but there’s not much else going on around the Brendle homestead. When I left you last week, the visiting swine were showing their disdain for our trap by mooning the game camera before going on to tear up another section of the yard. The night after I submitted my column, they took it a step further.
Sometime after midnight, David shook me gently and said, “There are eleven pigs in the front yard.”
I rolled over, pulled the covers a little tighter around me, and mumbled, “Well, go shoot ‘em.”
We had talked about the options a few days before and had decided that his air rifle would be the least dangerous to the neighbors. So he pumped it a few times and went out on the front porch. He came back in a few minutes and leaned the rifle in the corner.
“Did you get one?” I asked without opening my eyes.
“No. I realized I still had the safety on, and when I released it, they scattered.”
He got up several times to peer out the windows, but he didn’t see any more unwanted guests. The next morning we took a tour to check out the damage. Several of my fig saplings – more like fig sticks, but I still have hope – were knocked askew, and a bare swath was cut straight through my day lilies to the skirting of the mobile home.
Later in the day, I posted about my loss on Facebook, and one of my friends replied, Day lilies? This calls for war! David responded, And war it shall be!
The next several nights were quiet with no sightings either through the windows or on the camera. Then Thursday night, David shook me awake again.
“They’re in the back yard. I need you to hold the light for me.”
Since Sunday night, David had pulled a rifle that shoots real bullets out of storage, and I could see him checking it out while I groped around for my glasses. By the time I stumbled into the laundry room, he was staring out the little push-up window in the door.
“I can hear them, but I can’t see them,” he said.
I listened carefully and heard the distinct rustle of leaves toward the back of the lot. We stepped out onto the porch, making sure Kitty didn’t follow, and we waited. I had the flashlight, and I swept the yard a couple of times. On the third sweep we saw several pigs moving toward the septic system. There’s a house across the creek in that direction, so David kept his rifle down. In a couple of minutes two pigs made their way to the swing. It’s in a low spot with no houses behind it, so David lifted his weapon to his shoulder, but they spooked and ran before he could take the shot.
Not all the pigs ran, though. Two new ones appeared at the end of the house about twenty to thirty feet away. There was nothing behind them but woods, so David raised his rifle again and fired. The pigs took off as if they had been shot at, but neither one squealed or slowed down.
We went back to bed, but I couldn’t sleep so I went into the living room to read. I must have dozed, because an hour or so later David woke me with the news that the hoard was back. I was beginning to really hate those pigs! We went back to the porch and listened intently until we heard noises to our right where three pigs were rooting around the storage shed. Not a good shot since there’s an occupied travel trailer not far behind the shed, so we gave up and went to bed again. Again, I couldn’t sleep. It was beginning to get light, so I made coffee and opened my computer. Sometimes I wish I still drank regular instead of decaf.
I made it through the day in a sleep-deprived haze and finally succumbed to an afternoon nap. David, however, was exhilarated by the near miss. He recruited our neighbor Charles for a pig vigil beginning at midnight – around 10 pm I made coffee for the hunters, declined an invitation to join them, and turned in. Saturday morning I learned that no pigs had been sighted, and that Charles had gone home around 3:30 am. David stayed awake until daylight, just in case, but he came to bed without spotting so much as a raccoon.
He woke up around 10:00 am Saturday and went on a tour to check for fresh damage. He came back shortly and said he wanted to show me something. He led me to the back of the lot and pointed out the carcass of a pig. It was covered with enough flies to have been there since the wee hours of Friday, and it offered an explanation of why the rest of the clan had stayed away the night before.
Saturday night David and I were both so sleep deprived that neither of us checked for visitors during the night, but we didn’t see any new signs on Sunday. We don’t know whether David’s shot found its mark after all or if the pig died of natural causes – whatever the explanation, her passing might give us a break in the pig wars, at least until the buzzards have done their work.
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