Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chasing Bacon

You would think living next to the ocean here in Tonga would have its benefits and it does, most of the time. One thing that tends to bring it down is our pig problem. Yes, there in a pig problem. On average my usual day consists of getting up, getting ready for school and taking my 1 mile walk to school. Most days this process goes fine but somedays it is trumped by a pig problem. Depending on what they pigs are doing or what they have done it can sometimes make me late for school or even stop me from making it to school at all. Let me explain. At times my house is completly surrounded by pigs- big ones, small ones, some with no ears and some with interesting colors. Some nights I wake up to the sound of rushing water, at first I think to myself, "Is it raining?", no its not, its the pigs. They have gotten into the water tank outside, which Kate and I get all our drinking water from. The pigs have figured out how to turn on the nozzle on the tank....yes we have smart pigs in Tonga. As I rush outside to turn off the nozzle on the tank I tend to run into a couple of pigs that are enjoying the water by taking a cool bath in it. This is not the only thing the pigs tend to get into. I find them uprooting the grass in our yard and making large mud pits. Normally I would be fine with this except most of the time they tend to make these pits in front of my door. I don't know about you but after it rains I'm not big on getting my feet all muddy. They also have been known to get into our city water pipes. This water is generally used for showering and dishes, it is not drinkable. The pigs have been so interested in these pipes before that they have bitten them and caused the pipes to burst and I have had to call the city water works to come and stop the 10 foot stream of water gushing through the air. It is also impossible to grow any types of vegetables in our yard because once they sprout above ground the pigs have their way with them. Being frustrate with all the mischief of these pigs I occassionally throw rocks at them to keep them away from the water tank or chase them to keep them away from the city water pipes. In doing so some of the pigs started to recognise me and whenever they saw me coming down the gravel road or out of the house they would run the other way as fast as they could. There was even one pig who would see me from a distance and immediatly run away making a ear piercing scream as it went...I guess I must have terrified them too much with the rock throwing and chasing. Kate always laughs when I tell her that.

Now you may ask why all this is important. Well the other day my neighbor informed me that his pigs have been getting into to many things about our yards and he was sending them to his brothers place on an island south of ours. Well, hearing this news I not only rejoyced, I offered to help him catch the pigs and get them caged for the 1 hour boat ride to the island where they will be going. After strapping my shoes on and doing some light stretching I headed outside to round up these menacing pigs. While walking around the yard with my neighbors son we notice 4 little pigs enjoying the sun about 50 yards away. He decides that I should take the left flank and he the right. As we make our way slowly towards the pigs we feel as if we have covered some good ground and that we will be able to take on these 4 piglets. But, suddenly one of the 4 gets a glimps of what we are up to and then takes off. The other 3 piglets seeing what is happening also take off behind them. Having no choice my neighbors son and I take off after the pigs, we chase them down the gravel road and past the yard fence, once we think we have them cornered the pigs fool us and find a path under the fence and are able to escape. Exhausted and sweaty we decide to take another route to this pig catching plan. After thinking it over we decide to use a small fenced in area used for chickens. This fenced area also has a swing door that we can use to shut the pigs in. Once we get the fence cage into place we tie a rope around the gate door, sort of a switch to pull so as the pigs walk into the fenced area we can shut the door from a short distance away. Once we have placed food in the cage we quietly sit 20 feet away from the cage and wait for the pigs to arrive. Slowly one by one they arrive taking the bait and we one by one catch the pigs and get them crated up for the boat ride. As I stood there looking at the pigs in the cages I couldn't help but think how they had drove me crazy the past couple months but now I had had the last laugh.


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