The Mast-Head: Home on the Range

It was the pig’s fault

    It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, and Ellis, who will soon turn 4, and I busied ourselves preparing one of the old kitchen chairs for some regluing. It was the pig’s fault.

    One of the more annoying things that our pet house-pig, Leo, does is flip over things when he is bored. Since he is mostly confined to the first floor, where the kitchen is, much of his apparent adolescent piggy angst is directed at the chairs. Already, he has broken two outright, and a third, the one Ellis and I went to work on, was coming apart at the joints. We’ve taken to leaving the chairs on their sides to save the wear and tear.

    His rooting demands at our ankles when he is hungry or looking for a scratching have become so annoying that we have taken to keeping a spray bottle at hand to drive him off. Thing is, though, that he takes the directed water streams to mean only that it is time to move from, say, the left ankle to the right. And he screams bloody murder when we try to push him away from our feet.

    Even though he weighs in at a mere 30 pounds, his snout is so strong that he can lift an entire loaded dishwasher rack. Just the other day I noticed tiny tusk marks on the entryway door, apparently from when he wanted to get in and someone was not moving fast enough for his liking.

    There was a time, back when he was a wee piglet, that we worried about leaving him on the lawn unattended. “What if a hawk flew in and swept him away?” we worried. Nowadays, it is pretty clear Leo would be having any hawk that tried  for lunch.

    Part of the problem now is that it is winter. Leo would much prefer to be outside, eating grass or snuffling around in the leaf litter. Like human kids, who whine about there being nothing to do, it seems all he wants is to be entertained. If I pick him up and set him on my lap while I am reading the newspaper, he nuzzles contentedly under my elbow.

    Lisa and I hope that as Leo ages he will mellow. Until then, Ellis and I will keep the sandpaper and glue handy.