I probably should not have gotten out of bed that morning. Somehow, I am not sure if it would have mattered. Life on the homestead would have swirled around me, regardless if I was upright or laying down. It was the laying down that was the problem. Well, the pig’s that is.
Our large hog was not eating, which only meant one thing for a pig; he was sick. It had been days since I had seen him snort his way to the pen’s door and root through the fence for the bucket of food that would be flying over the fence. There was no sparkle in his all too human looking eye, but instead, a dull look as he lay there on his side.
It was the little man at the feed store that diagnosed the problem. He always looked at me like an alien. I figured it was because I had teeth and wore something besides denim. He was an odd one, but a fount of information. He told me that my pig had worms and I had to “flush them out of his gut.vA ninety- nine cent Fleet enema would do the trick.”
I wasn’t looking forward to my first enema. Well, not my enema, but giving one to the pig. I walked back to the barnyard with dread, holding my little ammo in a box. What if he jumped up and moved, with that thing hanging out of his rock hard butt? Worse, what if he attacked me? Wouldn’t you attack someone who was jamming something up your butt? What if he bit me?
I have read about overly domesticated animals attacking and eating their owners and this was a barnyard pig. I was scared. As I approached the pen, I could see that I had nothing to worry about. Our bacon in the makin’ was too sick to even move. I had to save six months of effort growing this beast and a year’s worth of pork. at stake. It seemed like an ugly motive: save him so I can later put him in the freezer… but that was farm life and the cycle of life. This was not a Disney movie.
I tip toed behind him, feeling quite stealth. As I screwed the tip on the bottle, I wondered if the creature had already died. In the end, no pun intended, the enema was very easy to do. A pig’s flesh is hard as cement and as I inserted the bottle he acted like he never felt it. I squeezed the bottle as hard as I could until the contents were gone. I pulled it out and quickly prepared the needed chaser of oral de-wormer. I took a needle syringe, minus the needle and pushed into the side of his limp mouth and shot the nasty contents hoping to kill any remaining parasites.
I quickly climbed out and within minutes, the 300 pound creature stood up and expelled what looked like a large portion of pink noodles. I stood in horror as the creatures that were sucking the life out of our pig exited onto the cold, autumn ground. It was possibly the most repulsive thing I had ever seen. The worms were up to a foot long, and didn’t move upon contact with the ground. Perhaps they were stunned by the cool air they were now exposed to.
I am pretty good during a crisis because I am not too quick on my feet to think (which works well for a crisis but awful when you are in a verbal combat. I never think of clever things to say when needed, but do so hours later.) As if I had done this before I jumped up, grabbed a shovel and started digging a hole. I remember reading somewhere that you have to bury these things or they will find their way back into your animals, like some grown children that just never leave home.
Once the hole was dug, I went into the pen and scooped up not one, but two shovels of worms! I threw them into the hole and quickly buried them, stomping the ground furiously, hoping to seal their death. Satisfaction gave way to nauseousness. I thought I would lose my breakfast.
I climbed back out of the pen and took a deep breath to settle my stomach. The birds chirped happily and the grass smelled sweet. The sun shone on my back, my pig gave a recovering snort and all I could think was, “I am woman, hear me roar!”
Happy homesteading, S